Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Polarized Americans?

In this excellent column in the Washington Post, Robert Samuelson argues that American voters, though concerned with feeling good about themselves and superior to the other side, aren't nearly as polarized as either the campaign or the returns made us seem: "Polarization is increasingly the business of politicians, advocacy groups and opinion leaders across the political spectrum. The people who are most polarized like being polarized. They feel good because the other people are bad... Although America isn't polarized, our political and media elites are working hard to make it so. The center still holds, but assaulted from all sides, it may not forever."

I don't know if Samuelson's right, but the piece is worth pondering. Given the supposed elites' abilites to pull America into two opposed halves, I wonder if there's any achievable way, short of a truly centrist national figure (Clinton, anyone?), to draw back from the chasm between red and blue...