Friday, September 14, 2007

Combating The Bush Iraq Policy Is Popular Meme

Turn on the television news or the radio and chances are you are going to hear them talking about how good a week this has been for the President, and how his leadership on the war is benefiting from a bump in public approval.

This meme is only true if you look at the numbers going back over a very short period of time. Considering the numbers over the last year or even further actually gives a far different impression than that being forwarded by the targets of the media surge.

Here is a link (PDF) to the poll which is generating the good news for the President. Bush's handling of Iraq has bumped to 30%... which is up compared to every month since last fall. What actually has happened is that Bush's war leadership approval took a tremendous hit because of the surge.

The ultimate proof of this is looking at the numbers from before last years election. All the numbers from 2005 through to the election in 2006 show approval ratings in the mid to upper 30's. Yet with approval at those levels the nation still swept Republicans from power in Congress, due in large measure to the war in Iraq.

So the President's already disastrously low marks for leadership in the war completely plummeted during the surge. The current uptick does not bring his approval to the level which led to electoral disaster last year, but somehow this "bump" is being trumpeted as some kind of grand success for the President leadership in the war. Up is down and black is white.

The current conventional wisdom is that Democrats will buckle under with the coming vote and give the President what he wants. Evidently the best we can hope for is a toothless bill with hoped for timelines if everything falls into place.

This must be the only time in the history of democracy or republicanism that an issue which so strongly favored one side of a political divide was presumed to be a winner for the other side of that divide. Why aren't Democrats just salivating to get to the vote, get to the veto, and get the Republicans on record on this? Then repeat the cycle over and over until the Republican bloc crumbles under the pressure of public opinion and the looming 08 elections. Democrats might need 60 votes to get their bill passed, but Republicans need 50 votes to continue the debacle, and they don't have those votes unless Democrats go along. All Democrats need to remember is that the numbers on the Presidents leadership are worse than they were during the midterm landslide.

Somehow the conventional wisdom is that Democrats hold the weak hand. I suppose until the Democrats do something that proves the conventional thinking wrong, like maybe not acting like they have the weak hand, the conventional wisdom stands.

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