In it, but not of it. TPM DC

As you probably know, the new popular meme from the right is that President Obama is a polarizing figure, dividing the country against itself. The latest example is Karl Rove's latest column in the Wall Street Journal, "The President Has Become a Divisive Figure," and Nancy Pfotenhauer pushed it this morning on MSNBC.

The number depends on recent polls -- Rove mentions the Pew Poll specifically -- showing an enormous gap between the very high number of Democrats who approve of President Obama and the very low number of Republicans who approve.

As Greg Sargent points out, Pew's own polling director doesn't think this is the right interpretation of the numbers. And another theory has made the rounds, too, that this is because the ranks of Republicans are shrinking, leaving a much more conservative base.

I spoke to Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup's managing editor for the poll, for some perspective on this in light of their own survey with a similar result. Jones' bottom line take on it is that Obama's policies -- which are very Democratic, in a Dem-dominated Congress -- is contributing to the polarization, but at the same time there are long-run trends in partisanship at work here, which are playing a significant role.

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Freshman Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) has told the Orlando Sentinel just how he felt about the negative reaction he experienced to a bill he introduced: A bill to require presidential candidates to submit birth certificates to the federal government.

"I expected there would be some civil debate about it, but it wasn't civil," Posey said. "Just a bunch of name-calling and personal denigration ... There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."

When he first introduced his bill -- which to date has not picked up even one cosponsor -- Posey said it was about dispelling from the get-go in future campaigns the sort of rumors that were spread about President Obama, and was not aimed at denigrating the president. However, the Sentinel does point out that while Posey now says he has "no reason to question" Obama's citizenship, he did tell them at the beginning of this controversy that he wouldn't "swear on a stack of Bibles whether he is or isn't" an American.

It's been pretty obvious for a while that Democrats will continue running against George W. Bush for years to come, in both presidential and Congressional races. But how about doing it for a state Senate seat?

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that the state Democrats are running a radio ad against former Congressman Jeb Bradley, who lost re-election in a big upset in 2006 and then lost a comeback bid in 2008, and is now running in a special election for state Senator. "Haven't we had enough of George W. Bush and Jeb Bradley?" the announcer says. "On April 21, say 'no' to Jeb Bradley and the mess he and Bush made."

State GOP chairman John H. Sununu, a former governor and ex-White House Chief of Staff under George H.W. Bush, declared that it was "amazing that the Democrats again, in a race for a state Senate seat in New Hampshire, are pulling out the George Bush boogie man to run a campaign on."

A few more data points are coming in from NY-20 -- not nearly enough to give us a definite answer as to who won this thing, but definitely something to chew over. So far, the answer for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy is a definite maybe.

On the one hand, the machine recanvass is now completed in the state's official numbers, with Scott Murphy having lost some more votes and Jim Tedisco gaining. That's right -- it looks like Tedisco actually won the machine count on Election Night by 68 votes, not Murphy and his original 65-vote margin, but it took us this long to find out.

On the other hand, early hints coming in are that the absentees look quite nice for Murphy -- enough that he could very well win the race, after the nearly 7,000 absentees are counted. Some further numbers and analysis, after the jump.

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Here's a really interesting moment in state-level politics: A GOP state Representative in Texas, Betty Brown, asked a representative from a Chinese-American group if they could just adopt new names that would be "easier for Americans to deal with."

The Houston Chronicle reports that during a committee hearing on a voter-identification bill, a representative from the Organization of Chinese Americans complained that there can be confusion because many Asian-Americans will have their legal, transliterated names as well as common English names that can appear on driver's licenses and school registrations.

"Can't you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers," said Brown, "if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that's easier for Americans to deal with?"

Um, the difficulty as it was explained here is that many Asian-Americans do just exactly that -- and that's the problem when it comes to Voter ID.

The state Dems pounced on Brown's comments, calling them "disrespectful." Brown's spokesman, meanwhile, accused the Dems of whipping up partisan feelings with racial rhetoric: "They want this to just be about race."

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has latched on to the meme we've been following here. "It seems the only place the President is willing to cut spending is on the armed forces," Price said. "The President's priorities are deeply flawed. We will fight to preserve this important program."

"This decision will not only cost thousands of jobs at a critical time, it is detrimental to the country's national defense capabilities," Price added.

Why all the bile?

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Michael Steele is now raising money for the RNC using a familiar set of GOP memes: That Barack Obama and ACORN -- one of the great right-wing bogeymen of 2008, you might recall -- plan to rig the 2010 Census in order to to solidify Democratic control in 2012:

President Obama's old friends from ACORN, the leftist, urban "community" organization with a long history of promoting vote fraud, has been chosen by the Administration as a "partner" with the Census Bureau to determine population counts in cities around the country.

...

Why is this important? The U.S. population has shifted in the last ten years. States like Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania (all states Obama won in 2008) have smaller populations, and states like Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina (all states that John McCain carried) have gained population.

The trend illustrates that urban strongholds, which favor Democrats, continue to lose population to more decentralized areas in states more likely to lean Republican.

...

We must not let the Democrats and their radical leftist allies falsify the U.S. Census and manipulate elections in their favor. Our democracy, and the principle of "One Person, One Vote" are in jeopardy.


Now granted, the Congressional reapportionment that will come after the 2010 Census will probably have a slight net shift in favor of states that John McCain won (and individually some blue states will gain, while some red states will lose). On the other hand, keep in mind that Obama won 365 electoral votes last year, and that the net shift will only be in the single digits.

So this whole point is meaningless, because the 2012 Republican nominee will have to actually take a big number of states back into the GOP column, with the reapportionment being nearly immaterial. It's also not true that the blue states have "smaller" populations -- the question is the rate of growth, relative to other states.

Full fundraising e-mail, after the jump.

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One television network that isn't plagued by innumeracy or defense industry capture is Comedy Central. In case you missed it last night, here's Jon Stewart lampooning the strange but predictable fight in Washington over the Pentagon budget.

WaPo: Congress Gearing Up For Slow "Sausage-Making" The Washington Post reports that after a whirlwind of activity involving the stimulus plan and the federal budget, Congress is set to move to a slower, more deliberative pace on President Obama's other proposals such as health care and climate change. "What trumps urgency for us is getting it right," said Chris Dodd. "You're talking about building an entire architecture here."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will be holding a 9:30 a.m. ET "Housing Refinance Roundtable," featuring homeowners who have benefitted from being able to re-finance under the current low interest rates. At 11:45 a.m. ET, he will deliver remarks on improving veterans health care, along with Robert Gates and Eric Shinseki, to an audience that includes patients and health care providers from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the National Naval Medical Center and the DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center. At 6:30 p.m. ET, Obama will hold a Passover Seder at the White House.

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