July 24th, 2011
02:15 PM ET

Why political polarization has gone wild in America (and what to do about it)

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Watching the extraordinary polarization in Washington today, many people have pointed the finger at the Tea Party saying it's ideologically extreme, refuses to compromise and cares more about purity than problem solving.

I happen to agree with much of that critique, but it doesn't really answer the question: Why has the Tea Party become so prominent? Why is it able to dominate Washington?

We've had plenty of ideologically charged movements come to Washington before. Think of Barry Goldwater or George McGovern.

But once in Washington the system encouraged compromise and governance.

Over the last few decades, however, what has changed are the rules organizing American politics.  They now encourage small interest groups - including ideologically charged ones - to capture major political parties as well as Congress itself. Call it ' political narrowcasting.

Here are some examples:

1) Redistricting has created safe seats so that for most House members, their only concern is a challenge from the right for Republicans and the left for Democrats. The incentive is to pander to the base, not the center.

2) Party primaries have been taken over by small groups of activists who push even popular senators to extreme positions. In Utah, for example, 3,500 conservative activists managed to take the well- regarded Senator Robert Bennett off the ballot. GOP senators like Orrin Hatch and John McCain have moved farther to the right, hoping to stave off similar assaults.

3) Changes in Congressional rules have also made it far more difficult to enact large, compromise legislation. In the wake of the Watergate Scandal, "Sunshine rules" were put into place that required open committee meetings and recorded votes. The purpose was to make Congress more open, more responsive - and so it has become to lobbyists, money and special interests.  This is because they're the people who watch every committee vote and mobilize opposition to any withdrawal of subsidies or tax breaks.

4) Political polarization has also been fueled by a new media, which is also narrowcast.

Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he suggested that he might further the conservative agenda through an occasional compromise. That provoked a tirade from Rush Limbaugh, which then produced a torrent of angry e-mails and phone calls to Issa's office. Issa quickly and publicly apologized to Limbaugh and promised only opposition to Obama. Multiply that example a thousandfold, and you have the daily dynamic of Congress.

It's depressing, but the fact that our politics are the result of these structural shifts means they can be changed.

Mickey Edwards, a Republican and former House member from Oklahoma, has a highly intelligent essay in The Atlantic magazine suggesting a series of reforms that could make a difference. Some of them are large-scale, others are seemingly small but crucial changes in Congressional procedure.

Read: Fareed Zakaria's op-ed in The Washington Post on "A way out of our dysfunctional politics."

Some political scientists long hoped that American parties would become more ideologically pure and coherent, like European parties. They seem to have gotten their wish - and the result is abysmal.

Here's why: America does not have a parliamentary system like Europe's, in which one party takes control of all levers of political power - executive and legislative - enacts its agenda and then goes back to the voters. Power in the United States is shared by a set of institutions with overlapping authorities - Congress and the presidency. People have to cooperate for the system to work.

The Tea Party venerates the Founding Fathers. It should note that the one thing on which they all agreed was that adversarial political parties were bad for the American republic.

For more of my takes throughout the week and ongoing discussion, I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and bookmark the Global Public Square.

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Topics: Economy • Fareed's Take • From Fareed • GPS Show • Politics • United States

soundoff (626 Responses)
  1. Dennis Ferguson

    There is one basic reason why the country is so divided: Gerrymandering! Eliminate this and the country will start to heal.

    July 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • Sean Greene

      certainly agreed. Primaries are even worse to get a parties nomination you must be the farthest to your parties side rather then toward the center. Hence we get Barack Obamas on the left and Sarah Palins on the right.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        lol the idea that Obama is even close to being a far leftist is comical.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
      • playa

        Comparing obama and palin is like comparing someone smart to George Bush Jr.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
      • BL

        1.Eliminate political parties, so that candidates can run on principles, not party ideology and gerrymandering is irrelevant
        2. Shorten election cycles, with real finance reform
        3. Make lobbying by all organized groups illegal
        4. End the tyranny of the Electoral College that creates red and blue states and allows no plurality candidate to win
        5. Reform archaic rules in House and Senate that derail legislation

        July 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • Melissa

        lol. You're a moron. Obama isn't anything resembling leftist. If anything, he gives the right everything it wants. Grow up.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
      • annie s

        The only problem with your statement is the false assumption that Barack Obama is on the left – a myth perpetrated by Sarah Palin's "palling around with terrorists" statements. In truth, Obama has campaigned and governed as a pragmatist, adopting ideas by both political parties. Many of his policies lean right, most are in the center and very few actually are left or lean left.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
      • Michael

        What? Obama left? Are you kidding? Hes so centrist hes rightist.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
      • Steve

        When Obama was a Senator, he was known as one of the most liberal Senators in Congress. To say many of his policies are right is absurd. Unless, you think being close to a neocon on foreign policy is right, but then again I'm for Ron Paul. His entire economic policies are very liberal. I'm pretty sure he is not for abolishing the IRS or anything very conservative... By the way, we should abolish all political parties that are ruining this supposed to be democracy.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
      • Klamerus

        Or comparing Jimmy Carter to a leader.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
      • rene

        Obama is more conservative than most GOP presidents were a few decades ago. He is hardly extreme. The people who call him socialist or far left are the extremists!

        July 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
      • kent

        thank god we have obama where we see some progress and hope where palin has no clue

        July 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
      • brian

        Are you people kidding me or are you all suffering from heat exhaustion? How in the world could you not think Obama is left? His policies are communist in nature and if you can't see that I feel sorry for you. Maybe you should just have another cool drink of cool aid. Also, for you liberals who actually can still think look at the polls about his individual policies. They are not well liked, but for some reason people like him. So he is defiantly not center for sure.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
      • Dean

        Brian – you are the perfect example of the ideological parroting that creates exactly the problem this article points out. All we see are assertions with no substance – no references, no reasoning – just assertions. Obama has consistently compromised with Republicans, which is why we see so many Democrats angry at him. It isn't because his policies are 'far left', it is because he is really trying to play the center, but all of the extremists, like yourself, want nothing more than 'total victory'. In the end, we all lose. Even you.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
      • MartyPDX

        @Brian. You, my friend, are an idiot and a part of the problem. Shut up!

        July 24, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
      • Alfred Hussein

        Obama is way to the left. He pushed so hard in 2009 with no compromise that the democrats in congress took a whooping in the 2010 elections. On the budget he stills talks like he'll compromise but he offers nothing of substance. Reed and pelosi are more of the same. This started in 2006 with the democrat congress.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
      • Curtis low

        Ok you hypocrite koolaid drinking kettles. Where has Obama compromised? When he say "I must have new revenue"? Or "I won, get over it". How about "give me want I want and then we'll consider your side". That the left considers him a centrist shows how out of touch CNN's core is with the middle.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
      • Ken

        Obama only talks like liberal. However, all his actions are to benefit big corporations and millionaires! Wake up my liberal friends. It's better to sit in the opposition rather to have phony liberals like Obama in power. Get rid of him. All his legislations are watered down and made to make big profits for his friends in wall street and big pharma companies. He nominated the same people (Tim Geithner, Bernake and Larry Summers) who were watching or responsible for the financial crisis! And he could not nominate Elizabeth Warren – a true champion for the causes of middle class americans. Shame on you Mr. Obama! I wish you loose. Even Mitt Romney is OK for me for next 4 years until we elect Hillary Clinton.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
      • Brandon

        Phrases like "The most liberal senator in congress." were thrown around during the election without a basis in reality. If you look at places that actually analyzed the data, he was not that liberal. He rarely went against the Democratic party, but that certainly doesn't qualify him as "most liberal." To say he was more liberal than Feingold and Sanders is completely absurd, regardless of where you stand politically.

        Here is a non-partisan analysis of the data that is more grounded in reality: http://voteview.com/sen110.htm
        It shows Obama as the 19th most liberal senator during the 110th session. In other words, he's in the middle of the pack among Democrats.

        As far as calling his policies "communistic" if that were the case, I think "Obamacare" would have included a single-payer system rather than what we got.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
      • Petercha

        Agreed, Sean. Obama is pretty far left – he only goes right when his feet are held to the fire, and sometimes not even then.

        July 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
      • Mortimer Farnsworth Snerd

        Except Obama's a centrist moderate. Everyone looks like a leftist when you are a right-wing loony, even other right-wingers.

