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April 11, 2006

Recovery Ain't Easy

With Bush's approval ratings hovering somewhere around -112%, we're seeing the inevitable rush of commentators explain how to save his presidency. Rich Lowry's plan, as described by Ryan Lizza, is an "enforcement-only immigration bill, speeches denouncing eminent domain abuse, happy talk about the economy, tax reform, more judicial battles, a spending bill veto, and chats with conservative bloggers." Yes, and after Bush makes nice with the 12% of Americans who are in his base, he'll slip back into the high 30's. But Lizza's counterporposals, while better from a policy perspective (Fire Cheney, bring in McCain, make Iran bipartisan, jawbone Iraqi, get serious about reform), are similarly unlikely to halt Bush's slide.

The problem, of course, is that Bush isn't flailing because this White House is insufficiently politically adept. He's flailing because the major policies on which he's staked his presidency are self-destructing. Iraq is a bloodbath, the deficit threatens to swallow the country whole, the Middle East is less stable than ever, economic insecurity is rampant, inequality has risen, the government response to a national disaster was staggeringly incompetent etc, etc. So while any of Lizza's ideas might result in a temporary bump, that spike would rapidly flatten under the perpetual stream of bad news. Fact is, Bush is proving that presidencies are about something more than communication strategies. This White House was predicated on the belief that policies didn't matter, only politics did. That's been disproven, they've found themselves unable to fight failure with photo-ops. And this country will be better for it.

April 11, 2006 | Permalink


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Its REAL hard to suggest what Bush could do to save his mal-administration. And I'm not tempted, much.

Bush has recently said that he'll haul out the Soc. Sec. thing real soon now, again. A real winner. Immigration is proving to be an issue I'm sure he regrets having raised. Please don't mention the federal budget.

The only thing I believe he could do that would unite the nearly warring factions in the Repub. party that have emerged is.....

Have another war!

Coming this summer to a TV screen near you: Iran, the War - Part II on the War on the Axis of Evil and Other Terrah.

Will it become a summer 'blockbuster'? Will the Generals rebel? Will the Democrats again jump on the bandwagon? Who will be the next Valarie Plame? How many sunk ships does it take to block the Straits of Hormuz? Will Shia's overrun the Green Zone in response?

Stay tuned for a summer of manly fun and hard-hitting action.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 11, 2006 12:39:04 PM

Simple plan:

  1. Declare himself Emperor of the Americas.
  2. Set approval rating to 98.7%.

Posted by: adios | Apr 11, 2006 1:05:36 PM

"...Bush is proving that presidencies are about something more than communication strategies."

Unfortunately, while this is true, it misses the fact that the modern Republican party is NOTHING BUT a series of communication strategies -- strtegies designed to promote a narrow set of low tax/deregulation policies. As Brad DeLong and others have observed, there simply is no longer any core meaning or consistent philosophical stance to the Republicans, or Mr. Bush, aside from said special interest policies. what this means to us as Democrats is that if and when a Democrat reassumes the White House, the Republicans wil simply pick right up where they left off when Clinton left office with an undiminished barrage of lies, hate, distraction, and other forms of Whitewater/Swiftboating.

Just because the Republicans have no core philospohy does not mean that they aren't staggeringly good at the destructive communication campaign. In fact, they are past masters. In short, the simple fact that Bush has failed in no way leads to the subsequnet conclusion that a Democrat will be able to succeed. S/he will simply face different obstacles than Bush -- instead of stupidity, lies; instead of a closed circle of business/media/party/administration support, we'll face the constant sniping, carping and name calling from all sides, casting doubt on even the best-considered proposals.

I don't envy the next Democratic president. Not only will their job list be immeasurably harder due to Bush, but their available pool of public support and goodwill will prove vanishingly shallow and brief.

Posted by: SteveE | Apr 11, 2006 1:30:08 PM

Everything is going so badly all at once for Bush that I *almost* feel bad for him....not.

Hey, Mr. President, see that bed you made over there? It's time to go and lie down in it.

Posted by: zoe kentucky | Apr 11, 2006 2:50:11 PM

The really big mistake is Bush isn't running for anything anymore.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 11, 2006 3:26:37 PM

The actual really big mistake was Bush running for anything at anytime.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 11, 2006 3:35:15 PM

Delete word: Flailing

Insert: Failing

Posted by: Tony | Apr 11, 2006 4:23:55 PM

I think it's a mistake for Democrats to chortle too much; there's always the chance that the Bush folks could succeed a pull-out-the-stps- orgy of meanness (I don't they've really plumbed the depths of anti-immigrant or anti-gay fervor, and I don't want to see them try). That said, I tend to agree, both as a Dem and generally trying to be dispassionate, that the Bush team pulling this out is a real lost cause. It's not just that everything they've touched is ruined; it's also that they've argued themselves into corners no one can really undo. Which I think proves you win more friends thru niceness, but then that's the kind of touchy-feely lib I am. :)

Posted by: weboy | Apr 11, 2006 4:31:17 PM

I kind of like "flailing," Tony. It's more poetic than failing;)

It's so funny because it's true!

