Obama most polarizing president in 40 years: Bush aide
Taking up cudgels on behalf of his former boss, a former top aide for George W. Bush has slammed President Barack Obama for his "borderline" obsession in blaming the former president for the current mess.world Updated: Apr 10, 2009 10:25 IST
Taking up cudgels on behalf of his former boss, a former top aide for George W. Bush has slammed President Barack Obama for his "borderline" obsession in blaming the former president for the current mess.
Karl Rove, who is credited with scripting Bush's two victories in 2000 and 2004, says Obama is increasingly becoming a polarizing figure because of his actions and rhetoric.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Rove, who also served Bush's deputy chief of staff till 2007, has quoted a report by the Pew Research Center to say that Obama "has the most polarized early job approval of any president" during the past 40 years ago.
He said Obama's approval rating of 88 percent among Democrats compared poorly with just 27 percent among Republicans, showing a gap of 61 points. "This gap is 10 points higher than that of George W. Bush's at this point in his presidency," he said.
By his actions and rhetoric, Rove said, Obama has only accelerated polarization in the US. "His campaign promised post-partisanship, but since taking office Mr. Obama has frozen Republicans out of the deliberative process, and his response to their suggestions has been a brusque dismissal that 'I won,"" he said.
Attributing his declining support among Republicans to his petty attacks on his critics and Bush, Rove said Obama has shown "a borderline obsessiveness in blaming Mr. Bush. "Starting with his inaugural address and continuing through this week's overseas trip, the new president's jabs at Mr. Bush have been unceasing, unfair and unhelpful. "They have also diminished Mr. Obama by showing him to be another conventional politician. Rather than ending 'the blame game,' he is personifying it."
Rove said no US president in the past 40 years has done more to polarize America so much so quickly as the current president. Obama "has not come close to living up to his own standards. It took him less than 11 weeks to achieve the very opposite of what he promised. That, in its own regrettable way, is quite an achievement," he said.
He said even independents have started viewing Obama's radical fiscal agenda with scepticism as 32 percent of them disapprove of his performance from just 16 percent in January. "We don't know the price Democrats will pay for Mr. Obama's fiscal radicalism. But we do know that no presidential hopeful in our lifetime has made bipartisanship more central to his candidacy and few presidents have devoted as many eloquent words to its importance. "Yet no president in the past 40 years has done more to polarize America so much, so quickly," Rove wrote.
First Published: Apr 10, 2009 10:20 IST