        July 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
      • joe

        well Mortimer, the opposite is also true. If you are also far to the left then anyone less liberal than you is a conservative. The only person who has quoted any statistics is brandon, and that data would support the statement that Obama is liberal. He is no where close to being as polarized as someone like Palin but he most definitely isnt a "centrist moderate." If he was then he would be in the 35-45 range

        July 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
      • Thomas

        Steve, the fact that people like you kept SAYING that Obama was "One of the most Liberal Senators" never made it true. As I recall, you said it about every single Democratic Senator at one time or another.

        July 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
      • Tamara Chen

        "When Obama was a Senator, he was known as one of the most liberal Senators in Congress."
        Who says this? Why?

        July 29, 2011 at 11:24 am |
      • Tigger

        Regardless of Obama’s senate record, as president, Obama has been much like a 90s (or even just pre-tea party) republican in the positions he has taken in regards to supporting ideas that were presented as legislation by republicans in the past. But anything that he has been “for,” republicans have decided they are against—even though they were “for it before they were against it.” Some republicans turned against the very bills they themselves sponsored after Obama offered his support. These things include Obama’s position on immigration, small business taxes, education, and energy policy. And of course, “Obamacare” was Dole-Hatch-Romney-Grassley-care before it was “Obamacare.” In the 90’s, as an alternative to “Hillarycare,” what was being proposed by republicans is much like what was passed into law—to include the mandate. The healthcare legislation that republicans so detest that they say they what to repeal it is in fact based largely on the (formerly) republican model of healthcare reform. The “reasonable” If Obama was a leftist, he would have done something like try to expand Medicare to everyone. If he was centrist, he would have been trying to get the public option which was supported by nearly 90% of dems, 2/3 of independents and about half of republicans. The “new” center is where the republicans used to be and as the tea party has moved the repubs to an all-time nutty extreme.

        July 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Rick

      The only way to turn things around is if everyone stopped voting for anyone who runs for a second term. When legislating becomes a service again, instead of a perk-filled and lifelong career - sustained only if voting the party line - common sense may return. Not before.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
      • Al Anton

        Well said. But that will never happen. The fat cats on the hill get too many goodies. They care about nothing but themselves for the most part.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
      • alinnc

        A lot of the problem in getting any type of compromise going now is not the people in their second or longer term. It's the new representatives.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
      • Noah

        What's the point of voting anyways, the Electorial College chooses who becomes puppet/master.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
      • Military Vet

        The problem we have now is not the old timers, but the new Tea Party people who do not understand how to govern. Politics is the art of the deal...the art of compromise. Ronal Reagan was an expert at the art of making a deal. The Tea Party people are extreme extremists who put ideology above country. It doesn’t help that the GOP has pledged it allegiance to Grover Norquist rather than the United States of America. Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave at the thought that the GOP did NOT take President Obama’s deal of 4 dollars in cuts for every dollar of revenue raised. What is the GOP thinking!

        July 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
      • annie s

        But its the 2st termers – the Tea Party legislators – that are causing the gridlock.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
      • Klamerus

        What we need is two term limits for all government positoins.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
      • Christian

        Understood, but there is a reason for re-election being on the table. The possibility of re-election means that an elected official works at being pragmatic and look for compromise. Would a term-limit system work better? Perhaps, but by historical example, there is the risk at losing lions in the Senate like Ted Kennedy, Everett Dirksen, Orrin Hatch, and strong Representatives like Mike Castle, all of whom ably served their states and districts, and did so for lengthy periods thanks to the lack of term limits. I don't but the argument that all elected officials are incompetent, selfish, heartless fools only out to line their pockets They enter public service to help do some good. Zakaria's point is that the systemic changes that have taken place in the last two decades have shifted the system against the very strength the system has to begin with; the possibility of compromise. That can't be changed unless we make it that way.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
      • rene

        That will never happen because the GOP voters will only do what they are told by their party like stepford wives. DEMS constantly vote against themselves, but not GOP. It's like they don't have any logic or reasoning skills and just do as they're told.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
      • Joe R

        Two points. If you recall an old British TV series called Yes, Prime Minister, then you see a good argument against "throw all the rascals out" - the rascals' replacements are essentially newcomers
        at the mercy of the long time bureaucrats.

        The second point. I think that the consequences of huge amounts of secret political money, thanks to Scalia et al, contributed greatly to the election of the tea party ideologues. Advertising and propaganda are powerful.

        July 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
      • MC in TX

        Military Vet is right. The current impasse was predominantly caused by the "freshman" Congressmen. Though one can argue that the senior legislators have been driving it as well, the reality is that the Boehner has his hands tied by what his colleagues are forcing him to do.
        Unfortunately there is no simple answer as to whether less experience or more experience is a good thing in Congress. More experience makes congressmen less dogmatic and more willing to compromise. But it also makes them more adverse to change and more cynical. Less experience makes congressmen more bold and more willing to try new things. But it also makes them less realistic and more impractical about what it takes to get things done.

        July 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
      • Freedem

        Limiting terms by not electing is the only stick you hold to have your agent in Congress work for you. If you wield it indiscriminately (for or against) , why would they bother to listen to you? And dumping the devil you know will bring on the devil you don't and knowing that they will be unemployed might well get them to focus on where the funds would come from afterwards. Bribery would skyrocket even over the current levels.

        Much better to get involved so those you would elect know you and you them, then you would have two sticks and a closer relationship to even know the mind and votes if your candidate.

        July 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
      • Eric

        Term Limits? We already have them...they're called elections. Term limits only ensure that Congress is filled with a bunch of amateurs only interested in finding their NEXT job. which means they follow the directions of their party leader or biggest benefactor. Need proof, see California. Term limits have seriously impaired California's ability to govern. Nothing magical happens when term limits are implemented. Your side won't magically start winning more elections and the quality of representation won't get better. Those who think that term limits get rid of the career politician are kidding themselves.

        July 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Sanity

      I disagree on Obama being to the far left. He couldn't be more center if he tried.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
      • Matt

        What color is the sky on your planet?

        July 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
      • DrDeath

        Hello from planet Earth!

        July 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
      • Boater

        Sanity, don't mind Matt & Dennis.... Their type perceive ANYONE who is not as far to the right as them to be all the way to the left.... To them, EVERYTHING is about extremes and they cannot fathom someone who is not an extermist.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
      • tom

        For Matt....you are totally delusional. Obama is as far left as Richard Nixon was. Nixon, the man who started the EPA and went for peace with Russia and China. Wow. I guess the US educational system really has gonedown the tubes.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
      • ADSWNJ

        Centerist? That's a joke. This guy has done nothing to try to bring the two sides together. I always thought that once a politician became the President, he (or she) was meant to serve as President to us all, not just pander to his party's special interests.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
      • Al Anton

        Hey - we elected an idiot and we're paying thje price.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
      • Alice Elder

        I agree. Barack Obama is being painted as a far left by the far right in order to make him out as fanatic as they are. That way, it takes the heat off of that group of nuts.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
      • Jim

        It is telling that Matt asked what "color" your sky is. That is why he and many feel that Obama is way left... It is all about color. They deny it, but I listen to people all the time make racists comments and jokes and then swear up and down that they do not dislike Obama because he is black.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
      • Nodack

        I couldn't agree more. I guess that's why I'm one of the few that like him. Even Steven, right down the middle.

        He has compromised and to the point where his own party is turning on him somewhat. For Republicans it's been all out war from the day Obama took office and they aren't about to compromise on anything or say yes to anything.

        The Line has been drawn and it's now a game of chicken and neither side wants to be the one to cave in and seem willing to take America over a cliff just to prove a point.

        I say let America vote on it then.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
      • Dan

        Boater and Tom,

        Have you ever read anything that Obama said about himself, even how that back in his college days, he was always attracted to those profs who were to the far left? He is currently angering the etreme left, because they are his base and he has done the unthinkable by offering to compromise with Boehner.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
      • Glibertarian

        Obama is generally left of center: more liberal than Clinton/Gore (especially post 1996) and more mainstream than Nancy Pelosi. The better analogy would have been to say Pelosi on the left & Sarah Palin on the right.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
      • ADSWNJ

        @Nodack – exactly right. Looks like they voted pretty resoundingly against the Dems vision of the future of this country last November, and just wait for Nov 2012. Oh and by the way ... 66% poll in support of forcing a balanced budget Amendment? That's not an idealogical left or right view, but just the American people of all political views coming together to tell Washington to stop spending money we don't have.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
      • quieteye

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU_yQRs3gVs&w=640&h=360]

        July 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
      • JPC

        Agreed, emphatically.

