Bush's popularity takes a beating


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rick_reno
June 19, 2005, 01:42 PM
I get ALL my news from Aljazeera. I know one thing, Bush is still number 1 (numero uno for our hard working Spanish speaking friends) with this American. He's the best thing to happen to this Nation since...well, a long time ago.

I googled “worst president” this morning – and the first hit was from our great leaders home http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html
I can't believe they're ranking GW Bush already...


http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/B94789A7-70FC-4D33-B0D7-21D4D688BF14.htm

Bush's popularity takes a beating
By Benjamin Duncan in Washington

Sunday 12 June 2005, 2:32 Makka Time, 23:32 GMT

Images of fallen US soldiers have hurt Bush's poll numbers

The day after his re-election victory, an energised and confident President Bush held a White House news conference to boast about the "political capital" he had earned from the campaign.

His tone underscored the administration's desire to pursue a politically ambitious second-term agenda, an elusive achievement for many past American presidents.

Just over five months into that second term, however, Bush job approval numbers continue to lag below the 50% barrier, a product of public dissatisfaction with the economy and mounting frustration over the violence in Iraq.

Less than half of the American public believes Bush is doing a good job in office, according to several recent polls taken by major news organizations, including a Pew Research survey that put his favourability rating at 43%.

Bush recently held a rare news conference during which he faced questions about a lame-duck presidency and dismissed any suggestion that he was losing political momentum.

"I don't worry about anything here in Washington, DC," Bush said.

Iraq policy criticised

While the economy remains the number one point of public malcontent, a wide range of polling data suggests that many voters want the president to spend more time addressing various foreign policy concerns, such as Iraq, and less time promoting his proposal for Social Security reform.

"I think right now the president is trying to focus on his Social Security plan and the general public just isn't buying it," said Nathan Gonzales, political editor for The Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan Washington newsletter.

American voters are frustrated there is no Iraq exit strategy

"Meanwhile, there are other problems overseas that Americans care more about," he told Aljazeera.net.

Americans are increasingly worried about the situation in Iraq following one of the deadliest months for American military forces so far this year.

At least 80 US troops were killed in May, the highest casualty toll since January, according to figures released by the Pentagon. In addition, statistics released by the Iraqi government show that at least 800 Iraqis were killed in May, compared to 485 in April.

More than 1698 US troops have died since the war began and the inability of US forces to quash the violence is "naturally going to increase negative perceptions," said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll.

Disapproving numbers

Roughly 55% of the public disapproves of the way Bush is handling Iraq, while 57% now believe the war was not worth fighting, according to the most recent CNN/USA Today/ Gallop poll.

In addition, 52% of Americans now believe military campaign in Iraq has not made the United States safer, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll.

"There's no question that people aren't excited about Iraq and they want to see some sort of resolution soon," Gonzales said.

Despite what one political analyst described as a "subtle shift" in public opinion over the legitimacy of the war, most experts agree that US troop levels are unlikely to decrease significantly in the near future.

While a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 53% of Americans would like to see a reduction in the US military presence, a majority of the country, including many Democrats, still believes the Bush administration must stay the course until some level of democratic stability is achieved in Iraq.

"Most of the Democratic Party would say, 'It wasn't all that smart to go into Iraq, but we still need to stay there and win this war,'" said Peter Singer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

Shared concerns

Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said there were some bipartisan feelings beginning to emerge over the administration's handling of Iraq.

Concern over the Iraq strategy is becoming increasingly bipartisan

"Democrats and Republicans alike remain united behind our men and women in uniform," Earnest told Aljazeera.net. "Yet Democrats and Republicans alike share some pretty strong concerns about the situation there."

The Republican National Committee did not return phone calls for this story.

A majority of American voters remain deeply split along partisan lines, with Republicans more willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iraq and other seminal issues.

Jonathan Pryor, a lifelong Republican from Bethesda, Maryland, said he supported the war in Iraq and continues to back the president despite whatever setbacks may have occurred.

"I think President Bush has done everything he can to protect America from terrorists," Pryor said. "He has shown the ability to be a strong leader in times of crisis and I still believe the United States is better off with Saddam Hussein in prison."

No exit strategy

Many Democrats, however, say Bush has failed to outline a definitive exit strategy, something they would like to see in the near future.

"This president lied to us about why we went into Iraq and now he can’t tell us how long we are going to be there and how many more American lives will be lost," said Chris Hammond, a Democrat from Washington.

As far as the political impact of Bush's approval ratings, Newport said it was still too early to predict whether the president’s current numbers could hinder Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections.

