It’s not who you think it is.Â Commentary‘s Peter Wehner reached this conclusion (the title quote) not as did counterparts in the MSM (when they reached a different conclusion) by considering their own reactions to former President George W. Bush and listening to the angry voices of their social peers, but by reading the polling data.
For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades. The 61-point partisan gap in opinions about Obama’s job performance is the result of a combination of high Democratic ratings for the president — 88% job approval among Democrats — and relatively low approval ratings among Republicans (27%).
Guess blaming Bush and attacking Republicans hasn’t helped endear him to Republicans.Â Ol’ Rahm might want to reconsider slamming Rush Limbaugh.Â His buddy James Carville might want to reconsider going after the Governor of Alaska.Â Wouldn’t be prudent.Â Not gonna help the President live up to his campaign rhetoric.Â (As one former President might say.)
Jay Cost believes Obama may pay a “political price for contributing to the rancor . . . not simply because his governing style has been highly partisan to date, but also because he explicitly promised during the campaign that it would not be.“Â Â And the partisan edge to his Administration may cause many of the young voters so enthusiastic about his candidacy to turn away from him.
In his campaign, he tapped into the idealism of their youth, promising to be a different kind of politician, one who transcended politics.Â Very early in his term, he has turned out to be quite the opposite.
So many faulted his predecessor for his go-it-alone approach.Â (I grant that George W. Bush did not reach out as much to Congress, even when his own party ran he place, as he should have done.Â See Jack Goldsmith’s The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration for a good discussion of this.)Â Imperfect though W was, he never bashed his domestic political adversaries rhetorically as his successor has done, especially not when he was abroad.
Americans are starting to take notice.Â At the rate we’re going, Bush could be rehabilitated in time for his sixty-third birthday.Â But, America will remain divided.