        Much of "Obamacare" actually comes from plans floated by *Republicans* as an alternative to the single-payer system proposed by Democrats in the 90's. "Cap and Trade" was a market-friendly alternative to strict carbon controls proposed by *right-wing economists* back in the 80's and 90's. On many policy issues Obama is more in line with the Republicans Nixon and Ford than with Democrats Carter and (even more so) Johnson. In many ways, Obama is farther to the right than Bill Clinton, who himself is generally regarded as a somewhat left-of-center moderate. (In other ways he's somewhat farther to the left, so in the end it's a wash.) He's been compromising with the GOP in all sorts of ways, and has given them 9/10 of what they want in most cases. (Of course it doesn't look that way because those Republicans have repeatedly dug in and refused to give up that last 1/10, and insisting that Obama refuses to "compromise" because he won't give up on that last 1/10th.)

        To all those people who think that Obama is a whacked-out far-left loon, I'd like to know what planet they've been living on for the last 30 years.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
      • mbaDad

        He certainly has moved toward center, but still fairly left. Clinton did the same thing once he was in office. I actually applaud this. I consider myself a liberal conservative (mostly center), and really have trouble voting for either side due to their extremism.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
      • BFOTO

        Obama is a complete political animal. He's an idea guy who has no real experience in getting things done. Add to that the way he insults the opposition and it's no surprise what you end up with. He panders to whomever he thinks will help him the most. And once that position falls out of favor he shifts course and throws people under the bus. He is anything but a leader.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
      • Barbara Nichols

        I beg to differe, Al Anton. G.W. Bush (helped to run), or in MHO ran our country into the ground during his two terms. President Obama is just getting to deal with it all now. I find it interesting how loudly (some) reps scream each time President Obama's honest agenda exposes the travisties of the near past.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
      • Military Vet

        70% of the American public wants cuts to government spending as well as an increase in taxes on the wealthy. This is the President’s plan is aligned with 70% of the American people. If he is a lefty, then Ronald Reagan was as well, at least according to what I see written here. Understand this simple fact, the left has not changed, the center has not changed, but the GOP has shifted to the extreme right over the last ten years. They are no-where near the center anymore. Old time conservatives are now considered center-left and have fled the party in droves. Independents who voted GOP last fall – expecting to get the common sense GOP agenda – are now suffering buyer’s remorse. After seeing the GOP’s extreme agenda across the country, they are fleeing the GOP positions as well. I am one of them, I don't want the Tea Party ideology, I want my government to work, I want the middle class to be the priority…not the wealthy or some guy named Grover Norquist.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
      • SInful

        I agree, Obama could not be more centrist than what he is.
        The problem is that the right wing is SO far right wing that everyone else appears liberal to them.

        Obama could actually stand to be more liberal.
        At the end of the day, the Dems represent 90% of America while the GOP represent 9% of America and the Tea Party only cares about the top 1% of America.
        Unfortunately many people do not realize that the GOP does not have the slightest care about them or their interests but Fox News and the elite right wing media have convinced them that billionaires getting taxed is going to hurt them and destroy America.
        Wake up, America! The GOP's job-killing policies only help the rich!

        July 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
      • pete

        Obama could cut $9 trillion in taxes, banish the EPA, claim global warming is a "sham", support creationism, label being gay as a "disease" that he can personally cure at his church through "therapy", end the federal reserve, and finally support local militias as a way to fight "government intrusion", and he would still be labeled as the anti-christ. The only thing that might help him is changing his name to Benjamin Franklin and becoming white.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
      • steve a, new braunfels, texas

        I agree with nodack, I like Obama also and I will vote for him agin

        July 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
      • Cathy

        Obama is not in the center, he is far left! What planet are you living on? He is all about re-distribution of wealth through taxes and social programs. The idea that anyone that disagrees with him is far right or in the Tea Party Movement does not understand America!

        July 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
      • Jay

        Very true. If you read either of his pre-Presidency books, its clear he's in the center and a pragmatist. Most that hate him, only know about him from the right and Fox News – none bother to do their own research on the man.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
      • CNN IS BS

        you have to be joking! trololololol

        July 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
      • D@mntired

        There was a reason that Sen Obama was *THE* most liberal senator.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
      • Mr Compromise

        I love all the comments about Obama being in the center and how much he has compromised. I guess you've already forgotten his down the Care. I think the comment was something like.... we won the election so deal with it. As for the debt debate, it's hard to compromise with someone who doesn't have a plan. When I see specifics on his plan, I'll let you know how much he has compromised.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
      • Sean

        I love how someone can copy a republican idea and be considered an ultra left wing nut job for it (romneycare/obamacare). GOP's don't have a problem with universal health care. GOP's have a problem with a democratic president, so therefore anything he does is considered anti-american even if it was their idea to begin with. I also love how the GOP claims they are fiscally conservative and want smaller government with lower taxes even though the last 3 republican presidents have gone on historic spending spree's.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
      • Mortimer Farnsworth Snerd

        He was trying to slip that in there and hoping no one would notice his crazy rant. Sorry, crazy ranter. We elected Obama because he was a moderate with no far-left agenda. Still too black for you, I see.

        July 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • WoI Admin

      Campaign finance is equally broken – and causes the same basic problem of skewed representation.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • queenbee

      No it won't. You discount the effect of mass marketing and advertising (ie the media) one of the reason for the polarization was the pirating of neutral journalism by forces on both the left and the right. Americans are very susceptible to mass marketing and advertising and taking political sides and brainwashing via the air waves is nothing new–but never since the hey day of yellow journalism has news been effectively skewed and propaganda driven by mediums in radio and tv. Witness Fox news, MSNBC–the diatribes and rhetoric and sides of both parties–talk radio and finally the way sensationalizing and parsing has taken hold. Each side only presents THEIR side and the same can be said of CNN–don't think so? Remember when censuring was a hated phrase of all media? That went the way of the dodo bird from the minute telecommuncations and networks got in bed with Bush and rewrote the war–now–censuring is the rule of the day–which will explain much if this post does not see the light of day or having seen it, is pulled prematurely.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Fortunately we have no gerrymandering in Europe!
      Fareed regreted that, "America does not have a parliamentary system like Europe's, in which one party takes control of all levers of political power – executive and legislative -". If one party wins, but doesn't get the majority vote, it has to form a coaltion with one party or more. Things don't always work smoothly in a coalition government.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • jhallock

      Being elected to the house or senate is a job for life. It's time to go back to what the founding father's had in mind. Serve your country and then go home. Important point here being "serve your country" Ron Paul has authored numerous bills to set term limits, during his numerous terms:) Pitch forks and torches? Not as long as the average American is more concerned with what is happening on reality tv than in the real world.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Reply
      • Barbara Nichols

        Amen! Too bad legislators don't acknowledge they aren't supposed to be there for life. It used to be that Americans worked for a company until retirement...and that went away years ago, but not for legislators. change is definitely needed

        July 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Mike

      As the GOP handlers have screamed from roof tops time and again...they manufacture wedge issues to create polarization to motivate non-voters to vote based on their personal bigotry

      . . for one reason only . . they cannot get their candidates elected based on their merits.

      July 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Reply
      • Klamerus

        Please spare us the BS. If the fact this country is spending trillions more than it takes in isn't a legit issue then there isn't one.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • DarkLayers

      Unless you bother to look at actual data:
      http://blogs.princeton.edu/mccarty/assets/gerrymander38.pdf

      July 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Reply
      • Barbara Nichols

        Hmmm...I read your link. Don't you think things have changed a bit in three years? 😉

        July 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • steve

      The reason that the US is becoming polarized is because of the leftist slant of the media....this article is a case in point.

      July 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Reply
      • Military Vet

        Don't forget Fox News, and right wing radio. How about Rush Limbaugh? The right wing news organizations are just as bad as ABC/MSNBC. thats why most people actually watch CNN. It seems to be right down th emiddle between the wto.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
      • brian

        Yeah, those all exist BECAUSE of the leftist media. In essence, liberals created their own monster.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
      • Jason

        @Military,
        Sorry most people don't watch CNN. Fox is blowing all of them out of the water. Look at the ratings. Not saying its a good thing just a fact.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
      • Mike

        There has been a definite left wing slant to the majority of news outlets since the Vietnam war. This more than anything is the primary reason that there is polarization in American politics. Americans are tired of it, that's the main reason that Fox has captured such an audience. It's not rocket science here. Americans are ticked off at the liberals.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
      • Mara

        I believe that Fox gets higher ratings because a majority of conservatives tend to watch Fox to the exclusion of all other outlets. Everyone else splits between all the other networks. If you took the viewership of the so-called 'liberal' media – i.e. everyone but Fox – and confined it to a single channel....that channel would blow Fox out of the water.

        http://people-press.org/2004/06/08/news-audiences-increasingly-politicized/

        July 25, 2011 at 6:53 am |
      • Mara

        Jason, I believe that Fox gets higher ratings because a majority of conservatives tend to watch Fox to the exclusion of all other outlets. Everyone else splits between all the other networks. If you took the viewership of the so-called 'liberal' media – i.e. everyone but Fox – and confined it to a single channel....that channel would blow Fox out of the water.

        http://people-press.org/2004/06/08/news-audiences-increasingly-politicized/

        July 25, 2011 at 7:02 am |
      • Mortimer Farnsworth Snerd

        Actually that's a self-serving lie. You people are crazy. FOX news has dodged lawsuits over and over by admitting they are a joke and don't report actual news, and still you think you are watching the news. Rupert Murdoch gets rich off you and you never catch on.

