Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Bush's Approval Rating -- and What Went Wrong in 2004
As I've said before, I refuse to concede the possibility that George W. Bush did not get re-elected fairly. Discrepancies with the exit polls, the well-known chicanery with the Ohio Secretary of State, and the prevalence of Diebold machines makes it far too difficult to believe that he received every vote honestly. After all, Bush and Cheney already proved that they were not beneath stealing one election -- you gotta think they at least tried to steal this one.
But if we assume the 2004 election was not stolen, it is really difficult to reconcile Bush's abysmal approval ratings less than a year later. Survey USA has a new poll out that shows his approval ratings at 38% -- with 59% who disapprove. In all but the 12 most conservative states, he has a greater than 50% disapproval rating. Even in Texas for chrissakes, only 42% approve and 54% disapprove. With all the damage that this Worst President that Our Country Has Ever Had has caused and will cause, it is absolutely infuriating to look at how unpopular he is now -- and short of impeachment, we are stuck with this bastard for the next three years!!
Back in October 2004, Bush's approval ratings were at 51%-- which happens to be the exact percentage of the popular vote that he received. In other words, if we believe the polls and what happened on Election Day, absolutely everyone who approved of him at the time voted for him. Of course, there were also some who disapproved of Bush but still voted for him anyway -- out of fear (perhaps), or that Kerry was a terrible candidate.
On the day after the Election, Randy Shaw wrote a piece for Beyond Chron, called "We Are Outnumbered," which was positively the most depressing article that I have ever read in my entire life. In the article, he took issue wiht those who criticized John Kerry as a weak candidate ...
How anyone can disparage a presidential candidate who galvanized the Party’s base as never before is beyond me.
But the fact that the Party's base was "galvanized like never before" had nothing to do with John Kerry. As far as I'm concerned, we could have had a frying pan run against George W. Bush, and I would have still voted for it and enthusiastically campaigned for it. The very fact that somebody was running against Bush was enough reason for me to support whoever that was. Would thousands of liberal activist have taken time out of their busy schedules and campaigned in the swing states if John Edwards had been the nominee? Sure. Dick Gephardt? Why not? Wesley Clark? Of course! Howard Dean? Absolutely.
The facts to explain why George Bush should be defeated were all there, and then some -- and that was good enough for 49% of the electorate. What wasn't there was Kerry's argument for why he -- as opposed to anyone else -- should become our Next President.
On gay marriage: Bush wanted a constitutional amendment to enshrine bigotry, and Kerry was "against gay marriage" but didn't think we should change the constitution.
On Iraq: Even after it was proven that the Weapons of Mass Destruction didn't exist and the Administration had lied to us to justify an illegal, idiotic and criminally insane War, Kerry replied that he would have still nevertheless (with 20/20 hindsight) voted to authorize the invasion.
Which raises the general problem Democrats have had for a very, very long time: When was the last time that our presidential nominee actually inspired you -- and gave you a reason to believe?? Kerry didn't excite me. Neither did Gore. Clinton got re-elected in 1996 by absolutely betraying and selling out everything that the Democratic Party believed in (for that reason alone, Dick Morris should rot in hell). Clinton was exciting in 1992, but even then we all knew he was a "New Democrat" and we were all sick and tired of losing to Republicans so we gave him a pass. Dukakis? Mondale? Carter?
Phrases like "we are outnumbered" and "we are a conservative country" are designed to keep us down and depressed, and resigned to the "fact" that supporting conservative Democrats is our only hope to preventing the worse wreckage of a Nixon, Reagan or Bush II. But by continuously moving to the right, and allowing Republicans to frame the debate, we only allow political discourse to move further to the right. If Democrats actually learned to stand for something and were not afraid to take risks every once in a while, maybe we could drive public opinion, rather than let ourselves be driven by it.
Think about it: In 1964, the Republicans suffered a crushing defeat with their nominee, Barry Goldwater. Were they undaunted?? No. They continuously pushed their agenda and by 1980, a full-fledged Goldwater Republican was elected President.
In contrast, what did the Democrats do after 1972 -- when George McGovern lost by a landslide? They felt that it was "too much," "too risky," "too liberal," and proceeded the next 30-plus years running mediocre candidates who do nothing to help build a progressive movement in this country and take it back from these right-wing lunatics.
As Jim Hightower once said, it seems that lately we lose when we lose -- but we also lose when we win. And I, for one, am sick of this crap!
I cannot find your email address on this page. Send it to me. Saheli AT Gmail DOT Com.
I have LOTS of comments to make on your blog, but first I'd like to catch up. ;-)
--Saheli (Rupa) from college