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The (Un)Popularity Contest    

democracy arsenal Why aren't Democrats making more of the fact that Bush's popularity recently fell to 45%, an all-time low? When I attended the inau
Why aren't Democrats making more of the fact that Bush's popularity recently fell to 45%, an all-time low?

When I attended the inaugural parade, I had the misfortune of seeing two junior high girls holding up front pages of theWashington Post with photos of the President with Hitler moustaches drawn in, and swastikas on his forehead.  The papers were captioned, "The Germans didn't see him coming, either."

Now, this was absurd, offensive, illogical, and a little disgusting.  It also showed how incredibly off-mark some Democrats are about Bush.  Hitler was a demagogue; he was, by definition, popular with the people.  Bush's signature trait, on the other hand, isn't his appeal to the people; it's his utter disregard for majority opinion -- whether on the Iraq War (56% now say it was the wrong choice), Social Security, or, generally, whether America should treat the world as a bully or as a leader.

We should beware of simplifying Bush, but what is I think the single most powerful premise of his Presidency -- post 9/11, when his millenarian, apocalyptic approach truly crystallized -- is found in a gem of an article by Dan Balz from last December about Pete Wehner, Bush's director of "Strategic Initiatives."

In the article, Balz quotes Wehner:  "'My view, as I read history, is that almost all consequential figures -- political figures -- are polarizing figures,' he said, because they are bold and tackle significant issues."

So, polarizing is good?  Read on:

"'You can't judge those things in real time,' Wehner said. 'You have to wait and let history make its judgment -- and reality take hold.'"

Washington Post with photos of the President with Hitler moustaches drawn in, and swastikas on his forehead. The papers were captioned, "The Germans didn't see him coming, either."

Now, this was absurd, offensive, illogical, and a little disgusting. It also showed how incredibly off-mark some Democrats are about Bush. Hitler was a demagogue; he was, by definition, popular with the people. Bush's signature trait, on the other hand, isn't his appeal to the people; it's his utter disregard for majority opinion -- whether on the Iraq War (56% now say it was the wrong choice), Social Security, or, generally, whether America should treat the world as a bully or as a leader.

We should beware of simplifying Bush, but what is I think the single most powerful premise of his Presidency -- post 9/11, when his millenarian, apocalyptic approach truly crystallized -- is found in a gem of an article by Dan Balz from last December about Pete Wehner, Bush's director of "Strategic Initiatives."

In the article, Balz quotes Wehner: "'My view, as I read history, is that almost all consequential figures -- political figures -- are polarizing figures,' he said, because they are bold and tackle significant issues."

So, polarizing is good? Read on:

"'You can't judge those things in real time,' Wehner said. 'You have to wait and let history make its judgment -- and reality take hold.'"

good -- they take it as a sign that they're doing the right (most historic, most faith-based) thing.  And Democrats, woozy at the wheel as always, have let the Administration craft a narrative of Bush-as-poll-ignorer. 

So Bush gets to do both things at once:  defy the people, and adopt the rhetoric of a profile in courage.

Approval ratings matter -- a lot.  Remember, Bill Clinton survived the impeachment trial in the Senate for one very important reason:  his approval rating never dropped below 60%.  The issue took on Constitutional dimensions; his attackers were trying to overturn an election.

Democrats need to wake up.  It's a very simple talking point:  the President is defying the will of the majority of the American people, again and again.  Not only is he not popular, he's not democratic.

We're the original populists -- so let's start talking about the people again.

 

That's encouraging     apostropher

Chalk up another one for faith-based governance.

Prewar claims by the United States that Iraq was producing biological weapons were based almost entirely on accounts from a defector who was described as "crazy" by his intelligence handlers and a "congenital liar" by his friends. The defector code-named "Curveball" spoke with alarming specificity about Iraq's alleged biological weapons programs and fleet of mobile labs. But postwar investigations found that he wasn't even in Iraq at times when he claimed to have taken part in illicit weapons work.In other words, this Administration thinks short-term unpopularity is good -- they take it as a sign that they're doing the right (most historic, most faith-based) thing. And Democrats, woozy at the wheel as always, have let the Administration craft a narrative of Bush-as-poll-ignorer.

So Bush gets to do both things at once: defy the people, and adopt the rhetoric of a profile in courage.

Approval ratings matter -- a lot. Remember, Bill Clinton survived the impeachment trial in the Senate for one very important reason: his approval rating never dropped below 60%. The issue took on Constitutional dimensions; his attackers were trying to overturn an election.

Democrats need to wake up. It's a very simple talking point: the President is defying the will of the majority of the American people, again and again. Not only is he not popular, he's not democratic.

We're the original populists -- so let's start talking about the people again.

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