        July 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Barbara Nichols

      Yep! And there are people out there that would like to see the USA fall and being so terribly divided is just the groundwork for that to happen. The devil we don't know might be worse than the one we do know.

      July 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Reply
      • Jay Jay

        I agree with that Barbara. There seem to be a design to this whole thing. The globalists seem to almost be delighted in America's current fiscal problems.

        July 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Cathy

      Obama is a far left Socialist who is trying to transform America through social programs that amount to re-distribution of wealth. Anyone that does not think so is kidding themselves. Obama needs to start being a leader and learn to compromise with this debt crisis and quit blaming everyone else and take some ownership. Thats what a true leader does- which he is NOT.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Reply
      • JMR

        its funny how you think we have a SOCIALIST leader, our government is not set up that way, and in case you have forgotten republicans are just saying no to anything the guy suggests, and just don't want to agree to anything the black man says.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
      • Steve - Dallas

        Oh, go suck a teabag, Cathy. You obviously have no idea what a Socialist is. Hint: Obama is not one.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
      • Rick

        What do you know about wealth, Cathy? You're nothing but a trailer trash tea bagger who won't go to the toilet without Limbaugh or Beck giving you permission. If anything, Obama needs to be more socialist. I voted for him as a fellow University of Chicago guy, and expected a University of Chicago plan. So far, it's been blocked by the know-nothing GOPtards. More socialism.

        July 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
      • Mortimer Farnsworth Snerd

        "Anyone that does not think so is kidding themselves." You suck so much.

        July 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
      • Mark Kirk

        As to what a socialist is there is much disagreement-The late great Kurt Vonnegut said that when it was first said that the church was a opiate for the masses it meant that it was a comforting soothing thing to the masses-but then others decided to twist the meaning knowing or not to that it meant the church was a degenerate habit and a problem and this became a reason to stamp out the church in communist countries etc and a driving force for us to not like them here in "god fearing America" So some of the founding socialists were very different than others in thinking so you have to state what it means to you. Kurt Vonnegut was a socialist who valued common decency extended to his fellow man regardless of differences in thought or belief system held.

        August 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • JMR

      DUH, because we have a black president!!!

      July 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Reply
      • Cathy

        Oh, so anyone that dislikes the President's policies only does so because he is black??? Hahaha, that's the best you can come up with? How about we disagree with his policies and think he is too liberal?

        July 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
      • lwkite

        Cathy, Please name the Socialist policies of this president?

        July 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
      • Matt

        Obama is hardly a liberal. He is as centrist as they come and he will likely gain enough independent voters to take him to 271 electoral votes and the Presidency in 2012. The Republican leadership is terrified.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
      • Mortimer Farnsworth Snerd

        Cathy, so it's cool if his daughter marries your son? Of course you're a bigot, we can all read your posts. Hatemonsters like you are what this article's about.

        July 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Paul

      I'll add to your barrage of identical replies and state that only loonies consider the President "far left".

      July 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Reply
    • Be Serious

      SO TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT, THE PROBLEM IS RADICAL REPUBLICANS. THE REASONABLE AND SOON TO BE THROWN OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE ON THEIR ASSES DEMOCRATS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Reply
    • Breetai

      Oh this is hilarious on several levels. Hamilton and Jefferson got into arguments so heated about the banking system Washington had to physically separate them on several occasions. Banking regulation goes to the fundamentals of money and power and frankly if your not an extremist in one way or the other on this issue your ignorant and not paying attention or just a stupid sheep.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Reply
    • J. Allgeyer

      We need men of science to engage in the workings of government. Men of science cross parties, countries, and do not dwell, with political foresight, on issues and problems. Men of science work for the good of all and would offer a new perspective in the political arena.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Reply
      • Tim

        Your solution would not necessarily work. Men of science are, well, men. Human beings. Just as susceptible to greed, bigotry, ego, lust, national prejudice, vanity and narrow mindedness as men of God or anyone else.

        March 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Nobama

      You idiot liberals are reading an opinion on the United States from "FAREED ZAKARIA". WAKE UP!

      July 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Reply
      • Cathy

        Fareed is totally out of touch with what most Americans really think!

        July 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • TermLimits

      The problem is we need term limits on the congressonal members. All congressional members take bribes from lobbyist and if your a republican its money from the wealthy contributers. Then when its time to represent the US supposedly then they are back to who ;they support.... We need term limits on congress. A reorg on this would solve many problems and stop the non representation of the USA people.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
      • Fred Manning

        Make all the Fed.Hacks change jobs every six or seven years and keep them fresh,too.

        July 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • AZSenior

      You make a great point, but it's only part of a serious two-part (at least) problem. The second part that keeps the congress off track from the betterment of the country, is the uncontrolled political lobbyists allowed in Washington.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • John

      There has always been political extremes in the federal government. This is not new. The author of this article is missing a very basic point though – Democrats controlled Congress for decades, so you don't really HAVE to compromise when you control both houses of Congress! The real reason for the polarization is that conservatives have mostly moved to the Republican party and liberals have moved to the Democrats. When you have conservatives and liberals in the same party, there is an incentive to continue to compromise so that you don't lose power. Now that the diverging political views have moved to the respective parties, there is no reason to compromise. You don't have to look much further than that as the reason for this "new" polarization.

      July 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • el rob o

      Fareed fails to acknowledge the real reason people are so divisive. It's the name calling. Think of how the media has portrayed the Tea Party movement, which if the media was honest in their reporting would be much more influential than it is now because they'd find they would agree with the Tea Party positions.
      Whenever obama and the liberal media resort to name calling, that makes our nation more divided! duh! That is the ONLY reason our country continues down the path of divisions – it's not because OF the Tea Party. It's because of what happens TO the Tea Party.
      Fareed knows he's liberal and is using this piece to go after conservatives. It's what CNN does. there's no honesty with CNN. they have an agenda – nothing more. Its why Fox News SOLIDLY BEATS them in every rating category there is.

      July 24, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Reply
    • Jason E

      Thank you Dennis for adding one more vocabulary word to my life. I had to Wikipedia the term. But is this even legal and within the confines(if there are any) of fair play in the political world?

      July 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Reply
    • Clay Ruppenthal

      I fail to understand what makes the tea party extremists!!! to my knowledge there primary interests are fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility and holding politicians and gov't responsible for their actions. What is extreme about these positions?

      July 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Reply
    • David in Corpus

      Doesn't matter really. Once the cake mix is fkd up there aint no fixin' it. The U.S. is one fkd up cake mix indeed.

      Kill them all (dems and repubs), they are all snakes anyway and LET IT ALL BURN
      Burn baby burn.
      If history proves correct the next bunch of lords and ladies will be much more cautious in their thievery, leaving more than just crumbs on the floor for us. Then as time marches on it will all repeat itself again. Too bad we are living during the bad times and not the good, but then again, you ask the elders they will tell, the good ole' days weren't that good either.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Reply
    • blf83

      Gerrymandering is wrong. All districts in all states need to be formed without politicization though I am not sure how that is best accomplished. Unless random selection is employed by a neutral machine, how is politicization avoided?

      July 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • WatchDawg196

      Obama is left of center and Boehner is certainly right, but the Tea Party is not in the middle! They are right wing extremists that are trying to bring the lost sheep back into the fold of the Republican Party. This was intended from the beginning. Their objective: to fool naive voters into believing that they had a new political party to represent them. The people of the true middle ground do not have a party label other than Independent. We are made up of former Republicans and Democrats alike. 2012 is near and we will be heard next year!

      July 26, 2011 at 5:33 am | Reply
    • Who Cares

      America; where the people who elect crooks,liar,and thieves will do nothing more than sit there and argue with each other rather than throw them all out...Zakaria knows this, all "journalist" know this, the only people who don't know this are the idiots who keep voting for any politician.

