Thursday, October 13, 2005

28% of Americans Clearly Insane How long does it take for a popular president to lose his political capital? About five years. Five years not without a budget surplus-wasted, one major terrorist attack, 2000 men and women killed for an ill-conceived war. Five years of grammar shredding, smirking, strutting, back-stepping religious arrogance leading this country down a hole and one president who has led it all is finally seeing his support dwindling. A latest MSNBC / WSJ poll shows Bush's approval ratings down below 40%, and only 28% of the people believing that the country is headed in the right direction. It appears that the middle is finally turning on their beloved president.

And oh you can feel the desperation from the White House. Bush made a media appearance the other day, not just in the Blue Shirt of Compassion, but the Hard Hat of Strength, the Working Gloves of Labor, and the Tool Belt of Capability. They are pulling out all the stops, and they should. On top of every other failure in leadership and vision the president’s right-hand man, Karl Rove is under investigation for conspiracy.After all this, who are those 28% that are holding out? Can Morgan Spurlock infiltrate their cloister and figure out what they're thinking? Because, while the rest of us are weary of this nonsense, they believe we're headed in the right direction. They must be the mud-flap, bare-crack, six-pack, flag-waiving, fun-loving crowd who believe Bush really can raise a house in New Orleans with one hand and fight terrorism with the other. The other 72% deal in reality: that the man can't even walk and chew gum at the same time. Faith runs deep in the heartland. The 28% are the remnant of a once proud clan of NASCAR Dads and Church ladies. Others have forsaken their great leader, but they will not. Every week they return to the alter to give thanks and take communion in the idea of small government, tough defense, and conservative Christianity...regardless of how pragmatic those ideals are.

Bush has been inept the entire time but what has changed recently that has removed the scales from so many people’s eyes?

It's an interesting thing, where on the timeline people turn on a president. With Bush for some it was his pre-election smirking and terrible English. For others it was the look on his face when answering a challenging question. For some it was the loss of liberties after 9/11. For others it was the lack of WMDs in Iraq. (That was my personal tipping point.... all of these events, for the heartland of the country, were vague academic concerns, debatable on news shows. And then there was Hurricane Katrina which ushered in the unveiling of the new and improved Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. The country witnessed where all their tax dollars had gone when Michael Brown, a crony, led a man-made disaster that killed more people than the natural one the preceded it. This is our powerful defense mechanism designed to save us from unseen enemies? This is what we've gotten for five years of macho cowboy talk, a 66% increase in defense spending, and the Patriot Act? Wasn't that what got Bush re-elected? The perception that he would be tougher on defense than a war hero like John Kerry? And now as the economy is going badly, so NASCAR dads in their giant trucks have to spend a small fortune to fill up their tanks and go muddin'. This has brought about what the administration has tried so hard to shield voters from: accountability. A war in Iraq and runaway spending were all kept safely out of people's consciousness because there were no taxes or rationing to go along with them. But Katrina changed all of that. Now we're all being asked to pay more, and conserve more, because of lack of leadership and foresight.

Yesterday, Bush, trying to salvage his image, held a televised “conversation” with troops in Iraq. I say “conversation” because it was actually a tightly choreographed event where every soldier knew the questions in advance and who would answer them. This is certainly nothing new but it illustrates the weakness of this administration: an inability to think dynamically and in real-time. Even events that are supposed to be casual are tightly rehearsed. We are led by people dealing in fantasy, surrounding itself with zealots. The real losers: You and me. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, these people have a nice retirement to look forward to. And unlike them: the rest of us have to live in the real world. The only people still buying into this are the 28% of Americans who are clearly insane.

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