Remember back in the Democratic primary – of course, you do – when the upstanding John Edwards, he of the superior moral fiber; and Barack Obama, he of the spanking new politics that transcended the old Boomer divides; made smug remarks during debates and campaign rallies that echoed Karl Rove in questioning Hillary Clinton’s integrity and labeling her a polarizing figure?
The haloed Edwards and Obama also hammered Clinton for her pragmatic approach to lobbyists. She contended there were ethical lobbyists as well as unethical, and it was a mistake to put them all in the same category.
Since then the real John Edwards has stood up and revealed himself. He’s the guy who was having an affair with another woman while his cancer-stricken wife faithfully supported him in his run for the Democratic nomination.
And as for lobbyists, early in his presidency, Obama picked William Lynn III, the Raytheon Company’s top lobbyist, for the number two position at the Pentagon. Obama argued that Lynn was the best qualified person for the job even though he’d landed huge defense contracts for Raytheon. Obama said you just can’t go around being all that choosy or else you’d never get important posts filled.
But back to that polarization charge against Clinton during the primary. Infatuated Obama supporters truly believed their guy could unite first the country and then the world solely by virtue of his personal charm. But here’s a little news flash for you: the Guardian reported today:
The Pew Research Centre carried out a survey of polls six weeks into the Obama era and found that, contrary to the bipartisan note he has sounded, US politics is more polarised at this early stage in his presidency than at any equivalent point in the past four decades.
The researchers looked at the approval ratings for Obama reflected across several polls in early March, comparing his support among Democratic voters which stood at a huge 88% with that among Republican voters - only 27%. That gives a partisan gap of 61 points.
That is wider than even the 51-point gap between Republican (87%) and Democratic (36%) voters recorded at the start of George Bush's first term in 2001, despite Bush's reputation for divisiveness.