      July 26, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • bruce turrie

      Not to mention the fact that it's become economically attractive to present just one side of an issue so that people never even hear ideas they might not agree with.

      July 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
    • Sarah Palin

      Yeah, Obama is clearly a "leftist". Like when he didn't close Gitmo. And when he didn't end either of our Wars. And when he didn't end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" via Presidential Signing Order. And when he supported Bush's TARP bailouts. Oh, wait. Those were all things Republicans wanted him to do. But hey, he's still Black, so he's clearly "Leftist".

      July 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • Dan L

      I don't see how Gerrymandering can be seen as the problem. The argument Zakaria seems to be making is that polarization is a recent problem which has escalated in the past few years (this is also a popular position). Gerrymandering is a 200+ year old problem. It was the norm in any "good old days" you could possibly define in which we were less polarized, and therefore not the reason for the recent issue.

      July 29, 2011 at 12:33 am | Reply
    • DH

      hell yea BL a great start

      July 29, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • Dent D

      Why do we need a house of Rep. With todays ability for tax payers to vote on line. You have a SS # and pay taxes then vote once per month on issues. Dissolve the House or Reps. We no longer need them or the cost of their wasted time.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
  2. Sean Greene

    It seems to me Fareed is ignoring identical problems on the left. all his examples are the right. Yet the same problem exists on the left with insane people like Olberman pulling the same stunts as Limbaugh.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • DJ

      With one slight difference. I'm on the left and I don't know anyone who slavishly listens to Olberman. In fact, I can honestly say that most of us consider him just another part of the overall problem. Unfortunately, I know a lot of idiots who slavishly listen to Limbaugh. I find it telling that almost all my liberal friends question things before believing in them, then continue to question new aspects as they materialize, while Limbaugh's army just repeats his quotes like they represent some unassailable truth.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Reply
      • Alice Elder

        The people that are the puppets of Limbaugh are fanatics. I am aghast at some of the things he says; the individuals that listen and believe in what he says are crazy. There is no logical thinking kicking in there.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
      • Bill744

        Every time I force myself (moderat, R leaning) to listen to the "Excellence In Broadcasting" network, AKA Rush Limbaugh, I find a paucity of facts and analysis. I find a guy acting like the ignorant sarcastic youth most of us once were, but magnified 10,000 times. I don't know how many real listeners he has, but I hope they are few. Glenn Beck totally lost me when I checked into some of his conspiracy theories and found them nothing more than mildly entertaining fictions. Shawn Hannity wastes all of his interviews on his own acrid voice rather than framing his guests' views. The only halfway honest and intelligent talking head on the right that I've seen is O'Reilly – and that doesn't mean he's always right or that everyone has to agree with him.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
      • blf83

        DJ: I agree with you. Followers of Rush are those who are willfully ignorant, even determinedly ignorant.

        July 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • ray

      nice try but can you name just one a single person who has apologized to olberman??? no ... make the claim provide the evidence

      July 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • Adam R

        I agree, Rush fans are blindly following him like sheep. He couldn't care less about anyone but himself. Anyone who listens to Rush i already know how they stand, how they think and how they will vote. They are about as sheepish and sad as anyone i've ever met. I am in the center. I despise extremes on both ends, they are not good for anyone but their interests

        July 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • tom

      That's right....the self righteous conservatives of merica speak up again. It's their way or the highway.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Beverlee

      Fareed couldn't see the forest for the trees. He is so left-driven right-blind that he is the last person who should write on polarization.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Reply
      • Adam R

        who should beverlee? are u actually disagreeing with what he said or just that the best examples of this are certainly from the right? sorry but the teabaggers are the prime example, its the best example to use.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
      • Dan

        Really Adam? He couldn't have mentioned the ridiculous amount of power that the unions have? The single largest contributor to the Democatic Party is the AFL-CIO and the party does it's bidding.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
      • Military Vet

        Unions are the middle class; they represent the last of the middle class. As union representation has fallen, so have wages. The last time the middle class got a raise that beat inflation was in 1973. Whether you like them or not, you have to admit that they at least fight for their members. Did you know that 7 of the 10 largest contributors to the last election where corporations, and they gave exclusively to the GOP? Why? Because for 40 years it has been the goal of the GOP to demonize unions in order to reduce membership and get rid of them so they can eliminate any voice of the middle class. They have almost succeeded. The wealthy have used their tax cuts to buy more influence in Washington, and to protect their interest at the expense of the middle class. The Tea Party is funded by the Koch Brothers, oil men, it is not a grass roots group at all. I've watched this process for 40 years and I'm amazed that “We the People” have allowed this to happen!

        July 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
      • Penny

        Beverlee, to criticize Fareed as "leftist" would be to forget that there are right-wing zealots like the Teabaggers. The problem is that BOTH sides have polarization groups, not just the right. It's no wonder politics have become more toxic in Washington. The political pendulum is in the center but then there are idealists/extremists on both sides that refuse to acknowledge that fact which is why both parties must work to win them over.

        Unfortunately, this polarization of politics is going to hold all of us hostage and cause the economy to get worse than it already is as well as bring any kind of lawmaking to a halt. Not a way to run a country.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
      • Cathy

        I agree that Fareed is a Globalist and that he does not really understand American Politics. There are a lot of us in the Center and we are not in the Tea Party! We just believe in balancing the budget and as many people paying taxes as possible and creating jobs.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
      • lwkite

        Cathy, I am still laughing at your comment that there are "lot's of in the center". After reading a few of your posts you may be a centrist in Idaho or Alabama but in the rest of the country that makes you Tea Party material.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
      • Michael

        I don't like to cast Fareed into a political party. If I had to, however, I would cast him as center right. His ideology seems to be heavy on business and economics, and light on social/welfare. Additionally, he appears to enjoy tax cuts (for stimulus), even though he feels that additions in revenues are necessary for balancing the budget. Yes, he would like a national value added tax (5% if I remember), but one issue cannot paint a man to one side. Anyways, that was for R&D, which could be argued as a center goal.
        So, based on his ideology, I paint him center right. His words against the Republicans are generally within the context of the lack of intelligence they are bringing to the table, and to their stubbornness to their ideals. This is not because they are idiots, but rather because they are holding on to their ideology in lieu of intelligent argument (there is intelligence in the ideology, and to do this sometimes, but not to this degree). Thus, I find Fareed annoyed with the congressional Republicans, but not republicans in general.

        Thanks.

        July 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Elle

      Sean: What 'identical problems on the left"?

      The difference is that the left fights fair, and they fight for "we the people." We don't exploit hate, divide and conquer or make up elaborate lies like "'death panels."

      And when Democrats get into office, we don't forget the people that sent us, and just start shaping the world to suit the Party's political advantage, 'the people" be damned.

      There is absolutely no equivalence in the MO of the two parties.

      But who can blame the Republicans: If they dropped the lies, distortion, the exploitation of hate, the divide and conquer, the tricks to deny Democrats their right to vote, their determination to silence unions, their determination to keep women barefoot and pregnant, out of the workforce, housebound and subservient to men, their determination to destroy education, keep young men stupid and docile, or their determination to kill our social safety nets for seniors and the poor – I f they told the truth about their plan to turn our democracy into a corporate fascist state, who would vote for them?

      All Republicans have are lies, spin and tricks – like obstructionism and refusal to compromise, even when they're risking the country's reputation.

      Don't try to equate their shenanigans with Democratic incompetence. Not the same thing.

      July 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Reply
      • BFOTO

        LOL. Too much KoolAid. Neither side fights fair.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
      • Bill744

        The Tea Party has been a monumental disappointment. Either it was an astroturf movement or it's been fully co-opted by big monied interests (Koch brothers, etc.).
        But I also have trouble listening to Richard Trumka or other union activists and their baseless vitriole.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
      • Paul

        Elle,

        Do you understand that your comments just aren't useful ? Do you get that ???????

        July 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
      • Cathy

        Typical Liberal! Calling names, making ignorant statements with no facts to back up claims! Making generalizations about anyone that disagrees with them and then saying THEY don't fight fair? How about having a dialog and understanding that some people see the world differently than you!

        July 24, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • That Guy

      Your point actually goes to show exactly why the right were the only ones pointed out. While Olberman may be the closest thing the left has to Limbaugh, they are in no way equivalent. How many Olberman is Right stickers, or some other equivalent to the Rush is Right sticker exist for someone on the left? Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Beck, Hannity, etc, the right has a slew of personalities that a large portion of America will blindly listen to as Gospel, and who wield huge amounts of power on the actual politicians that are running the country. If someone on the Right offends Rush, that can have huge negative implications for their future political career. A person on the left offending Olberman has little to worry about. That huge sway the right wing media has on directly affecting the current political landscape is a scary thing, as it means that an unelected official like Limbaugh holds more sway in national politics then the actual people that are chosen for office.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  3. Walter

    The founding fathers may have despised the concept of a party system, but they engaged in it with a fury. Indeed party politics shortly after independence was much more vicious than it is now.

