Pointless Lawbreaking

The collapse of the Bush presidency poses risks

From Rasmussen Reports, the favorite polling firm of Bush followers:

For the second straight day, 35% of Americans approve of the way that George W. Bush is performing his role as President. That’s the lowest level of Approval ever measured by Rasmussen Reports.

That polling was conducted after the President’s “surge” speech. What is particularly notable is this observation:

It is interesting to note that the last time the President’s Approval Ratings hit a new low followed the President’s speech on immigration. Typically, President’s (sic) expect to get a positive bounce following a national address.

It really is striking that whenever one is convinced that Bush’s unpopularity ratings have reached their nadir, the one thing that can always drive them even further downward is Bush’s appearance on national television to explain himself to the country (or, to use Jules Crittenden’s classic formulation: for the President to “address us . . . and show us the way forward”). Even after six years, the more Americans see and hear from George Bush, the more they dislike him.

The collapse of the Bush presidency is truly historic. It is always worth remembering that when Richard Nixon was forced to resign the Presidency, his Gallup approval rating was 25%. The 35% Rasmussen figure for Bush is above the low points measured by most other polls (which is why it is the favorite metric for Bush followers), but it is still abominably low. AP-Ipsos reported several days ago that Bush had just reached an all-time low in its poll — 32%.

If George Bush continues to appear in public and makes speeches, he’s going to soon be within the margin of error of Nixon’s resignation-compelling unpopularity. While a weakened Bush presidency may appear intuitively to be a cause for celebration, it poses a serious danger.

In a characteristically perceptive Op-Ed in this morning’s Washington Post, Dahlia Lithwick makes the point that Bush’s extremist actions — such as Jose Padilla’s detention, the Guantanamo abuses, and omnipotence-declaring signing statements — have no real objective except one: “The object is a larger one: expanding executive power, for its own sake.”

Read all of it here.

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