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The Bush Malaise

June 22nd, 2007 · 8 Comments · Healthcare Crisis, Peace, Politics, Terrorism

Jimmy CarterGeorge W. Bush’s approval rating (26%) is now officially lower than Jimmy Carter’s was at his nadir of popularity (28%), according to Newsweek.

What do you think are the odds that in a couple of decades GWB will be highly regarded as a diplomat, author, nobel peace prize winner, and humanitarian?

Other fun facts:

The war in Iraq continues to drag Bush down. A record 73 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Bush has done handling Iraq … but the White House cannot pin his rating on the war alone. Bush scores record or near record lows on every major issue: from the economy (34 percent approve, 60 percent disapprove) to health care (28 percent approve, 61 percent disapprove) to immigration (23 percent approve, 63 percent disapprove). And—in the worst news, perhaps, for the crowded field of Republicans hoping to succeed Bush in 2008—50 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of terrorism and homeland security. Only 43 percent approve, on an issue that has been the GOP’s trump card in national elections since 9/11.

The article says that Nixon’s low point was 23 percent, in January of 1974, seven months before he resigned. Of course, GWB has a good year and a half left left to chip away at those last three points.

It’s a little like watching a man dance the limbo by himself.


8 Comments so far ↓

  • Jane Hyde

    I’m of course thrilled to read all such statistics and do believe that folks are disgusted with hum. BUT we need to remember that people in Chicago, Asheville, Boston, New York, some of the West Coast, etc. do not really reflect mainstream values. I am reminded of this from time to time when I get out of my little bubble of New York Times, NPR, a liberal part of town, etc, that there are a lot of good American people out there who do no not hold my views. There really IS a “liberal elite” which does not reflect a large part of “middle America.” (I don’t mean that I’m elite, just that I identify with people and positions that are often branded as such.)
    Maybe, if this is the case, the best hope is that Republicans and conservative others at least will turn away from the extreme right. There’s such a way-pre-2008 election circus going on right now that it’s anybody’s guess how the actual campaign will unfold. But as much as I like to see third party alternatives and possibly refreshing entrants, I sincerely hope the vote doesn’t get split like last time. I mean, Nader’s a good guy, but Gore might have won if Ralph hadn’t been a choice. Waddya think, D?

  • Ocelopotamus

    Hi, Jane!

    I agree with much of what you say here, and you’re right about the importance of breaking out of those bubbles we all live in. It’s a very fragmented country, and sometimes you only have to travel a few miles to feel like you’re in a different country.

    I generally don’t like the term “liberal elite” because it’s constructed to reinforce a Republican frame that liberals are somehow wealthy and powerful (see Thomas Frank’s great book What’s the Matter with Kansas?), when the reality is that most people on the left side of the spectrum have their politics grounded in populism. Conservatives have successfully managed to project their own elitism onto liberals by relentlessly chanting that phrase.

    Also, I think the amazing thing about Bush dipping below 30% is that while yes, there are and always will be lots of deeply conservative people in this country, once any Republican gets below the 30% mark he’s clearly lost a big chunk of his base. Bush is definitely bleeding badly here, from his conservative flank.

    As for Nader … don’t get me started. I used to admire him tremendously, but I think he’s proven himself to be incredibly reckless, selfish, and irresponsible. As someone said recently, anyone who claims at this point that there would have been no difference between the Bush and Gore presidencies is beyond hope.

  • Jane Hyde

    Cool, Dave, glad to have your comment. What do you think of Gore, or what’s the best hope for the coutnry? But you might not have time to respond, so feel free to keep forging on! I admire your tremendous energy to address so many issues and keep up so many projects,. May the great turtle on whose back the world might be standing bless you…. Even though I’m on school summer break, there ‘s not enough time to respond to everything I’m interested in., keep up with personal stuff, etc. Thanks for your nature posts, eagles and whippoorwills, turtles (yes, turtles!) and the like. Ocelots rule — and I had no trouble at all in pronouncing the name of the blog. Over and out. — J

  • Aaron

    I think the fact that so many of Bush’s “former allies” are turning on him now speaks the loudest in terms of just how far most people believe the country’s been misled. The neo-convicts don’t think he’s conservative enough, while the rest of us already despised him.