"Public opinion of the president’s job performance is historically very changeable," he said.

Nevertheless, Earnest said recent polls could be a harbinger of things to come in next year’s congressional showdown.

"You're going to find that Republican members of Congress who are running for re-election in 2006 are going to be saddled with an unpopular president," he said.

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Silver Bullet
June 19, 2005, 01:47 PM
I have no regrets, considering the alternative was Kerry.

Biker
June 19, 2005, 01:56 PM
If by alternatives you mean choices, there were others.
Biker

BenW
June 19, 2005, 02:06 PM
Not that I'm thrilled with Bush's current stand on illegal immigration, but Fred Barnes makes a good point regarding polls and popularity.

---------------------------------------

THE SECOND TERM
Popularity Isn't Everything
Bush's polls are down. That may be good news for him.

BY FRED BARNES
Saturday, June 18, 2005 12:01 a.m.

To understand why President Bush is relatively unpopular, one only has to look to the case of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. After his election in November 2003, Mr. Schwarzenegger experienced a political honeymoon. He governed mostly by compromise and without pushing for sweeping change. And his popularity, measured by how people feel about his performance as governor, soared. That lasted for more than a year. Now Mr. Schwarzenegger has gotten serious. He's called for a special election to limit government spending permanently, curb teacher tenure, and take redistricting out of the hands of the legislature, which is controlled by Democrats. His popularity has plummeted.

Mr. Bush's popularity dropped in 2003 after the terrorist insurgency spread in Iraq. And except for a blip or two, it hasn't risen significantly since, even after his effective campaigning last fall, his reelection, and his dazzling inaugural address. Instead, his job performance rating in the Gallup Poll has dipped further--from 52% in January to 47% now.

Mr. Bush doesn't have the second-term blues, his administration hasn't lost its zeal, and he hasn't been troubled by scandal or the lack of a clear policy agenda. Nor is he suffering solely from his single-minded pursuit of Social Security reform. Like Mr. Schwarzenegger, the president has taken on a string of big issues--Iraq, a drastic foreign-policy overhaul, judges, plus Social Security--with predictable results. These are issues that generate political conflict. They upset settled practice, rile various institutions, stir strong opposition, and keep poll ratings low. For an activist president, lack of popularity is part of the package.

It's sad but true that our political system, assuming the economy is not in the tank, rewards presidents (and sometimes governors) for doing little. President Clinton benefited from this. His second term was largely unproductive. He balked at Social Security or Medicare reform. The war he fought in the Balkans consisted of bombs dropped from such high altitudes that American warplanes faced minimal risk. He refused to consider sending ground troops. The result: no American casualties. He did nothing to ease the stock-market bubble or deal with the looming recession. He got along with France.

Mr. Clinton's poll numbers remained at lofty levels and still do today. His job-performance rating averaged above 60% in his second term. During the week in which the House of Representatives voted to impeach him, his rating was 73%, the highest of his presidency. In hindsight, more than 60% of adult Americans still regard his presidency as a success. Asked recently if they favored a third term for Mr. Clinton, 43% of voters said yes. Only 27% said they wished Mr. Bush would serve another term.

President Reagan, while hardly as unproductive as Mr. Clinton in his second term, also profited a bit from the do-little syndrome. His approval rating in June 1985 was 58%, well above Mr. Bush's today. True, he achieved tax reform, but that was at a time when leading Democrats were on board. And he got along famously with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, all the while marching toward victory in the Cold War. But Reagan had quickly abandoned Social Security reform when the Senate frowned on it and declined to fight for serious spending cuts. Had he pursued those issues in his second term, his popularity would no doubt have sagged.

On Capitol Hill today, Democrats have scarcely disguised their lack of an agenda and unswerving opposition to Mr. Bush's. But neither has caused them political pain. The public wants Washington to take up Social Security and make the system solvent. But Democrats haven't suffered for refusing to do either or failing to offer an alternative to Mr. Bush's reform plan. Instead, they've gained in polls measuring party preference and gauging whom voters prefer to run Congress.

Mr. Bush this week attacked Democrats for adopting "the philosophy of the stop sign, the agenda of the roadblock, and our country and our children deserve better." He declared that political parties "that choose the path of obstruction will not gain the trust of the American people." In the long run, Mr. Bush may be right. In the short run, not necessarily.

In crass political terms, you might say Mr. Bush is "stuck" with an agenda and a far-reaching one at that. In Iraq, his goal is to create a stable democracy, something that has never before been established in the Arab world. And he has been unflinching in the face of more than 1,700 American military casualties and growing public unease. "Nationally, it hurts us every day a soldier dies," a Republican congressman who supports Mr. Bush said.

