Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why is President Bush at 25%

Last week, I was talking to a cousin of mine. He mentioned that President Bush still has an approval rating of about 25%. It seemed to him that no matter what the President did he would always have this core of support. That might be an accurate statement. It does remind me of a story from the 1932 presidential election campaign. President Hoover was giving a speech. During the speech, he was being heckled. The heckler apparently only wanted the answer to one question. The question was:”Mr. President, why don’t you just vote for FDR and make it unanimous?”

O.K. so the current President is quite unpopular. That is not unusual. Very often 2nd term Presidents become unpopular, because as lame ducks they appear somewhat weak. Is that what is going on with this President? Is it just that time is not on his side? What were the promises candidate Bush ran on in 2000? Has he kept his promises or have they been swept away like so much election night confetti?

I would venture to say that is not any one factor, but many put together. The reason it looks so bad from the outside is that none of these factors are small. The daily news of this person or that person resigning is not helping either. Some of that is to be expected with the 2nd term. Let’s look at the last two lame-duck Presidents and see if the comparison brings some of this into perspective (see below).

Resignations of Executive Branch Employees

Convicted, or Indicted

Ronald Reagan (81-89) 32

Bill Clinton (93-01) 1

George W. Bush (01-) ??

If you look at the link above, as of December 2006 the Bush count is already at 9. This total is established well before the current rash of resignations.

In 2000, Bush repeated over and over again that he would restore honor and integrity to the White House. Even from the beginning there were definite actions taken by the administration that contradict this pledge. There are always exceptions to every rule. However, when you break this pledge over and over and over again then maybe it is not being followed. O.K. sometimes politicians have to renege on certain unrealistic promises, maybe this was one.

President Bush campaigned well in 2000. He succeeded in convincing many people he was a new kind of conservative. He was a compassionate conservative. Now, I never figured out what that meant, but it sure sounded good. He was marketed during that campaign as a very approachable man, someone you could have a beer with. There is a question that you can now pose. Did we ever really know what a compassionate conservative was? Is this an example of a compassionate conservative? Maybe this is a better example? O.K. sometimes politicians have to renege on certain unrealistic promises, maybe this was one.

Let’s take a look at one of President Bush’s stated goals. He wanted more health care for the children of America. He stated that he would get health coverage for millions of children through a 1 billion dollar outlay to expand two federal programs. He made this statement at the 2004 convention. He later withdrew the funds in the next year’s budget process. It might have been a contentious budget process. If one party has the White House and the other party has the Congress, then tradeoffs occur. But, wait the Republicans held both branches at this point. Maybe he was trying to keep the budget in balance well we know that wasn’t the case either. ? O.K. sometimes politicians have to renege on certain unrealistic promises, maybe this was one.

Bear with me I think I’m on to something. It appears that Bush has upset the moderates with his choices like those above. Well, what about his base. Christian conservatives appear angry at him as well. Whether it is their dislike of judicial nominees like Harriet Miers, or his apparent disdain for Christmas it appears that the conservative base for Bush is abandoning him. The remarkable number of scandals probably has also weakened his support with this group.

In this blog I’ve gone over numerous problems that this President faces. I’ve even ignored the elephant in the room. I write this as a fundraising letter from the Republican National Committee sits on my desk. If they are counting on me for fundraising it will be a difficult cycle for the Republicans.

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