Tuesday | September 30, 2003
Novak: arrogance at WH diminishing
The Prince of Darkness trains his guns on the White House and its increasing disarray:
Last week's Gallup Poll putting Bush's approval rating at 50 percent and showing him trailing Wesley Clark and John Kerry in trial heats is dismissed by the president's managers as the dreaded third-year presidential syndrome that was overcome by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan with fourth-year landslides. However, those poll numbers take on new meaning in light of Bush's altered 2004 outlook. Replacing the old mantra that there is no way for Bush to lose, panicky Republicans studying the electoral map wonder whether there is any way that they can win.
Dramatic deterioration in the outlook over the last two weeks is reflected in the experience by a Republican businessman in Milwaukee trying to sell $2,000 tickets for Bush's only appearance this year in Wisconsin Oct. 3. In contrast to money flowing easily into the Bush war chest everywhere until now, he encountered stiff resistance. Well-heeled conservative businessmen offered to write a check for $100 or $200, but not $2,000. They gave one reason: Iraq [...]
Another domestic issue is continuing loss of industrial jobs, and that does not ease Republican anxiety. It causes hard analysis of electoral maps that poses difficult questions. Is it realistic to think about Bush winning big industrial belt states won by Al Gore in 2000 -- Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania? How good are chances for Bush to win West Virginia for a second straight time? Would Missouri slip to the Democrats if Richard Gephardt is on the ticket?
No wonder the arrogance quotient at the White House is diminishing. Reporters regularly on that beat say they have been getting their telephone calls returned the last two weeks.
Republicans have plenty of reasons to panic. The electoral math looks good for Democrats.
Posted September 30, 2003 10:17 AM | Comments (93)