    It seems your essay is mainly attacking the right. I wonder if you would be as concerned about polarization if it was the left engaging in more aggressive political activity.

    I really enjoy your show and many of the online articles in GPS, but it seems we differ in our political views.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • CaptnObvious

      Exactly. It seems Fareed is unaware that he is actually part of the problem here.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Reply
      • Zoran

        A former editor of the house organ of the Council on Foreign Relations can't help but be part of the problem.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
      • Paul

        Fareed and journalist like him are indeed a large part of the problem. Polarized networks, like this one (and others across the aisle) are a HUGE part of the problem. Wouldn't it be great if networks and newspapers would act in tn the common interest ?????? The idea of a right leaning or left leaning media outlet is pretty scary ....and it is now the norm.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
      • Cathy

        Fareed is part of the problem! He blames the Tea Party rather then understanding that the Tea Party emerged as a result of a nation spending money out of control, a government growing too large and citizens upset about it. And not everyone that disagrees with Obama is in the Tea Party!

        July 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • DJ

      But that's just the point. The right has created an aggressive atmosphere and they act like bullies. There are idiots on both sides, but liberals, in general, are on the defensive all the time because conservatives act like rabid, angry dogs. Listen to the rhetoric of Limbaugh. Attack attack attack. What EVERYONE needs to do is stop listening to the extremists on either side.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Reply
      • Zoran

        There are plenty of online videos of lefties and their pets physically attacking Tea Party-type demos.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
      • Walter

        Well, you're going to have a hard time arguing that conservatives need to stop doing something that seems to be working for us. I personally like a more intellectual debate, but I will not try to stop political antics that are achieving what I believe to be good results.

        July 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • tom

      Yeah it's the right that's always under attack...religion, marriage...oh and let's not forget about Christmas! LOL!

      July 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
      • John G

        This "war on christmas" is nonexistent. Christmas season shopping starts earlier and earlier every year. Christmas sales have started to appear in early November – and in some cases – October. Christmas and its associated revenues are alive and well in America. Trust me, as an accountant I have seen some seen some of the books for retailers after christmas season.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bob Gustafson

      Walter,

      I have just finished reading "Burr" by Gore Vidal, which tells US history from 1776 to 1836 through the eyes of Aaron Burr (according to Gore Vidal's understanding). The villains are Thomas Jefferson, for organizing the first political party, and Alexander Hamilton, for creating an opposition party. Burr and Adams and others didn't like parties, but they arose and we've been stuck with them ever since.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  4. edvhou812

    Political Polarization...GONE WILD! Watch rich girls at the PAC phone center take off their shirts! And make LOOOOOVVVEEEE on camera! Uncensored! Uncut! Political Polarization GONE WILD!

    July 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  5. Tom

    Eliminate primaries and the wingnuts will have to compete with ordinary voters in the "instant" primaries that could easily replace them. Everyone is on the ballot, and you get to rank your choices. As it stands now, the only folks on the ballot are the ones the wingnuts elected in the primaries, and even wingnuts can tell the difference between a moderate pandering to the base and a true died in the wool fellow wingnut.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • CaptnObvious

      Finding some way to get rid of primaries (and parties in general) would be an incredibly positive step.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Capt'nObvious...I agree completely. I thing the whole system perpetuates teh pwoer structure and keeps both parties handing power back and forth for generations.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Reply
    • Bill744

      There was a time, several decades ago, when there existed conservative democrats and liberal republicans. Even moderates found homes in either party. Primaries might have worked better then. But in today's political world, where D = Left and R = Right, the center has no home and no primary to play in. Thus, the polar extremes rule the roosts (D & R).

      July 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  6. Douglas T

    Dont' forget the closed primary which has become more prevalent and only allows party members to vote in primaries. No independents or opposing party members allowed

    July 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • R Cain

      Primaries are where Party policy and platform are decided. Why would you want to allow someone who isn't a member of your club to decide the rules of your club?

      July 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Reply
      • Bill744

        To the best of my knowledge, primaries are not where the party platforms are written – that's at the convention and by essentially faceless delegates and party functionaries. At the primaries, the parties put forth their lists of potential candidates to sound them out. For the most part, Republican leaning independents will gravitate towards Republican primaries, and likewise for Democratic primaries. Open primaries are a reality check for party leaders living in echo chambers and may result in candidates who can appeal beyond a limited base.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  7. K3Citizen

    I feel the nation is divided because of how Bush II won his election in 2000. The corrupt Florida republicans cheated to ensure Bush would win. Our country started to downward spiral right after that. Bush hurt us more than Obama ever did, yet you have the culprits that helped Bush bankrupt us are now on the attack against Obama.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Matt

      I completely agree and came to post the same thing! I haven't noticed a political divide as intense in our nation's history as has been seen in the last 10 years. I think it began with the 2000 election and the way Bush was put in office illegitamately in the minds of many. From that day, Democrats positions have been to adamantly oppose any Bush policy whether bad or good. Then Republicans returned the favor with Obama. The media has also helped, aided by the growth of a more social and interactive internet that wasn't there in the 1990s

      July 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • sharky

      And yet again another corrupted by the well liberal media. The Supreme Court decided the outcome, go and complain to them already. And given your blame Bush, Obama rocks posting, seriously you do not think for yourself. UGH this is why the media sucks.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • alinnc

        Same Supreme Court that declared that corporations have the same rights to fund elections that individuals have. Unfortunately, corporations do not enjoy the same rights of punishment as an individual does. About all you can do is fine them, then they will litigate it until they are only paying pennies on the dollar for the fine, or have it dropped altogether. Everyone keeps talking about having skin in the game. I think that if a corporation wants the same rights as a citizen, the CEO should serve as a stand in for the physical body & be subject to incarceration for corporate malfeasance.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • beelzebubba

      Huh? Even the unashamedly liberal New York Times investigation acknowledged that Dubbya won the election in Florida.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Reply
      • tom

        The myth of the "liberal media" is long gone. The NYT was very involved in our invasion of Iraq. Your outlook on the media is soooo 1970's!

        July 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • tom

      You are so right. That was the day democracy died. The winner became the loser and the rest is history.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • Roy

      The country's been on a downward spiral since the 1960s, when "reform" of the immigration laws ensured ethnic/racial balkanization and a future minority status for whites.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • bob2561

      we really need to stop the blame game and focus on what's best for the country. the party be dammned.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      K3Citizen...Except that two independent auditing agencies verified the counts and found that the outcome was legitimate. Ultimately the SCOTUS made the ruling, but the vote was not fraudulent. That is nothing more than another ridiculous conspiracy theory foisted by those who were po'd that GWB won.

      July 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  8. jim

    The answer in 2 words is -- Nancy Pelosi!

    July 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Pri

      That's just dumb.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • tom

      That's just ignorant.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      You guys seriously think Nancy Pelosi hasn't been a force of division even in her own party? Please. Her insistance on her way and unwilliningness to compromise was the chief reason that Health Care Reform was held up in Congress for so long. Lest you forget, the Dems controlled BOTH houses of Congress and couldn't get much of anything done and blamed the moinority Republicans for the hold up. Yes, but teh Tea Party is to balme. Please.

      July 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  9. Priori

    In any household, polarizaton between spenders and savers "goes wild" when debt gets out of control. There's nothing at all surprising about any of this.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Priori, did you know that the US (counting all levels - federal, state, local) has the lowest taxes (as % of GDP) of any "first world" nation? (And this according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.) If something's out of balance, it's the low level of taxes collected.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Reply
      • Priori

        ... Hi Dan... What you say goes a long way toward explaining why so many "1st world" countries are in horrific financial states. It hardly bears considering that heavier government taxation of the profit-creating sector would lead toward greater financial solvency.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
      • Military Vet

        Our problem is revenue; we have the lowest revenue since the 1950's. This is due to the Bush tax cuts. Taxes, in general, are a problem because they have been cut too deeply. Tax cuts do not create jobs, demand creates jobs, and demand means spending.

