A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday shows the partisan divide in this country sinking to historic lows, as 84 percent of Republicans polled view President Obama unfavorably and 80 percent of Democrats feeling the same about Mitt Romney. The partisanship is higher than the 78 percent of Republicans who viewed Bill Clinton negatively in 1996, and 76 percent of Democrats said the same about George W. Bush in 2004.
The heated rhetoric and legislative gridlock that has been constant in Washington D.C. over the last few years has been well covered, but what is the source of this partisanship? And is it even something to be frowned upon? It's often bemoaned that we need public officials who vote on principle not party, yet we ridicule legislators in Washington hesitant to giving in to compromise.
Furthermore, what blame does the media take for furthering the political divide as less coverage is given to policy than political vitriol, which is often then copied by media commentators.
On Small Wars Journal last month a retired colonel co-authored a piece entitled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A vision of the Future” and that vision includes a right wing militia “motivated by the goals of the tea party movement” seizing control of a small South Carolina city and setting up check-points to look for illegal aliens. A Washington Times editorial Tuesday called the article a cartoonish liberal nightmare. But are there not so cartoonish liberal nightmares published every day – like Margaret Carlson's "The Tea Party’s Plan to Cripple Congress” posted on Bloomberg News late Tuesday which included such lines as: “Only the purest, most virginal conservatives are being chosen as the party’s standard bearers in November.”
The "Real News" panel Wednesday discussed the caricatures that have been hurled in Washington of the late, and the effect such behavior has had on practical governing: