Obama: No Magical Uniter, But Also No Divider

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Ron Brownstein, writing over at the Atlantic, basically puts a fork in all that talk you have been hearing from Republicans (like Karl Rove and Mike Gerson) about what a remarkably politically divisive figure President Obama has turned out to be, according to recent polls. He’s not, if you dig deep in the numbers and put them in historical context. But Obama is also not a magical uniter, once you move beyond his strong support among independents. But then, as they say in sex ed, it takes two to tango. Brownstein concludes:

Bush wasn’t a uniquely polarizing figure at the dawn of his presidency. But after receiving that relatively broad opening from the public in his first months, Bush over the next seven plus years proceeded to govern in a manner that solidified his support within the Republican coalition, but fiercely antagonized Democrats and increasingly alienated independents. . . . Obama is a long way from opening fissures in American society comparable to that. Even so, Obama and his advisers would be wise to note some of the trends that Gerson and Rove cite.

Read Brownstein’s whole essay here.