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.”