The president's bold foreign policy has caused trouble in unexpected places. Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio cited anti-Americanism in Europe and elsewhere as one of his reasons for opposing the nomination of John Bolton as Mr. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations. Sen. Mel Martinez, (R., Fla.), whom the White House handpicked to run last fall, called last week for Mr. Bush to close down the prison for terrorists at Guantanamo in Cuba. And Mr. Bush's crusade for democracy as the top priority in foreign affairs has drawn few cheers from outside the ranks of political dissidents around the world.

Voters are notorious for despising political warfare. They made an exception in Mr. Clinton's case, absolving him from blame for the impeachment battle. But Mr. Bush's effort to change the ideological balance of the federal judiciary has created a furor. Reagan also tried to move the judiciary to the right, but Mr. Bush has gone about it in a more determined and sustained manner, provoking stronger opposition and a bigger struggle than Reagan did.

And then there's Social Security reform. Mr. Bush has bravely gone ahead on this issue in spite of qualms by Republicans in Congress and against a lesson offered in "A Charge To Keep," his own 1999 autobiography, "It's hard to win votes for massive reform unless there is a crisis," he wrote. An addendum to that lesson might be: But if you go ahead anyway, you're sure to face massive opposition. Mr. Bush has.

For Mr. Schwarzenegger, there's an outlet for dealing with his proposals. He's chosen to put them up to a vote of Californians in a referendum this November. Mr. Bush's only outlet is Congress and that's chiefly for domestic issues. His best strategy may be to promote his policies more aggressively than ever, ignore falling poll numbers, and hope for the best. Crossing the finish line of his presidency with record low popularity may turn out to be a sign of substantive achievement and lasting reform.

Mr. Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard. His book on President Bush, "Rebel-in-Chief," will be published by Crown Forum next year.

Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MechAg94
June 19, 2005, 02:09 PM
Yes, there were certainly no other choices worth considering.

I think Bush already has the left wingers mad at him and has upset a lot of conservatives with his seeming inaction on the border issue among others. Conservatives are very good and energetic at criticizing their own when they screw up.

rock jock
June 19, 2005, 02:19 PM
If by alternatives you mean choices, there were others. Not if we limit the field to folks who actually had a chance to win.

Jeff Timm
June 19, 2005, 02:32 PM
Gee, after all the pounding by the "Progressive" party and their media front a media sponsored poll (no questions revealled) shows "popularity down."

Humm I wonder why?

Geoff
Who is less and less respectful of the Democrats. :banghead:

Biker
June 19, 2005, 02:35 PM
rock jock
There are only two choices because that's the choice *we* made. If we abandon the herd mentality we've adopted, changes, for good or ill, can be made.
Biker

Rebar
June 19, 2005, 02:41 PM
There are only two choices because that's the choice *we* made. If we abandon the herd mentality we've adopted, changes, for good or ill, can be made.
It's not up to us to validate the sheer incompetence and rediculous tilting-at-windmills of third parties. If a party cannot even get a STATE rep or senator elected, they have no business running a presidential candidate.

Hell, even the socialists can get someone into the US house. If the libertarians or the consitutional party ever want to be taken seriously, they need to at least match that.

Vernal45
June 19, 2005, 03:06 PM
Libertarians and consitutional parties need to start small, state elections, maybe a congressional seat at first. There is NO way, a 3rd party will win the oval office in this day and time. You want to see republicans and democrats work together, run a viable 3rd party person, he wont win.

2nd Amendment
June 19, 2005, 03:19 PM
There are only two choices, biker, because no Third Party has put a serious effort into making a legitimate push for power in DC. They can't just trot out someone and say "We're runnin' fer Pres". You have to build grass-roots support and an infrastructure and that takes YEARS of commitment. SO far nobody has been willing and, thus, there were only two choices no matter what we the voters might have been willing to do.

As for Shrub's popularity, it matters only in regards to how it strengthens or weakens the candidates in 2008. Shrubby has served his purpose already.

Biker
June 19, 2005, 03:45 PM
Fact is, Folks, I just about always voted Repub (Perot being the exception) up until last election. Although I voted for Bush the first time, thanks to his immigration policies, the war in Iraq, and moby spending practices, I went third party and let my state reps know why. They are paying attention.
I officially left the Republican party and feel pretty good about it in retrospect.
From now on, my vote goes to where *I* feel it should go, not according to any particular party, and if that means that it is a 'punishment' vote, so be it.
The only wasted vote is one that isn't cast.
Biker

R.H. Lee
June 19, 2005, 04:05 PM
I'm not impressed. He's a just another big government liberal IMO. Between his failure to protect our borders, and the war in Iraq (where he can't seem to prevail over a third rate 'insurgency', mainly because he doesn't have the will to do what needs to be done), he's digging his own political grave. Not to mention setting us up for big Democratic (sic) victories in the future.

