A new perspective on Mr. 25%
by the mollusk, Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 08:25:52 AM EDT
The latest CBS poll has George Walker Bush at 25 % approval rating. These polls sometimes come back with a bogus answer or two, but in the CBS poll, Bush appears to be consistently under 30 % these days. To state the obvious, that is remarkably bad.
Living in these times, it is easy to forget just what an awful eight years this has been. In the interest of being honest, I never liked Bush, even when 90 % of the country did, but when he ran against Gore, I didn't see the real harm in electing this guy. His 2000 campaign was predicated on being a centrist Republican. This was back when I was naive enough to think that there was such a thing. It seemed to me like it would be good for the Republican party to be pulled toward the center by this young, vibrant sleazeball. I figured - "Give him his four years. It'll look a lot like Clinton's third term plus a few extra bungles."
As it turned out, he was quite possibly the worst person to put in that position (other than me, of course) for what followed. For what had to follow.
I didn't necessarily oppose the invasion of Aghanistan, but my instincts told me that these were the wrong people to handle this. In some ways, 9/11 presented a tremendous opportunity for us. Terrorism could have been beaten much more easily on 9/12 than on 9/10. They had overplayed their hand, they could have reasonably been expected to face a fierce backlash in large sections of the Islamic world. Invading Afghanistan, for as awful a prospect as it was, at least gave us the opportunity to right some previous wrongs there. We were given a golden excuse to bring that country and it's people out of the rubble and into at least the 19th, if not the 21st century.
We blew it. Big time.
In Krugman's article today, he touches on a very important point about Republican policies. They require an active disengagement from reality, complexity, irony, and subtlety. The approach to any problem is WWF-style melee and bombast. Invading and rebuilding Afghanistan would have required humility, patience, courage, and compassion. I don't think you could find a thimble full of any of those qualities in our current leaders.
And so, here were are, almost eight years later. Our current frat boy in chief is nearing the end of his term. And his Republican successor, perhaps one half shade better is once again trying to prove to the country that he's a different kind of Republican. Not like those ones in Washington. Not like those ones that are so wealthy and out of touch with the rest of America. Not like those ones that hold extreme views on such things as, say, a holiday honoring Martin Luther King. Not like those ones who practice the old attack politics of the past. Not like those ones who throw good money after bad fighting old wars in an old style. Not like those ones who embody the stody, old, misogynistic stereotypes of the Republican party. No, this one is much different.
Who will be fooled again? Hopefully a slightly fewer number than the ones who learned their lessons.