Tuesday, December 28, 2004

How Democracy in the United States Works

Another poll that in a polity that actually encouraged a discussion of policy in its press would leave one truly scratching their head.

From the LA Times:

Despite a clear-cut reelection and the prospect of lasting GOP dominance in Congress, President Bush prepares to start his second term with the lowest approval ratings of any just-elected sitting president in half a century, according to new surveys.

Gee, I hate to get things off to a bad start with this article, but I contest the words "clear cut", and the words should be MORE than half a century. I hate to teach basic math to the LA Times, but half a century is 1954, that is Ike's first year...he was pretty damn popular. They are referring to Truman, in late 1948, that would be 56 years ago.

A Gallup survey conducted for CNN and USA Today puts Bush's approval rating at 49% — close to his preelection numbers. That's 10 to 20 points lower than every elected sitting president at this stage since just after World War II, according to Gallup, which has been tabulating such data since Harry S. Truman won a full term in 1948.

Bush's Gallup rating echoed a survey published last week by ABC News and the Washington Post, which put his approval rating at 48%. That poll also found that 56% of Americans believed the Iraq war was not worth fighting. Time magazine also put Bush's overall approval at 49%.

"The question is, what happened to the honeymoon?" asked Frank Newport, editor of the Gallup survey.

David Winston, a Republican pollster who advises the Senate leadership, said, "Communications up front is going to be as important as any task that they have at this point. There is a lot of important messaging that this administration is going to have to do in January and in February. It's taking the issues and the agenda and beginning to set it up in a way that the American public has a clear understanding of the direction he's going to go."

All this "gee whizzery, what's the deal?" ignores the self-evident fact of how the GOP gets themselves elected and reelected.

They played on peoples' base instinct of fear and resentment, the twin dopplegangers of a lazy and ignorant electorate. They won by playing those fears off the electorate and portraying Kerry, the decorated War Hero (as opposed to Bush, the man who found Canada via Texas) into a wuss.

There is not a single major policy achievement of the Bush Administration that has come to positive fruition -- but they sure sound good to those who lead with their lower brain fuctions of aggressiveness. What success have they had? Even their political victories are policy disasters.

I have no doubt that Bush will cruise along at this level of relative unpopularity for another couple years until November 2006, without reaching the meltdown point. The question is, my fellow Democrats and Progressives, how do we turn the tables and manage to overcome the "ID" of the electorate into a populace that faces up to the fact that they are being sold a bill of goods that rationality can reveal? If we do so, Bush will become a massive political liability and the GOP tossed out on their collective asses for a generation.

We obviously are not going to get any help from the mass media, as the Social Security debate is providing.

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