And I voted for him twice.

Silver Bullet
June 19, 2005, 04:29 PM
The only wasted vote is one that isn't cast.
I agree with this.

Brett Bellmore
June 19, 2005, 04:39 PM
Bush recently held a rare news conference

Well, there you go. Anybody's popularity is going to plummet, when they're being relentlessly attacked, and they don't bother to defend themselves. If there's one thing the Democrats understand, it's that a relentless, unending drumbeat of attacks on an idea or person eventually has it's effects, no matter how popular they start out. If they're not countered, that is. And Bush puts zip worth of effort into defending what he does.

I don't know, maybe he privately thinks it's indefensible? You kind of get that impression, the way he doesn't try to defend it.

2nd Amendment

There are only two choices, biker, because no Third Party has put a serious effort into making a legitimate push for power in DC. They can't just trot out someone and say "We're runnin' fer Pres". You have to build grass-roots support and an infrastructure and that takes YEARS of commitment. SO far nobody has been willing and, thus, there were only two choices no matter what we the voters might have been willing to do.

Thus speaks somebody who hasn't a clue. The game is rigged, 2nd. A "legitimate push" doesn't mean squat. Third parties have to mount huge signature drives just to get onto the ballot, major parties just file a paper, and if they forget to file it, the requirement is waived.

Even Perot wasn't able to legitimately get on the ballot in all the states, spending money like water.

It's like making everybody but the two most experienced runners in a marathon run 10 Km just to reach the starting line, and then mocking them for their poor performance in the race.

Then there are all these campaign "reform" laws, written with handicapping third parties in mind. Official "Bipartisan" debate commissions. Democratic and Republican editors deciding who "deserves" to get covered. You work 'till you're ready to drop, and the local paper doesn't even include your candidates in their ballot guide.

And if by some freak of effort and accident, you DO win, they rig the count, and ignore your evidence that it was rigged. I've seen that, too.

Hell, on election night, they subtract the third party votes before reporting the vote totals, just so that it doesn't "look funny" if the percentages don't add up to 100% :banghead: It's weeks after the election before we finally find out how we did, because on election night they only bother counting votes for Democrats and Republicans! And then get around to everybody else when they can find the time without paying overtime...

That's why I don't participate in the LP anymore. I figured we had maybe a 10 year window, where if we grew like mad we might just barely get too big to suppress before the major parties woke to the threat, and started passing laws to block us.

We didn't grow fast enough, they passed the laws, and third parties are now a fool's game. It's illegal for them to be successful. Not openly, of course, but as a practical matter.

Serious effort? Don't make me laugh.

2nd Amendment
June 19, 2005, 05:03 PM
The game is weighted, not rigged. If we accept that the game is actually rigged then it is literally time to quit the ballot box and get out the bullet box. That's not hyperbole, it's literal fact. The election process is the only nonviolent source of change we have and if, as you say, it is completely pointless(and that is what you are saying), then the question of "when" is answered.

When did the LP make a serious push? They never made any effort to build at the local level. They encouraged some folks to run locally, then they started fielding national level candidates. 10 years? Sounds about right to build at the city and county level in about 20 states then go for state offices, then another 5 years or so to use those state offices to gain the clout to go for the House and Senate and thus alter laws limiting Third Parties. But like I said, everybody seems to want the brass ring and isn't willing to build to achieve it.

Having been involved in politics for a very long time now I do have a clue. OTOH it appears you don't have much experience with what it takes to actually win.

lostone1413
June 19, 2005, 05:11 PM
I voted for GWB but from what I see i'd stay home if had to do it again.
1- He wants you to think it is a war against terrorism in Iraq instead of control of the oil. Who in their right mind would go over to Iraq to fight a war against the terrorist and not care about 4 thousand people a day just walking into the country?
2- With the Patriot Act we under GWB have seen nothing other then are freedoms going out the window.
3-As far as gun owners go name one bill he has pushed for us. He is no friend of are freedoms from the way I see it.
I for one regard both parties as traitors. When the next 911 comes and it will How will you look at the leaders in DC in both parties if you learn they just walked into the country? GWB could put the troops on the border he could push bills to make sure the Bill Of Rights are enforced. You tell me what he has done. Even in Guns and Ammo July edition In the Second Amendment article They tried to get ahold of the White House Press Office about the right to carry in National Parks and some of the Anti Gun talk that comes out of the agency. The press office didn't even return their calls As John Rabb said at the end "Sometimes silence speaks volumes" We are at the point were the Elite control both parties. Neither care about the wishes of the common man. What you want to bet GWB pushes the bill for free trade with central America.

