Tales from the Trail
Dick Armey says the Tea Party movement is willing to back Republicans for office, but only if they agree to reform their sinful ways when it comes to fiscal dangers like the budget deficit and the federal debt.
Karl Rove, the political operative widely credited with the electoral successes of former U.S. President George W. Bush, says in his new book that he did not choose gay marriage as a wedge issue but that circumstances thrust it his way.
Former President George W. Bush and his former vice president, Dick Cheney, got together Thursday for the first time since they left office in January 2009.
Lots of American presidents liked to pretend they didn’t dwell on the news — too busy attacking big problems for such a trifling. But then they would reveal themselves as news junkies (See 1992 presidential campaign and George H.W. Bush’s slogan: Annoy the Media — Re-Elect Bush).
Lest there be any doubt, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, blames Republicans for leaving him a huge deficit when he took office.
Yes, of course, President Obama’s State of the Union address is a serious occasion, full of solemn portents for the nation and the world. But even Washington wonks have to have a little fun. Strangely enough, they’re likely to have fun this year by playing SOTU bingo.
The folks at Gallup say Barack Obama is easily the most ‘polarized’ first-year president of the postwar era — and they’re not talking about pre-digital camera snapshots.
They mean that Obama, like his immediate predecessors, is the object of growing partisanship within American public opinion.
Obama finished his first year in office on Jan. 19 with an 88 percent job approval rating among Democrats but only 23 percent approval among Republicans.
That leaves a 65-percentage-point gap between the two partisan lines, eclipsing the previous first-year polarization record of 52 points, held by Democrat Bill Clinton.
If Obama’s numbers don’t change, he will exceed Republican George W. Bush as the most polarized of post-World War II presidents. (Over the course of Bush’s presidency, Republicans and Democrats were 61 points apart on average.)
But there’s something more afoot than the individual horse races.
Gallup says its findings illustrate an upswing in voter partisanship since the time of Republican Ronald Reagan. Before the 1980s, partisan approval gaps ranged from a low of 19 percent for Democrat Lyndon Johnson to a high of 34 percent for Republican Richard Nixon.
“Obama — like his immediate predecessor Bush — sought to bring Americans together after periods of heightened political polarization in the United States. But despite their best intentions and efforts, both men’s approval ratings have been characterized by extreme partisanship,” Gallup said.
“The way Americans view presidents has clearly changed in recent decades, perhaps owing to the growth in variety, sources and even politicization of news on cable television and the Internet, and the continuing popularity of politically oriented talk radio.”
Former President Bill Clinton, who is helping to coordinate global relief for Haiti with former President George W. Bush, says the quake-stricken country could bounce back much more quickly than people might think.