“Rarely has a presidential campaign been this intense, this polarized, this partisan, this early.”
I think the contrast between Bush’s 2000 campaign slogan, “I’m a uniter, not a divider”, and the reality of his term-to-date speaks volumes. Directly resulting from Bush’s “governing” style, the country is more divided than ever before. Yet he campaigned as a uniter. This is an example of what drives his opponents nuts, while strengthening his base.
His supporters would say that he says what he needs to say to get elected, or to get things done, and that’s OK because they trust that he is on their side, and the things he wants to accomplish are things they agree should be done. So deceptions like scaring the wits out of the country to get them to go to war with Iraq are OK and are fully consistent with changing the rationale after the fact to say that we are there to bring democracy and liberate the people and Americanize the Middle East. Most Republicans I talk to are in agreement with this, and freely say that it was probably necessary to do the things he did to get the Congress to vote to pay for, if not fully authorize, the invasion. They understand propaganda, and like it.
And on so many other issues the Freepers and the Limbaugh Dittoheads and other self-identified “movement conservatives” are fully on board with the strategy of saying one thing and doing another. They don’t see it as a failing, they see it as a strength. If you point out to them that Bush lies when he says he is helping Africans with AIDS because he isn’t providing the funding, or lies when he talks about the No Child Left Behind Act because he refuses to provide the money, or point out that his “War On Terror” budget did not provide even one penny to help rebuild Afghanistan they’ll laugh at you and tell you to “get over it.” Thet get what he is trying to accomplish, and agree.
“Nowhere are the partisan divisions sharper than in the voters’ views of President Bush. Eighty-four percent of the Republicans approve of the job he is doing, but just 16 percent of the Democrats do, according to the latest Times/CBS News poll.”
Committed Republicans are fully cognitive of the politicization of everything, and like it. Just listen to the callers to the Limbaugh show on any given day, as they talk about how things should be spun to trick the general public into agreement. Limbaugh’s audience is not small, and it is not fringe.
And, in case we forget where the divisiveness and nastiness came from, here’s a reminder. And here. And here. (Read these carefully – he is accusing “liberals” of doing things that they do not, in order to justify the Right actually doing them.) And here. Just a few examples, of so many.