And Republicans' protestations ring false when their no-compromises attitude has helped to create a polarized atmosphere.
Republicans often accuse President Obama of being divisive, whether he's talking about tax rates for the wealthy or the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. One adviser to Mitt Romney, GOP strategist Ed Gillespie, calls Obama "one of the most divisive presidents in American history." Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida upped the ante last weekend when he said that "we have not seen such a divisive figure in modern American history" since Obama took office.
Please. Tell that to Abraham Lincoln or, if we're limiting ourselves to modern history, to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush.
Especially tell it to Bush, who holds six of the top 10 spots on Gallup's "most polarizing presidents" list. It's calculated by the annual difference between a president's approval in his own party and the opposition party. Ranked by the size of the gap, Bush is Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 10. Obama holds slots 4 and 6, while Clinton and Ronald Reagan are ranked 7th and 9th, respectively.
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Rubio's statement in particular, with its reference to "modern" American history, carries echoes of the proverbial defendant who killed his parents and begs the court for mercy because he's an orphan. Why is Obama so divisive? Could it have anything to do with the no-compromise, no-surrender approach of today's Republican Party?