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Reporter Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post – who rarely misses a chance to nuzzle up to the rhetorical fluff emanating from the administration of Barack Obama – actually did the marketplace of ideas a service this week by focusing on some real numbers.

In a piece published earlier this week, Cillizza examines how Obama is faring among voters who identify with the two major political parties – concluding that the current occupant of the White House is “the most polarizing president – ever.”

According to Gallup tracking polls, an average of 80 percent of Democrats approved of the job Obama was doing in 2011 – his third year in office. Meanwhile just 12 percent of Republicans approved – creating a “partisan gap” of 68 points.

Don’t get us wrong … this isn’t revealing because one side is right and the other is wrong (although that is the case).

It’s revealing in that straight ticket Republicans are clearly every bit as stupid as straight ticket Democrats.

Seriously, while the GOP has been smart enough to recognize Obama for the abject failure that he is, they’ve seen fit to elevate a pair of Obama-Lites as frontrunners for the Republican presidential election. Of course God forbid the ideological symmetry of Obama and his two main GOP rivals (a.k.a. “Obamneyich“) get in the way of a good mainstream media narrative …

“For believers in bipartisanship, the next nine months are going to be tough sledding, as the already-gaping partisan divide between the two parties will only grow as the 2012 election draws nearer,” Cillizza writes.

That’s accurate … not to mention self-fulfilling.

In case you’re keeping score at home, Obama’s average approval rating in 2009 among Democrats was 88 percent while his approval rating among Republicans was 23 percent. Last year 81 percent of Democrats approved of Obama’s performance compared to 13 percent of Republicans.

“Hope and change,” it appears, can only fool just enough of the people for some of the time … although at this point the Republicans’ failure to nominate a candidate who can unify the anti-Obama vote has made a president of Jimmy Carter-esque popularity the unlikely frontrunner in the 2012 general election.

Once again, the GOP is mistaking “independent” for “moderate.”