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President Reagan tightened loopholes in 1986 without ending any of the popular tax breaks that are often mentioned, and with the support of House and Senate Democrats to boot.

There is, however, something much more fundamental going on here than the shallow, biased, incomplete reporting on the nightly news programs. Gallup suggests that this may have more to do with plain old partisanship. An average of 90 percent of Democrats so far in October (and 8 percent of Republicans) approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing. That’s making his ratings one of “the most polarized Gallup has measured for any president.”

“President Obama gets near-universal approval from supporters of his own party and near-universal disapproval from supporters of the opposition party as he seeks re-election,” Gallup reported last week.

Democrats have invested a lot of political capital in the inexperienced community organizer from Chicago, and for the most part, they’re sticking with him through thick and thin — no matter how weak the economy becomes, how many people have fallen into poverty, homelessness or despair, or how deeply he plunges our government into unprecedented debt.

Inexplicably, Mr. Obama is running almost dead even in a campaign in which he offers no vision of the future for the next four years and proposes no new remedies to nurse America’s chronically weakening economy back to health.

He offers only politically soothing words of sympathy for millions who are still suffering from his impotent economic policies, victims who were among the middle-class voters for whom he voices so much compassion and concern.

What they really need is leadership with policies that create jobs, a healthy economy and a strong America. But he hasn’t a clue how to do that.

All Mr. Obama can offer now is extended unemployment benefits, food stamps, welfare checks and homeless shelters. Add to these plenty of comforting words and excuses for the next four years.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.