        1. Tax revenue is at its lowest level since 1950
        This year, federal taxation will take up less than 15 percent of total national economic activity. That’s the lowest level in 60 years. In fact, total revenue as a share of gross domestic product has now been under 15 percent for three straight years—the first time that has happened since before World War II.
        20.4 percent – 1945
        14.4 percent – 1950
        20.6 percent – 2000
        14.8 percent – 2011
        Sources: Office of Management and Budget

        2. The U.S. has much lower taxes than other developed countries
        Out of more than 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the United States ranks fifth from the bottom in total taxes paid to all levels of government, as a share of GDP. Total government revenue in the United States is nearly 25 percent lower than the average OECD country.
        Denmark – 49.3 percent
        UK – 35.8
        Canada – 33.1
        United States – 26.9 percent
        Mexico- -18.4 percent
        Sources: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development
        The solution?

        Simply return the tax rates to their normal level, cut waste, eliminate tax loopholes for the wealthy and big business, and our problem will be solved.

        July 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Buzz

      Yea, but in a household, there is the possibility of divorce. How can we divorce the mess we have ruining the country now?

      July 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Reply
      • pete

        Democratic approach: get a high salary (raise taxes/revenue for gov) and run up a large bill

        Republican approach: get a low paying job (cut taxes/revenue for gov) and still run up a large bill (see approx $9T of the debt belonging to last 3 GOP Presidents)

        July 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  10. Tony

    Fareed, can't say I agree with you. You're mainly a globalist with semi-conservative views and the tea party doesn't fit into your CFR agenda regarding globalization. What about all the wackos on the left side of the spectrum that aren't in the mass media daily? Oh yeah, that's right, because CNN and MSNBC have a liberal bias. Really dude watch some other news stations and you will see what I am talking about. CNN is always parading gays, dragging down the tea-party, and pandering to mainly liberal audience, especially since Lou Dobbs left. Youre no different than Fox News, CNN.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • tom

      Glad you enjoy the right wing propaganda on Faux News!

      July 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • Buzz

      And, someone needs to drag the Tea Party down!

      July 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  11. Holly

    The myth that illegal aliens only hold jobs that American workers won’t do is just that — a myth. Recent studies estimate that 20 percent of cooks, 25 percent of construction workers, 22 percent of maids and housekeeping personnel, and 25 percent of groundskeepers are illegal aliens. In addition, 40 percent of illegal aliens are visa overstays, many of whom take high-end jobs from Americans.
    When fast-food company Chipotle was audited and hundreds of its illegal workers were fired, American citizens lined up the next day for a chance to work at those jobs. . .
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data from last year show that 98.3 percent of employees were confirmed as work-authorized instantly or within 24 hours using E-Verify. A 2009 report by research firm Westat found that those eligible to work are immediately confirmed 99.5 percent of the time.
    E-Verify is free, very accurate and reduces paperwork for American businesses.
    Please put your efforts into helping the truly down and out Americans. Please put your efforts in helping mothers, fathers, teenagers find work. There are generations of families who cannot compete with the under the table dealings of illegal’s and have gone out of business. Fax your representative today. Faxes and calls work and are free at Numbers…..(look it up and just do it!)

    July 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Thank you Holly. I think most people still labor under teh delusion that illegals are only migrant farmers who pick cantelopes in Txas and cotton elsewhere - which IS a job most Americans won't do, but is hardly reflective of which jobs illegals are actually doing.

      July 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  12. Chris

    Fearmongering. Both parties do it, and the fear just pushes the decided farther apart and the undecided farther into a corner.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  13. Bob

    Fareed is an 'advisor' to Obama. When the radical Obama fails, time to spin the fault as that of partisan Republicans.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply
    • tom

      He's about as radical as Nioxon, you fool!

      July 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  14. Lynn

    Groups like the Tea Party love media attention. Turn the camera's off and they go somewhere else or shut up. The Tea Party doesn't just disagree with the left, they hate them to their very core. Never before has there been so much hate towards fellow Americans. Is it a coincidence the Tea Party has never before been so powerful?

    July 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply
    • Anthony

      FAREED IS A GLOBALIST!

      July 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Reply
      • JMK

        And your point is???

        July 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • sharky

      Lynn -

      Your comment displays that you actually do not even know anything about the Tea Party and you have actually depended on the liberal media to get your information. Gee thanks media for helping the divide. Lynn do yourself a favor, actually look up what the TPM stands for.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • tom

        The Tea Party stands for the status quo until a black man is elected president.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Roy

      Some serious projection going on here.

      It's a real challenge to outdo the obsession lefties have for Tea Party types, or for conservative whites in general. They really do genuinely despise them. It's amazing how much emotional capital they've invested in this anti-white hatred.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Reply
      • Buzz

        anti-white? More like anti-everything!

        July 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
      • Dan

        Yes, but it's an obsession based on fear. Tehy pose a threat to the hegemony of teh traditional parties, so of course tehy are demonized. I can't say that I agree with many of of them, but soem people really need to step bac and take a serious look at why many people in the press and both major parties hate them.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
      • DmcG

        Ha, anti-white. This article hinted at nothing of the sort, and most of the people you are speaking with are white. The fact that you even brought it up shows that you have some issue with the White race, whether it is a feeling of superiority or inferiority.

        Maybe since you mentioned it on CNN they will do a story on the plight of the White Man.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  15. Anthony

    Fareed, not everybody has a globalist agenda like you. Don't be mad because of that.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • coldtallbeer

      Personal attack example of Fareed's opinion....

      July 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  16. CaptnObvious

    I agree with Fareed's points, but he's part of the problem.
    "4) Political polarization has also been fueled by a new media, which is also narrowcast."

    This is 100% spot on, and even Fareed is culpable by providing examples of what's wrong with Washington by using only examples from the right. Shame. Lead by example Fareed.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • ray

      gee captn ... it is rather obvious that the polarization is happening on the right ... can you name any democrats who are running to communism (may be a bad example as you may believe anyone to the left of limbaugh is a commie but for reasonable people it is a good example)

      July 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Reply
      • CaptnObvious

        Communism? What? I'm not talking about communism.

        One needs only look back at Bush's term to see insane polarization coming from the left. (General "Betrayus"...yeah that guy that Obama later tapped to lead the effot in Afghanistan and now the Defense Dept)? Face it. If you believe one side or the other is the only one with a polarization problem, then you yourself are polarized and part of the entire problem with American politics.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
      • Buzz

        Are you suggesting that Rush is next to a commie? The shame!

        July 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
      • bob2561

        could we return to an intelligent discussion instead of babble?

        July 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Jim

      I agree... many more people showed up, on average to anti-war protests, than they did to tea-party rallies. The media rarely and barely covered anti-Bush or anti-war rallies. The gave a disproportionate amount of media coverage to the Tea-Party. The Tea-Party is still in the very small minority, yet they still get way to much attention paid to them... especially when you consider that they are a fringe group in the grand scheme of things.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      Fareed's bias is transparent. How can these journalists write pieces like this ...are they oblivious ? Seriously – what is the root motivation to write a piece on polarization ...in a polarizing manner ??? This really is odd behavior ...or is it just plain old hypocritical business as usual ?

      July 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  17. Tony

    I really think CNN has fallen off the map as a news organization. Globalist/progressive/liberal bias at its best. That's why they hate the tea party.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • JMK

      Or maybe it is because any sane American can see that they don't agree with their insane anti-tax, anti-government message.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • JMK

      Yes, keep throwing around those words you probably don't even know what they mean. Wear them out until they are meaningless. Keep attacking the straw man! Just keep labeling people. That will work out...

      July 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • sharky

      JMK–

      What is weird in your own original posting you talk about the problem being laziness, YET you then complain about the Tea Party Movement saying such things that are not entirely correct. So maybe you should stop being lazy yourself and actually read up about the real purpose of the Tea Party Movement. They are not anti-tax, they are anti-new taxes, they are not anti-Government, they are anti-BIG Government. See I just had to correct you when you could have done that yourself. You did not, because you are lazy yet you complain about people being lazy.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
      • Buzz

        Hummm, is that what the Tea Party is all about. Doesn't sound so unreasonable, and I'm a democrat. I would like to add to that platform, leave the debt ceiling where it is. Due to jobs that don't pay what they used to the government has less income and a serious spending problem. Fareed has addressed this in past commentaries, but only a few listened.

        July 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • D@mntired

      So very true. Every day they push the liberal agenda.

      Remember how long they ran with that "sissy"-boy story? jeez.

      July 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  18. JMK

    The problem isn't primaries and gerrymandering. The problem is laziness. The American people don't pay enough attention to politics to care. Why do the moderate Americans registered with a party let the crazies take over? Laziness/apathy. If gerrymandering is to blame, why is the Senate becoming more politicized (there are no districts to gerrymander)? Plus, in order for a Republican to be elected in a solidly Democratic district (or vise versa), wouldn't they have to appeal to the center to win and thus be moderate? Wouldn't that encourage more moderation?

