Mudcat Café message #1664970 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1664970
Posted By: Amos
09-Feb-06 - 12:16 AM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From an interesting rising rag called the New York Observer

Bush Flickers Out, Republicans Face Mass Hibernation

By Chris Lehmann

History and polling are two things the Bush administration professes to scorn. But as the 2006 elections speed toward us, both appear to be overtaking the Republican Party, and the Republicans are hardly in position to take on more bad news.

Just before last week's vote designating John A. Boehner as House Majority Leader, the Club for Growth—one of the Hill's biggest low-tax, pro-business political-action committees—released an opinion survey covering 20 key House races.

The survey supplies an advance view of what it could take for Democrats to turn around their present 30-vote deficit in the House. Fourteen of the races involve Republican incumbents facing tough re-election fights, five are open seats, and one is an open district—the one formerly belonging to the stunningly corrupt, indicted and since-departed House member Randy (Duke) Cunningham.

Now President Bush's terse verdict on the political past—"History. We don't know. We'll all be dead"—is looking just a little too vivid for G.O.P. candidates and consultants trying to avoid becoming history themselves.

"If you would have said a year ago that you'd be looking at the Republican House majority being potentially in play, no one would have believed it," said University of Texas historian Lewis Gould, author of histories of the Republican Party and the Senate. "The thing is that animus against Bush is like a beating heart. For whatever it's worth, back in November and December, when I was doing publicity for my book on the Senate, my publisher had me doing these radio call-in shows from all over the country. And people were just throbbing with indignation at Congress. And this wasn't about corruption, though that was part of it. There was this sense of Congress's complete out-of-touchness. In places like Ohio and Oregon, I was getting this hysteria, this animosity about things like the Medicare-reform implementation."

Which is where the leaden sense of historical recognition comes in. "It was amazing," Mr. Gould said. "It took me back to the end of his father's terms, in the fall of '92. It was just clear that that administration had run out of gas. It was to the point where you couldn't even imagine what a second George H.W. Bush agenda could have been."

This was all, mind you, a good two months before Jack Abramoff's ominous plea-bargain. Poll numbers in the wake of that fateful black-garbed performance reinforce the impressions that Mr. Gould picked up through his unscientific headphone sample. National polls show President Bush still mired in 40-percent-approval territory; "right-track/wrong-track" figures—far more telling in an off-year election—are breaking about 65 to 35 against the status quo.

And the Club poll found that in those 20 more vulnerable races, the right-track/wrong-tack tally was worse than in national polls, with a scant 29 percent of respondents giving the Republicans a warm nod of encouragement.

Republican Congress members—the incumbents in most of these contests, who are supposed to enjoy every gerrymandered advantage that Tom DeLay and company could engineer for them out of the U.S. Census—polled a dismal 35 percent in their approval rating. This is so dismal, in fact, as to place them in the company of the Democrats, at 34 percent.

A whopping 80 percent described present Congressional ethics questions as either "serious" (50 percent) or "scandalous" (30 percent). (...)