Brett Bellmore
June 19, 2005, 05:14 PM
They made a serious push back with Ron Paul.

Look, you can't build incrementally from the bottom anymore. It's the ballot access laws, it always comes down to them: If you don't do reasonably well at the top of the ballot, your local candidates won't be permitted onto the ballot in the next election.

Yeah, I do know what it takes to win: In a country where the Democrats and Republicans write the election laws, it takes being a Democrat or a Republican. And the difference between "weighted" and "rigged" is academic, when the weighting is adjusted from one election to the next to make sure it's sufficient.

lostone1413
June 19, 2005, 06:39 PM
Think Ron Paul is one of the few i'd bother to vote for. I can't see how anyone can think someone is a good leader who wants to destroy our freedoms. I don't care what party they are in treason is treason

ceetee
June 19, 2005, 07:16 PM
"Weighted" or "rigged"...

Say it how you will, free elections are a thing of the past. In the 2000 election, blatant experiences of fraud and disenfranchisement were reported on, and forgotten. In the 2004 election, our votes disappeared into little black boxes that were entirely open to hacking. Every effort was made to insure that the actual votes cast could never be counted. The only votes counted were those reported by the little black boxes. In those areas where actual vote counting was possible, it was made illegal by the ruling monarchy.

I see no way for this country to return again to having "free" elections, wherein the will of the people is actually known, and regarded as law.

2nd Amendment
June 19, 2005, 07:33 PM
Then "when is it time for the revolution" is a question you folks feel is answered, and the time is now. Correct? Or are you saying we all just need to give up? Pretty much has to be one or the other.

jefnvk
June 19, 2005, 09:00 PM
There are no other alternatives at this point. Pick R or D, a third party ain't gonna win. The only chance of that, is if someone popular fails to get a nomination from their party, and runs on their own. In which case, you are still essentially picking R or D.

As for rigged elections, everyone cheats. It has been going on since the first elections. Any accusation that one side cheated, is probably because the winning side cheated better than the losing side.

As for war for oil, how come it is so much, if this was all about cheap oil? I believe that those claiming it is a way for the US to set up a presence in the mid east have more believeability than those claiming it is for oil.

As for one side throwing rights out the window, both sides do it. You simply have to choose what ones you want thrown out first.

As for returning to where elections reflect the will of the people, kinda hard to do that when people vote based on how good one candidate looks. You need to get people back to believing that they are the government, that they control it, that it is not a group of secret peop;lesomewhere that is in charge.

dave3006
June 19, 2005, 10:05 PM
You have a choice

R- You get kicked in the head
D- You get kicked in the nuts.

Yippee. I love democracy (mob rule). I wish we had something like a "constitution" that guarranteed rights to minority groups or limited the role of gov't. Gosh, if only the founding fathers would have thought of that...

rick_reno
June 19, 2005, 10:10 PM
The choice is easy for this American - I'm going to keep voting for Bush even after he leaves office. I'll write him in.

Rebar
June 19, 2005, 10:39 PM
Although I voted for Bush the first time, thanks to his immigration policies, the war in Iraq, and moby spending practices, I went third party and let my state reps know why.
Who'd you vote for? Badnarik? Let me clue you in on something if you did: the libertarians are all about completely open borders.

And I doubt very much your state rep gives a damn who you threw away your vote for. Hell, 90+% of people can't even name their state rep or senator, and most run without opposition. My state rep hasn't had an opponent since I started living here 10+ years ago.

A competent 3rd party would find a state amenable to their philosophy, like say New Hampshire for the libertarians, and really concentrate on getting people in the legislature and executive positions, with the eventual goal of majority party status, electing US reps and senators, and getting the governorship. Once you have a governor, then you can run them as a viable presidential candidate.

Too bad no 3rd party has the smarts, the disipline, and the stamina to do it the right way. They'd rather throw money, time, and effort out the window on absurd presidential bids every four years, then complain that no one takes them seriously.

taliv
June 19, 2005, 10:42 PM
the Constitution Party is focused on local elections. i'm not sure i'd go so far as to call them 'competent' but they're giving it a go, and they're pro-gun.

Selfdfenz
June 19, 2005, 10:56 PM
they also want something done about our wide open borders

S-

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