Tomgram: Only in Washington…: Wrong Again! Bush’s Logic and Ours
By Tom Engelhardt
Okay, it’s another lemon, the second you’ve bought from the same used-car lot — and for $1,000 more than the first. The transmission is a mess; the muffler’s clunking; smoke’s seeping out of the dashboard; and you’ve only had it a week. You took it, grudgingly, as a replacement for that beat-up old Camry that only lasted two months, but the salesman assured you it was a winner. No wonder you’re driving onto the lot right now. Before you can even complain, the same salesman’s there. He’s firm. It’s not his fault. You must have done something. Nonetheless, he’s ready to offer you a great deal. For an extra 2,000 bucks, you can have the rusted-out Honda Prelude right behind him, the one that, as a matter of fact, has just burst into flames — and, he assures you, it’s a dandy. It may not look so great today, what with the smoking hood and all, but it’s a vehicle for the ages.
Would you buy a used car from this man? (Hint: He looks remarkably like George Bush.)
Or try it this way:
When you first fell ill — nausea and gnawing stomach pain — you went to that new doctor in town. He diagnosed you with stomach flu, prescribed an acid blocker and vicodin, and told you not to worry a bit. After that, you started vomiting up brown gunk. So you dragged yourself back to the doctor, who added an anti-nausea drug and a cathartic to your regimen. Two days later, you blacked out. You wake up to find yourself in a hospital bed, blood transfusing into your arm. The same doctor is at your bedside, insisting that you be anesthetized and immediately operated on for a bleeding ulcer. He also has a form he says you must sign that relieves him of all responsibility for perforating your stomach or anything else that may occur in the course of the procedure.
Would you take the advice of this man? (Hint: He looks remarkably like Dick Cheney.)
In fact, no set of images from elsewhere in life can do real justice to the Bush administration and the Washington it exists in. In our normal lives, no one could get it so wrong so often and still be given the slightest credence.
And everything in the world of opinion polls points to Americans having reached exactly this conclusion about the President and his team. Call it the American consensus. Recent polls indicate that most of the public has simply stopped listening to George W. Bush and other administration figures who have proven incapable of predicting which policy foot will fall where in the next 60 seconds, no less what might happen, based on their acts, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, or anywhere else.
The polling figures also indicate that there are essentially no Democrats left to be moved from the presidential approval to the disapproval columns; that hardly an “independent” remains on the approval horizon; and that what’s always referred to as the President’s Republican “base” is delaminating by the week. The latest Harris poll, for instance, has the President’s approval ratings at 26% and so in a tie with Richard Nixon’s Watergate-worst Harris low; and the Vice President has hit his own new low at 21%; while, in the cumulative average of polls at Pollster.com, Bush’s approval rating has dropped under 28%. In the last six weeks, if you check out the long-term arc of such ratings, it looks as if George has taken a nosedive off a disapproval cliff.
The latest Gallup poll has, for the first time, breeched 30% on the twisting, downward road away from presidential approval and has also registered a record high in opposition to Bush’s Iraq policy. In addition, only 24% of Gallup’s respondents claim to be “satisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time” (27% in the latest Newsweek poll, and a mere 19% in the last NBC/Wall Street Journal poll). Other polls show similar results.
In fact, the American people have so stopped listening to this most chaotic and tin-eared of administrations — once proudly billed by the media (and itself) as the “most disciplined” in our history — that, according to a recent ARG poll, a stunning 54% of Americans now favor the launching of impeachment hearings against Vice President Cheney (only 40% oppose) and 45% favor it against the President (46% oppose). For an idea that was, nine months ago, on the frontiers of political discussion and the far edge of unmentionability, this is nothing short of remarkable. Now, outside of Washington, it’s evidently starting to look as American as apple pie for a public that has had it and may not care to wait for election 2008.
Read the rest here.