    July 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  19. Scott

    sorry, not buying it. Proponents of this recent "vicious politics" theory need to check their history. One only needs to attend the Lincoln Museum in Springfield IL to see how nastily the democrats treated him. There was no love lost. The examples the author gives are just a little one sided since they only seem to be republicans "not moving to the center". What a crock.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • Roy

      GOP-er's really shouldn't rush to claim the Lincoln mantle, as he set the stage for the loathsome overreach of federal power we have today.

      Back then, the Dems were the anti-statists, and they were right to rake Abe over the coals.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  20. Daniel Amore

    You criticize the Tea Party for it's purity? You'd rather see compromise as opposed open and honest dedication to those principles which a group believes is right? Perhaps instead of criticizing others for their integrity you should take a look at those principles which they defend and attack them directly if you disagree.

    Try looking at gridlock as the country's defense mechanism against bad policy and poor decisions instead of as a flaw. Maybe that's why nothing gets done in Washington...

    July 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  21. Mindstorms

    There was a turtle and a scorpion who met at the Suez Canal. The scorpion asks the turtle to let him ride on his back so he could get across the canal. The turtle says he will do it if the scorpion doesn't sting him. The scorpion promises not to sting the turtle. Half way across the canal the scorpion stings the turtle and as both are sinking under the water the turtle asks why did you sting me now we are both going to die. The scorpion replies...this is the Middle East.

This entire debt debate sort of reminds me of that story.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  22. sharky

    The MEDIA!!!! Because of the internet, everyone now has a voice, the Media will not present all facts, it presents slanted truths and people are too lazy to go and research anything these days. The Media knows they have more control than ever before. I cannot even stand to watch the cable news channels as they are pathetic and actually what sickens me even more, sure Fox News admits it does have a bit more of a conservative slant, it admits it, but liberal media is in such deep denial of their own liberal slant which makes for really bad reporting and journalistic skills. I want a media outlet that is in the middle and reports about both sides the negatives and the positives and does not slant things or hide things or avoid reporting things.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • Schmand

      Fox has a bit more of a conservative slant. Kinda like saying sharks have a few more teeth then other creatures. Stop blaming the media for all of our ills. I think that currently people make up their mind and then find a media outlet that reinforces them.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  23. Dan

    People used to speak of the "art of politics". But if you Google "art of politics" and "game of politics", "art" gets 370 thousand "hits" while "game" gets 1.8 million. In art there there is stuff you like and stuff you don't like, but the existence of one does not diminish the other - there are no real winners or losers, just some works that are appreciated more than others. In a game, however, there must always be a score, with a winner and a loser.

    Let's get back to the art of politics.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  24. R Cain

    Why is it so necessary that everyone be in the absolute center? From both the left and the right has come some pretty crazy, radical, and insanely liberal ideas like Worker's Rights, Women's Suffrage and the Civil Rights Act. There's something to be said for not riding the fence. It's OK to take a side and stand by it. You'd be historically in some good company.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • Oodoodanoo

      Those are all ideas largely promoted by lefties. Like gay marriage and ending DADT.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • R Cain

        Surely you must concede they're good ideas ... unless you don't think women should be allowed to vote because it might offend someone. Honestly, I'm more afraid of a country run by moderates than I ever will be of radical groups.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Daniel

      To compromise in politics often means betraying what one truly believes in. I don't want those type of people representing me.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
      • R Cain

        Amen

        July 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
      • Schmand

        Sounds like an excellent way to have the political system self destruct.

        July 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
      • MacLeod

        Why is it integrity to take a stand and hold it without any recognition that one might be wrong. We don't always have it right. If we had been more willing to confront that view, we might have stopped Bush going to war against a toothless Iraq that had no WMDs and overspent, putting us where we are now, economically speaking.

        So again, where is the benefit in holding to a position blindly?

        July 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  25. Oodoodanoo

    Litmus test are today the hallmark of the right. Moderate Republicans are a dying breed, whereas fairly conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson and Heath Shuler do quite well. The Democratic Party is not controlled by a mob of Dennis Kucinichs. In fact, nobody takes an emotional liberal seriously.

    Nice try, Fareed, trying to strike balance for the purpose of this post. But one party has repeatedly expressed a willingness to compromise in the face of reality, and the other has not. You mentioned the Tea Party. There is no equivalent to them on the left.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • CaptnObvious

      Not buying it. There's no way a centrist Democrat would make it past the primaries in say Pelosi's district.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • Oodoodanoo

      Pelosi's district = local politics. Same could be said of lots of right-wing districts in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, ....

      The Tea Party is a national-level leash on the GOP. There is no equivalent on the left.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Reply
      • CaptnObvious

        That's exactly Fareed's point. All these silly local districts with extreme views on the right and the left are providing lifetime jobs to extremist politicians.

        As for national left leaning groups, try Sierra Club, NEA, NOW, Teamsters....

        Don't worry, the right has more than the Tea Party...NRA, Right to Life....

        To #@* with all of them.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
      • CaptnObvious

        Sorry, I left off the most egregious, and perhaps the one most directly correlated to the Tea Party: moveon.org.

        July 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  26. agent4

    you do realize that without the progressive take over in 2008, the tea party would have never existed right?

    it was all that anger and aggression that created the very division you are talking about. Maybe if Obama had been a bit more humble and more compromising in this posture, none of this would have happened. Unfortunately, this didn't happen, so we all must experience the consequences.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Agent4, you realize that without the massive "soft money" spending by the Koch brothers and other filthy rich right-wingers the Tea Party would never have existed, right?

      July 24, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Reply
      • Rocko

        Dan, it seems very easy for you to overlook the money obama gets from the George soros'and GE and other Corporations along with the unions, who have their own liberal agendas. The Dems have had control for over 4 years in congress. They couldn't even pass a budget when they had the presidency, and both houses. Face it Dan you are backing losers.

        July 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  27. Mark

    Hey CNN, can you get some columnists who actually know anything about the history of politics in our country? LOL @ this donkey and his assertion that only recently did our country become really polarized.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  28. jeff

    Sorry Fareed. But you are incorrect. The reason our nation is divided is because there are still people in America that were raised with a good moral compass, and then there are people that were raised by parents that gave their kids everything so they could get quit whining. Unfortunately, those whiny kids never grew out of their child-like tantrums and they became liberals. Thank god for some parents that still have good skills in curbing child-like behavior before their kids become whiny adults.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • el rob o

      Couldn't agree more. The sad part is Fareed and CNN will get thumped by the public on this piece but they won't care. They don't get it! CNN and liberals are mean, nasty, and just not that bright. They believe because they've hijacked the education system they can look down on the rest of America.
      They'll learn the hard way!

      July 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  29. Chris G

    A big part of the problem is the media. Take this article for example. It is labeled as political polarization but only shows problems with the right wing which is the tea party and or the republicans instead of congress as a whole. Fox, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Rush etc... are pushing people to one side or the other and then they report on it. This causes the divide to become larger and larger.

    Secondly, the government is to large and out of control in every way possible. Lets temporarily stop the handouts to the world, cut back the billions of wasteful spending in our own country and then look at what needs to be handled first.

    Thirdly, set consecutive term limits and give no retirement. Get paid while you are there working and no more. Getting elected to congress has become a get rich quick scheme. Instead of getting the best, we often get the smoothest talker who wants to line his or her pockets.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • CaptnObvious

      100% agree. Fareed is part of the problem here. Love the term limits. We need this, but which career politician would ever support such an idea??

      July 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  30. BobAD

    Political Polarization? What we have is the Rich and Powerful funding the destruction of a Presidency and they do not care who gets in the way. Are you retired living on Medicare and SSA? Are you in a care facility where they have robed you of everything so you are dependent on Medicaid? This has become a Class War not a political war and they will use every trick in the book to turn brother against brother.

    July 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • ron shedd

      YES...my thoughts exactly. The Tea Party types are unwitting shills for the rich and, sady, they don't seem to have a clue that they are only hurting themselves.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
      • Rocko

        Ron, Exactly how many Rich people do you see at Tea Party events? Mostly you see Sr. Middle class people who realize we can't keep going down this path. Fact: We are Broke, Fact: We are up to our ears in debt. Fact: Our current president has done nothing to improve our economy. We have more people on food stamps and unemployment than any time in our history. With out a return to sound economic principles this country has very little hope and the change obama promised will be all bad.

        July 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
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