Tuesday | April 15, 2003
Bush's favorability ratings
So Bush "won" the war. At least that's the spin from the White House and its allied Mighty Wurlitzer.
The last time a Bush won a war against Iraq, his approval ratings were in the 90s. This time, Bush can barely break the 70s. CBS has him at 73. NBC at 71. Newsweek at 71. Fox at 71. ABC is the most generous to Bush at 77.
So what's going on? To hear the media talk, this was a crushing, easy, absolute, unconditional, bloodless victory. We're told, over and over again, that they're cheering us on the streets of Baghdad. We're told order is being restored. We're repeatedly told we found WMDs, quietly retracting all such statements days later.
So, what's going on? Why aren't Bush's numbers higher than common sense might dictate?
The economy is one obvious reason. Bush's obsession with tax cuts has almost become a self-parody, and with the massive deficits Bush has inflicted on us, it can't be helping his image. The lack of accomplishments by the current Congress, despite universal GOP control, will come back and haunt the Republicans. Losing control of both houses may have been the best thing to happen to Democrats since 1996. They can no longer blame Democrats for anything.
But given the current national obsession with National Security issues, I can't believe Bush's relatively low numbers can be blamed solely on the nation's poor domestic situation.
I wonder how much of the public really felt this war was necessary, that it was worth the sacrifice of so many of our young warriors and innocent civilians, that Bush was upfront and honest on his reasons for war, and that peace and security is now, in reality, at hand.
And how many people are uneasy at a president who appears addicted to war, laying the now-all-familiar groundwork for military action against yet another foe -- Syria. Say what you will about the American people, we are not a war-mongering people.
While I never thought Bush's approval ratings would reach 9-11 heights, I did think his "war boost" would surpass a measly 15 points.Posted April 15, 2003 03:52 PM | Comments (74)