June 15, 2006

Fred Barnes Redux

My boy, Fred Barnes, has a fantastic column over at the Weekly Standard where he highlights the reasons behind Bush's newest polling numbers! (Bush is close to breaking the 40% approval ratings level, his ratings have catapulted from 32 to 38%.)My favorite part of the column is that Barnes plays every reason for Bush's demise as a simple bad luck:

The Bush decline in 2005 and 2006 was caused, in part, by intensified terrorist attacks in Iraq, the failure of his Social Security reform initiative, and bad luck in the form of hurricane Katrina and the Dubai ports deal. The president's approval rating in the Gallup Poll plummeted from 51 percent on the day of his second inauguration to 31 percent in May, 16 months later.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that is the worst assessment of Bush's second term I have yet to read. Perhaps you could add into that the following: the handling of the entire War in Iraq, the indictment of his Vice President's Chief of Staff, the deficit that is spiraling out of control, and I am sure more that I could come up with if I thought about it for another ten minutes. But these problems aren’t bad luck like the examples Barnes provides (which weren’t simple bad luck). They are all symptoms of a bigger problem that has always plagued the Bush White House. The only reason Bush ever became popular was 9/11. Without it Bush would be nothing but a stubborn ideologue on the nation's most divisive social issues (abortion, religion, marriage, etc.). But when he isn’t giving us all moral imperatives he is a slimy politician, willing to take any policy stance to temporarily boost his approval ratings (the budget, immigration, Medicare, etc.). Given that there is no war on Terror to make people forget this simple fact (and only a debacle of a war in Iraq to remind people of his administration’s incompetence), I'm not holding my breath for any Bush comeback.