Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Caveat Emptor

Let the buyer beware, as they say in Rome.

So 35% is pretty effin bad - not as bad as Nixon, but pretty damn bad as far as approval ratings go.

Seems like just yesterday that mouth-breathing readers of cue cards around the country were talking about Bush's mandate. Now, even David Broder has called Bush out - President Pushover.

What has changed since he was reelected? One could say, Well, cronyism has been exposed in Katrina, and more humiliatingly, Miers; the war in Iraq ain't going so great despite mission being accomplished; the White House was involved in all kinds of shadiness leading up to the Iraq war - but what's changed? I mean, this was all there during the run up to November 2004. Granted, Kerry wasn't such a great candidate in retrospect - even Gore put up a better fight. But is any of this really new?

There's all this talk about Bush's "credibility gap," the decline of his treasured "credibility." What made him credible apart from him telling us he was credible? Why did anyone think he was credible? Because he promised to restore honor and integrity to the White House? Bang up job there. Because he said Jesus was his favorite philosopher? I don't see Bush showing much sign of internalizing the Sermon on the Mount.

I suppose we could say that, for whatever reason, the media (apart from Josh Marshall) have collectively strapped one on and started to ask actual questions; I'd be tempted to feel badly for Scott McClellan if he weren't such a contemptible yes-man with less backbone than your average earth worm.

Anyway, just an interesting question in my mind - is the new perception of Bush a reaction to specific events? Has there been a lurking tension there all along, one that has come to the fore due to his perceived weakness? Or were people not that confident in him to begin with, but saw not voting for him or not supporting him as harmful to our troops? (This was Josh Marshall's thesis at one point.)

What's striking, though, is that his numbers continue to plummet despite his best effort to try and control the news cycle - Miers backfired; Alito doesn't seem to be having much effect given Reid's maneuver, and he can't seem to get Libby and Rove out of the headlines, even when he does what he always does in time of trouble - try to polarize the country, stir up anger, and rally his base. It's remarkable that a president whose party controls both houses is in such dire political straits. Remarkable, and delicious.

A suggestion on how to get his approval ratings up: fire Rove. Anyone want to give me odds on this happening?
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