An interesting point from a reader about today’s G-File:
Jonah, I generally agree with your piece. It nicely points out the way liberals think a uniter is someone who agrees with their position, and a divider is anyone who disagrees with them.
However, I think you legitimize their criticism (and perhaps equally misunderstand the meaning) when you say that Bush does divide America, just as Clinton did and Gore would have. I think this is untrue. When Bush campaigned successfully with the “uniter not a divider” line, it was clearly understood by me, and I believe most conservatives, that he would not intentionally and often unfairly pit people against each other for political gain. Notice how Bush often says that reasonable people can disagree, but he is doing X because he believes it is right. This was in stark contrast to Clinton and Gore, who typically would say that those who disagree with them had genetic abnormalities or were bigots. The latter is obviously much more divisive, because it aims to remove any legitimacy from the view of the opposition.
So, I agree with you that it is unfair to claim someone is “divisive” just because they take one side of an issue on which the country is divided. However, I think you imply that this is the only way that political leaders are divisive. This clears Clinton and Gore of their divisive behavior, and ignores Bush’s actions which are, in fact, less divisive.