    Oh, and as far as the question of whether posterity will judge him as a humanitarian? Two words: “oil” and “Guantanamo.” OK, a third one: “Alberto.”

  • Ocelopotamus

    Jane, you’re so right about there never being enough time to respond to everything. But I’ll say that right now I’m still a big Edwards supporter. I give him a lot of credit for saying flat-out that he was wrong about Iraq, and right now I trust him more than Hillary or Obama because I think he’s been more direct and more courageous. However, if at a certain point it comes down to Hillary versus an anybody-but-Hillary candidate, then I’ll be in the ABH camp, and I’ll gladly support Obama if it’s down to him and Hillary by the time of the Illinois primary. If Hillary gets the nomination, I’ll vote for her, but I hold little hope for her actually winning.

    I think Gore’s doing some good things these days, and has said some smart and direct things in the last few years, and I wish he had been so smart and direct in 2000. But as I’ve said in other threads, I think he may be do more good when he’s out of office than in it.

    Thanks for all your wonderful comments on the blog, and I’m thrilled to have you as a reader!

  • Ocelopotamus

    Aaron, you’re right — the stampede of small mammals fleeing the sinking ship is very telling.

  • FScott

    Bush approval rating at or probably below by now 26% and congress coming in the mid teens is reflection of the dissatisfaction of the political system as a whole. For me it is a combination of the elitist, entitlement attitude of those elected and the entrenchment of the party platform that covers everything like an old wet, woolen blanket putting out any flicker of individual though. It is Political, political correctness gone amok.

    The later can be seen in every “along party lines” vote and in the campaign rhetoric as the candidates side step every controversial / polarizing issue with a sound bite. Of course, the general public would not want to sit and listen to a well though out opinion; this would take too long, require some thought, and interrupt the Paris Hilton coverage. Every personal opinion not directly aligned with their side is viewed as a break from the party as if someone was trying to leave the Mafia. News coverage is focused more on the split in the party than with any substance of the ideas. Maybe this has always been the case, I am not a political historian, but it seems more and more prevalent. It is if we need a nice little placard to put on someone.

    “Oh, you are a republican.. Thank you for coming please stand over there.”
    “Mr. Democrat… yes, here is your sign please move to the other side of the room.”
    “Independent, hmm.. Don’t have a sign for that. No, I’m sorry you have to pick one of these. Can’t have people just standing in the middle of the room, (causes clutter you know.)”

    Heaven forbid we have a pro-life Democrat or a gay, fiscally conservative Republican; the world may in fact stop spinning and fall off of its slightly tilted axis. You may find such a creature now and then, but in most cases the party shuns them and keeps them hidden in the basement only to be displayed on rare occasions to show that the party is all encompassing.

    As for the elitist, entitlement mentality, this can be seen in every facet of the legislative and executive branch. The same laws and standards that we must live by do not apply to the elected in Washington. Want to leak or destroy classified material because it is good for you politically? Go right ahead. Need a security clearance even though you would never qualify for one due to prior convictions? Sure, no problem. Increase your staff size, budget, or take your family along with you on junkets on the tax payer? Do we have a vote for you. I think it is the only job where you qualify for a pension after 4 or 5 years of work. There really is no organization that can oversee or even have the insight to inform the voters on how their government is being run.

    Most recently, and I am sure Dave will have an article on this soon, was the Vice Present claiming he did not have to follow an executive order because he was not part of the executive branch. Unfathomable, how out of touch these people are.

    Lastly, but just as telling commentary on the current society, even though the approval ratings are lower than the Dead Sea, most of these yahoos will get reelected. If I go to a restaurant more than once and it has bad food, I stop going; leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Ocelopotamus

    Yes, this latest “fourth branch” declaration from Cheney is bizarre and frightening, and yet not unpredictable for an administration that has repeatedly asserted that it’s above the law, and uses “signing statements” to openly signal its intention to disobey any law it doesn’t like.

    But remember, it’s only grounds for impeachment if you have an extramarital affair. And get caught.