I'm sure it was just a coincidence that on the day that Barack Obama met with George W. Bush at the White House to discuss the transition to power, polls came out showing that Bush was leaving office more unpopular than Richard Nixon:
On the day that President-elect Barack Obama is visiting the White House, a new national poll suggests that the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the most unpopular president since approval ratings were first sought more than six decades ago.
Seventy-six percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday disapprove of how President Bush is handling his job.
That's an all-time high in CNN polling and in Gallup polling dating back to World War II.
What's remarkable about these numbers, though, is that they tell us large numbers of Republicans -- indeed, McCain voters -- are voicing disapproval of Bush's performance.
These fresh-born critics have essentially two options to explain away Bush without indicting themselves:
-- He was incompetent.
-- He wasn't conservative enough.
Often the critics will combine the two, but usually emphasize one or the other. And the current rift within conservative ranks revolves around one or the other. But there's a big hole in their rationale.
As we've pointed out repeatedly, the Great Repudiation last Tuesday was the product of voters rejecting movement conservatism -- both its governance and its politics.
The reasons George W. Bush is so unpopular is not merely that he was incompetent, but that he enacted so many policies, and as a result presided over so many disasters, that were a direct product of movement-conservative dogma. Ironically, it wasn't until they had proven disastrous that many of these Republicans suddenly realized he wasn't competent or conservative enough.
I guess you can't blame movement conservatives for their utter state of denial about the reasons for their repudiation. Yet it is satisfying to know that this denial will handicap them for the foreseeable future.