by John Hawkins | March 3, 2006 9:42 am
Although we can debate whether the polls out there now are accurately reflecting Bush’s approval rating, there’s no question that W. needs some improvement on that score. Here are 5 suggestions that would help out.
1) Splitting His Illegal Immigration Plan In Two: Bush should split his illegal immigration policy into two parts. Then he should push border enforcement and proposals designed to get rid of illegal immigrants first. That will be popular with the public, help stem his bleeding with the base, and it can be passed.
Then, after Bush has already established his, “tough on illegal,” credibility, he can push the guest worker program that some of his business backers will want and that some Republicans (I’m not among them) think will help the GOP win a larger percentage of the Hispanic vote, without hurting himself politically. Will it pass? If Bush proves he’s serious about securing our borders and getting rid of illegals first, yes, a guest worker program of some sort has a decent shot at passing.
That would make a lot more sense than what Bush is currently doing: trying to push through an unpopular program that makes him look soft on illegals, hurts him with his own base, and is unlikely to pass.
2) Showing That’s He’s Serious About Cutting The Deficit: What Bush needs to do in order to improve his image here is to start talking about how he hasn’t done enough to get spending under control in the past and then use his first veto on a bill because it has too much pork in it.
That would be a splashy headline grabber that could probably convince the public to give him the benefit of the doubt on spending, but he’d need to follow up on it. Maybe he could veto some more spending bills, try to rewrite his Medicare Prescription drug bill to include means testing, or even propose some sort of Balanced Budget Amendment.
This is an area that is just killing Bush with people who should be his biggest supporters and he really needs to do something “big” here instead of just trying to nibble around the edges.
3) Find A Way To Kill The Port Deal: According to the latest polls, the number of Americans opposed to the port deal outnumber those in favor of it roughly 3 to 1, Moreover, the people in favor of the port deal are lukewarm while the anti-port deal crowd is red hot over the issue. Sometimes there are hills worth dying on politically for principle, but this is definitely not one of them.
4) Use The World’s Biggest Microphone: Getting your message out should entail a lot more than trying to correct the countless lies and distortions that the Democrats and mainstream media regularly tell about you and your administration. The worst thing Bush can do is continue to sit there and let the news cycle revolve around what Democrats claim he’s done wrong.
Instead, W. needs to use the world’s biggest microphone to change the debate and force the Democrats to go on the defensive. Why not give an anti-gay marriage speech at a Christian college? Attack the MSM for being in the pockets of the Democrats and use the negative spin they’ve put on the fantastic US economy as evidence. Blast the Democrats for playing politics with Katrina in the first place and tell the truth: that Nagin and Blanco were responsible for most of the problems in New Orleans, not FEMA. In short, say things that will cut through the noise, put the onus back on the Democrats, and get people talking about actual distinctions between the GOP and Dems rather than “What I don’t like about George Bush is…”.
You’d think Bush would already get this. Late last year, he started firing back at the Democrats who wanted to cut and run in Iraq. After his comments, he got a nice bump in the polls. Then, after Bush stopped attacking the Democrats, his numbers dropped back down again. That’s evidence that this will make a real difference.
5) Get More Specific On Iraq: This one could have been covered under #4, but it actually deserves its own category. The media and the Democrats are teaming up to do the biggest hatchet job on a war since Tet. Call ’em on it. Slam them for being wrong about a civil war in Iraq. Have a prime time, televised press conference and bring some Iraqi soldiers and generals to talk up the war. Trumpet the troop cuts in Iraq to the heavens and say it’s proof that we’re winning. Accuse the Democrats of calling for troop cuts for political reasons. Pound the Democrats for risking victory in Iraq and playing into the hands of our enemies by calling for a timeline.
Most of all, explain what victory is to the American people: it’s not destroying the insurgency, it’s replacing Saddam with a Democratic government that can handle its own security. Explain that once that happens, the terrorists will have lost. That’s because their only chance to win is to get the US to leave before the Iraqis are ready, so they can then take advantage of the chaos that would cause.
The American people aren’t getting the full story about Iraq and that’s the way the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media want it. The Dems and the MSM are misleading the public, day in and day out, in an effort to make them think we’re losing the war. That’s why a speech every now and again isn’t going to cut it. The President needs to get specific, get aggressive, and regularly go on the offensive so that Americans can get the rest of the story.
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