Posted by: Case | Apr 11, 2006 6:35:33 PM

These NUT JOBS are playing chess with our lives - and they don't care!

They are following their Straussian PNAC plan to the letter.

WE THE PEOPLE must stand up to this crazy crowd - our Congress critters appear to be bought and paid for - evesdropped on like the rest of us.

WHAT HAPPENED to our Democracy and our morals???


Posted by: Aeon | Apr 11, 2006 6:39:05 PM

I said it over at ShakesSis and I'll say it here - Bush does not care. The rapture is coming, remember? He's a dispensationalist nut case, and he's proved it time and time again. Gore Vidal predicted in the 80s that we'd get one like this. Impeach AND remove. It's the only way.

Posted by: blogenfreude | Apr 11, 2006 7:11:56 PM

The idea of Bush speaking out about eminent domain is pretty effing hilarious:

"George W. Bush loves baseball. And why not? After all, baseball has been very good to the governor. When it comes to power, the governor is a true triple-threat. Consider his record: (1) His initial baseball investment of $600,000 carries the current potential of a 2,500 percent return. (2) Through savvy P.R. and political maneuvering, he and his partners have persuaded a city and the state to directly subsidize a facility for their business. (3) Not content with taxpayer subsidies, he and his fellow owners have also successfully used the power of government to take land from other private citizens so it could be used for their own private purposes.

Yes, baseball has been very good to Bush. Moreover, the biggest deal Bush has ever done, the career-shaping transaction he boasted of on the campaign trail—the planning, funding and construction of the Texas Rangers’ Ballpark at Arlington—has been largely ignored by the national media as they rush to paint Bush’s presidential portrait.

Yet whether the public interest issue is taxes, size of government, property rights, or public subsidies of private sports ventures, Bush’s personal ownership interest in the Texas Rangers baseball team has been wildly at odds with his publicly declared positions on those issues. And ongoing litigation over the Ballpark deal has revealed documents showing that beginning in 1990, the Rangers management—which included Bush as a managing general partner—conspired to use the government’s power of eminent domain to further its private business interests."

More here.

Posted by: Jill | Apr 11, 2006 7:21:47 PM

how to save his presidency?

Tax the rich and give back to the poor... and a simple flat tax that brings the tax code down to one page.

Tie CEO pay to a percentage of the corporations lowest paid worker.

Institute law to prevent CEO's from one corporation from being on the board of another corporation, who buddy buddy give each other raises..

Tie CEO bonus to the actual performance of the company and base the bonus on a percentage with the lowest compensated worker.

Universal Health Care

Do for alternate energy what JFK did with the moon program and give it the same unlimited budget.

Tie congressional compensation to a percentage of the national minimum wage. If congress votes themselves a payraise, then they have to raise the national minimum wage by same percentage.

Remove industry insiders from all federal regulatory agencies...

Remove all the cronies and rangers from all federal agencies and put the grown ups back in charge of running this country.

Fire Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Chertoff, etc. and replace with personnel from Bush I administration. Many were crooks, but they knew how to do their jobs for the most part...

Regulate Oil Companies like utilities and cut out price gouging..

thats a start

Posted by: JoeTx | Apr 11, 2006 8:52:35 PM

*holding my breath waiting on another huge terra attack*.... he fails when that happens and he fails when it doesn't right? repubs= fascism.

Posted by: liz | Apr 11, 2006 10:04:05 PM

I think Charlie Cook has it right. The public lost trust in Bush after the Katrina fiasco. Once lost, it's impossible to regain, but will ooze into every crack and crevice.

Posted by: goodasgold | Apr 11, 2006 10:06:45 PM


Posted by: rael | Apr 12, 2006 9:52:15 AM


Just an FYI.

Bush's lousy Social Security rip-off plan is already in the new budget. He went around the country and couldn't sell it.

It will be forced on America like our war with IRAN,like it or not.

Posted by: mparker | Apr 12, 2006 10:14:20 AM

Close US markets to companies that outsource US jobs and/or incorporate offshore purely as a tax dodge.

Set good citizenship standards for corporate behavior.

Prohibit corporate lobbying and political contributions.

Posted by: Sharon | Apr 12, 2006 12:06:43 PM

It's the incompetence, stupid.

Posted by: Jon in West Hollywood | Apr 12, 2006 12:40:12 PM

Come see this comment in three years. Bush will still be president. There is no way he/Cheney will relinquish power. All the still secret records will be revealed. They must be impeached now to make it impossible for them to keep secret the magnitude of their lies and high crimes. If they are not, they will retain power. How, you ask? Simple:

Just clone 9/11.

Posted by: Motaman | Apr 15, 2006 11:11:47 AM

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