Unity Candidate Turns Into Most Polarizing Prez

Obama faces huge partisan approval gap: analysts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 7:24 AM CDT
Unity Candidate Turns Into Most Polarizing Prez
President Barack Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 in Washington after returning from an eight-day European trip and a five-hour visit to Iraq.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

He ran on a message of unity and moderation, but Barack Obama is “the most polarizing new president of recent times,” writes Michael Gerson in the Washington Post. There’s a 61-point Obama approval gap between Democrats and Republicans, Pew researchers found. The widening gap has been a trend for years—but “Obama was supposed to be the antidote to the poison of partisanship,” Gerson notes.

When Congress voted on budget resolutions last week, “Republicans were flattened, not consulted,” Gerson writes, making the bill a “tax-and-spend caricature.” Obama could fairly easily have split Republicans, grabbing a few supporters from among the moderates by focusing on the financial crisis and putting off other goals. Instead, he’s acting like “some conventionally liberal backbench senator suddenly thrust into immense influence. Which, of course, he is.”
(More President Obama stories.)

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