by John Hawkins | March 17, 2006 12:59 am
A lot of attention has been given lately to President Bush’s most recent poll numbers. Just for the record, here is my take on the current batch of approval numbers. I will also attempt, in this same post, to bring in the subject of comparisons being made of Russ Feingold’s effort to censure President Bush to Diane Feinstein’s attempt to censure Clinton. (Bear with me — there really is a connection.)
Of course, I would love for the President’s approval numbers to be sky high, as they were following 9/11. Mostly I would love for them to be that high because then they would not be reported or discussed by anyone in the media and reporters might be forced to discuss matters of substance. (Yeah, I know, Birdshotgate and similar stories would still get top billing, but at least there would be one less distraction.)
I know that approval numbers are important. If a President’s numbers are high, there is more pressure on those in Congress of both parties to go along with him and his agenda has a much better chance of being enacted. When support for a President is high, members of his own party are not going to be going out of their way to oppose him, as some have recently. But that being said, Presidential approval numbers are not terribly important to me. They certainly aren’t as important to me as they are to those in the media and in the Democratic party — at least as important as they are to them when those numbers are bad for Bush.
So, why don’t I panic when the President’s numbers plunge? I guess because I am looking at the big picture, not some snapshot popularity contest. I would much rather see my President do what President Bush has done in Iraq, even in the face of all the criticism and the drop in the polls he has taken for it, than to see my President do what President Clinton did in Mogadishu. In other words, I am more concerned with what the President actually does, rather than how it is perceived, even though I realize that the perception is more important to his political fortunes. I thank God for a President that I believe has acted (for better or worse) based on what he believed was best for the country, in contrast to a former President that based many of his actions on what Dick Morris’s latest poll revealed.
I would prefer that President Bush’s poll numbers be in the thirties (or even in the teens) rather than see him bring those numbers up the way Bill Clinton did by having sex acts performed on him in the Oval Office by an intern, spending hours on the phone engaging in phone sex with her and opening himself and the nation’s security up to potential blackmail, and then branding the intern as a psycho stalker until he found out his DNA was left on her dress. Remember, that is the scenario that brought Clinton’s numbers to their highest point.
Actually, more specifically, it was the successful effort to portray the Republicans, who thought such behavior was beneath the dignity of the office of the President, as hate-filled political hit men persecuting a victim President that brought those numbers to their apex. That is one lesson that some of the Democrats now revelling in Bush’s low numbers, smelling blood and continuing to attack him, should remember. The public does not particularly like to see their President attacked and if Democrats continue to do so at their current pace and intensity, eventually it will wear thin.
I have heard more than a few Democrats wanting to compare Feingold’s censure stunt to Diane Feinstein’s attempt to censure Clinton. Their point is that if Feinstein and others were willing to censure the beloved Clinton for what they describe as purely personal indiscretions, then surely they should be willing to censure the evil Bush for supposed civil rights violations. Attacking the President because he wants to give those charged with our security the ability to listen in on terrorists plotting to kill innocent Americans is a real stinker of an argument, no matter how low his approval numbers currently stand. Even those Americans that love Bill Clinton can tell the difference between those wanting to reprimand a President for doing the hired help in the Oval Office and lying about it, and those wanting to reprimand a President for wanting to listen in on murderous terrorists. Some issues are just that clear, regardless of poll numbers.
Thanks to John Hawkins for inviting me to guest blog here today. I hope you will make it a habit to visit Polipundit for more political blogging and Byrd Droppings for blogging about just about everything else.
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