A Nation of Bush-Haters

Remember the halcyon days six months ago when being a “Bush hater” was a bad thing? Well,those days are gone for good now, according to the polls:

The problem with Bush’s purported likability was that was almost entirely manufactured.

It’s not just the way he’s doing his job. Americans apparently don’t like President Bush personally much anymore, either.

A drop in his personal popularity, as measured by several public polls, has shadowed the decline in Bush’s job-approval ratings and weakened his political armor when he and his party need it most.

Losing that political protection – dubbed “Teflon” when Ronald Reagan had it – is costing Bush what the late political scientist Richard Neustadt called the “leeway” to survive hard times and maintain his grip on the nation’s agenda. Without it, Bush is a more tempting target for political enemies. And members of his party in Congress are less inclined to stand with him.

The problem with Bush’s purported likability was that was almost entirely manufactured. Back before the turn of the century, when Bush was running for president the first time, all he and his aides had to do to make something true was simply to say it was so. With the help of the supine “liberal” media, they could create whatever reality they wanted to. Remember how Saddam was going to fly drones over 5,000 miles and drop dirty bombs on us?

Just last week, President Bush’s svengali, Karl Rove, tried the say-it-and-make-it-so strategy when he made this delusional statement:

The American people like this president. His personal approval ratings are in the 60s. Job approval is lower. And what that says to me is that people like him, they respect him, he’s somebody they feel a connection with, but they’re just sour right now on the war. And that’s the way it’s going to be.

Rove said he based his statements on Republican Party polls. But he had to have been flat out lying and now, as a sign of at least a modest change in the atmospherics in Washington, Knight-Ridder has an article up debunking Rove’s wishful thinking:

The Republican National Committee wouldn’t release a copy of the poll. Spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said she couldn’t explain why public polls show a decline in Bush’s personal popularity except to say that, “you can ask a poll question four different ways and get four different answers.”

Six public polls in recent weeks showed the opposite of Rove’s account – that Bush’s personal approval ratings have dropped since he was re-elected in 2004:

-A recent Gallup poll for USA Today showed that 39 percent had a favorable opinion of Bush, while 60 percent had an unfavorable opinion. In mid-November 2004, 60 percent had a favorable opinion and 39 percent unfavorable.

-Pollster John Zogby found 42 percent with a favorable opinion and 55 percent unfavorable. In November 2004, it was 58 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable.

-A poll for CBS and the New York Times showed that 29 percent had a favorable opinion of Bush, while 55 percent had an unfavorable opinion.

“The president’s public perception problem is not only about his dismal job performance, but also his striking lack of personal favorability,” said Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.

Personal favorability can encompass many things in the minds of voters: character, respect, warmth, kinship, even whether a voter would want to have a beer with a politician. Or in the case of the teetotaling Bush, a soda.

Bush has lost ground on most of those measures.

One comment

  • Stephen Kriz
    May 20, 2006 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    This guy didn’t enjoy having a beer with Bush:


    You probably wouldn’t either…

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