Obama the Divider
All we heard during last year's campaign was that Barack Obama was some great figure who would unite our country in a new "post-partisan" era. However, according to Michael Gearson in Real Clear Politics Obama is dividing the nation like no other president of modern times.
Who has been the most polarizing new president of recent times? Richard Nixon? Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush?
No, that honor belongs to President Barack Obama. According to the Pew Research Center, the gap between Republican and Democratic approval ratings for Bush a few months into his first term was about 51 percentage points. For Obama, this partisan gap stands at 61 points. Obama has been a unifier, of sorts. He has united Democrats and united Republicans -- against each other.
The Pew report notes that this is the extension of a long-term trend. Decades ago, a majority of Democrats approved of Richard Nixon's job performance early in his first term. A majority of Republicans did the same for Jimmy Carter. But that has not been true for any president since....
There is an argument in favor of political polarization. Franklin Roosevelt and Reagan, in their time, were polarizing presidents precisely because they were ambitious presidents. They believed that some national goals were worth the sacrifice of amity. A decisive leader is sometimes a divisive leader.
But Obama's polarizing approach challenges and changes the core of his political identity. His moderate manner and message appealed to a country weary of division and ambition -- a nation now asked to endure another round of both. But Obama's domestic agenda is also resoundingly typical -- as though he were some conventionally liberal backbench senator suddenly thrust into immense influence. Which, of course, he is.
Polarization in American politics has its own disturbing momentum, aided by some strident Republican voices. But that does not require a president to make it worse. And it is a sad, unnecessary shame that Barack Obama, the candidate of unity, has so quickly become another source of division.
Valley art legend John Sendelbach is selling some of his beautiful weirdness on eBay.
winter has passed, and i am now getting a second spring...having spent the winter in atlanta, where trees began blooming weeks ago. i am now back in production up in massachusetts, working through a pile of metal that made the cut after the great purging of my belongings in december, which facilitated my transition to the south and beyond. i cleaned house and pared it down to a few pickup trucks of stuff! not bad, considering i slimmed down from a whole house and workshop full of things.
thanks for looking...
Check out the full selection here.
Dig this car parked in downtown Northampton.
Poking around YouTube I was surprised to come across this video of an old record player playing the Spirit in Flesh album by Pioneer Valley guru Michael Metelica Rapunzel. The video reminds me of why the band never really took off commercially - they sucked. The lead guitarist had promise, but Rapunzel himself wrote trite lyrics and was a loud braying vocalist.
1 Weight of the World
2 Blind Leading the Blind
3 Jack Baker Song
4 Hear My Plea
5 Riverside Song
6 Fine Line
7 Deny to Me
8 Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
9 Flesh and Cut
10 Clear the Way