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Why Obama's Poll Ratings Are Rising

Our politics has been badly broken by the Republican Party. I think that Greg Sargent nails it:

Why Americans think Obama is too liberal: What McConnell was really saying here is that if any Republicans signed on to Obama's proposals, it risked suggesting to the American people that Obama's governing approach was moderate or even somewhat centrist -- something that could command some agreement. By contrast, when no Republicans signed on to Obama's proposals it made it far easier for them to paint Obama's agenda as ideologically off the rails to the left, which is exactly what they did.

If no Republicans were willing to sign on to Obama's proposals, that had to indicate that something was seriously amiss and that there was cause for real alarm about the overreaching nature of his agenda, right? And judging by the outcome of the midterms, this strategy worked....

[I]t's no accident that in the wake of Obama's successful passage of legislation with bipartisan support -- the tax deal, the New START treaty, the repeal of don't ask don't tell -- the new NBC/WSJ poll finds that the number who think Obama is "moderate" has suddenly jumped to the highest ever of his presidency. As McConnell recognized, denying Obama bipartisan support during his first two years made it far easier to paint him as an out-of-control old-style big government liberal....

What McConnell shrewdly recognized is that the public would read the absence of bipartisan cooperation with Obama as a sign of liberal extremism, and would perceive any bipartisan support for his agenda as a sign of moderation, regardless of the policy details. This is exactly what happened....

[Obama's] fundamental approach -- combine center-left and Republican solutions -- has been more or less the same throughout. He offered deals on health reform, just like on taxes. But they were rejected. The main difference is that Republicans signed on to the post-election initiatives, making them look "moderate" in comparison to the previous ones.