Bush Approval Falls to New Low at 28%

George Bush’s approval has fallen to a new low of 28% in the lastest Harris Poll. This is down from 32% in February. Dick Cheney’s approval has fallen from 29% in February to 25% in the latest poll. Before conservatives make their usual claim about liberal bias in the polls, this one comes from The Wall Street Journal.

The poll also shows decreased approval for government leaders of both parties, with Republicans receiving significantly lower approval than Democrats:

Among other individuals included in the poll, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) saw her approval rating fall to 30% in April from 38% in February, shortly after her swearing-in as the first female House speaker. Approval for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) slipped to 22%, from 23% in February but up from 19% a year ago.

Those polled gave Congress an approval rating of 27%, with the Democrats as a group pulling in 35% approval, compared with 22% for Republicans.

GOP Scare Tactics Not Working–Majority Wants Out of Iraq

The latest Rasmussen Poll  shows that Republican claims that we will die if a Democrat is elected or that the terrorists will follow us here if we leave Iraq are not scaring people. Rasmussen reports, “Fifty-seven percent (57%) of American voters now favor either an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq (37%) or a firm deadline for their withdrawal (20%). The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 35% of voters are opposed to both of these options for ending the war.”

Even Republicans are less likely to fall for the claims of the White House. Only 52% of Republicans believe that the surge has made things better, while even fewer Democrats (12%) and Independents (26%) believe this.

Republicans Realizing Incompetence of Bush White House

Liberals are often accused of doing nothing but Bush-bashing, but it is becoming increasingly clear to all that there has been good reason for this. We’ve never had a President who was so incompetent, and who has done so much harm to this country. David Ignatus reports that even Republicans are beginning to understand this, with today’s best Bush-bashing line (emphasis mine) coming from a Republican:

If you want to hear despair in Washington these days, talk to Republicans. The Democrats are exulting in their newfound political power and are eager to profit from Bush’s difficulties. But Republicans voice the bitterness and frustration of people chained to the hull of a sinking ship.

I spoke with a half-dozen prominent GOP operatives this past week, most of them high-level officials in the Reagan and Bush I and Bush II administrations, and I heard the same devastating critique: This White House is isolated and ineffective; the country has stopped listening to President Bush, just as it once tuned out the hapless Jimmy Carter; the president’s misplaced sense of personal loyalty is hurting his party and the nation.

This is the most incompetent White House I’ve seen since I came to Washington,” said one GOP senator. “The White House legislative liaison team is incompetent, pitiful, embarrassing. My colleagues can’t even tell you who the White House Senate liaison is. There is rank incompetence throughout the government. It’s the weakest Cabinet I’ve seen.” And remember, this is a Republican talking.

A prominent conservative complains: “With this White House, there is loyalty not to an idea, but to a person. When Republicans talked about someone in the Reagan administration being ‘loyal,’ they didn’t mean to Ronald Reagan but to the conservative movement.” Bush’s stubborn defense of Gonzales offends these Republicans, who see the president defiantly clinging to an official who has lost public confidence, just as he did for too long with former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Rudy Giuliani’s Fear Mongering


Keith Olbermann has presented a special comment on Rudy Guiliani’s fear mongering which I commented on here. Video above and text below the fold.


David Broder Creates False Equivalence Between Gonzales and Reid

While some in the liberal blogosphere regularly attack newspaper columnists who criticize Democrats as well as Republicans, I do not go along with this “us versus them” mentality and feel it is expected and even desirable for columnists from major newspapers to criticize Democrats when wrong. While columnists such as Joe Klein and Maureen Dowd have come under attack in the blogosphere recently for criticism of the net roots and some Democrats, I have backed them when I have agreed with them. I have even found areas of agreement with David Brooks on those occasions when he can refrain from meaningless bashing of Democrats and stick to the issues. One columnist I can no longer have any respect for is David Broder following his comparison of Harry Reid to Alberto Gonzales in today’s column.

We have often seen attempts at developing a false equivalency by partisans on the right, as they try to excuse a major Republican crime by equating it to a far more trivial offense by a Democrat. The same logic (and repetition of Republican talking points) is at work in Broder’s column as he tries to equate Harry Reid to Alberto Gonzales.

Gonzales has supported torture and devised justifications for ignoring the Geneva Convention. He was an early proponent of restricting civil liberties under the Patriot Act. He argued that there is no right to Habeas Corpus, and supported the warrantless wiretaps. He has fought to increase secrecy in government, such as by working to prevent the release of the Dick Cheney’s energy task force documents. Most recently Gonzales has been caught changing his stories on the dismissals of the U.S. attorneys, making it very difficult to believe he did not conspire to fire them under the direction of the White House for political reasons. Numerous Republicans, as well as Democrats, have called for the removal of Gonzales.

In the face of all this, Broder argues that Harry Reid is as deserving of Gonzales to be removed. Even if we accept all of Broder’s claims against Reid, despite some inaccuracies, all we have is some cases where Reid misspoke, or could have expressed things a little better politically. Nothing Reid is accused of comes close to what Gonzales has done and to attempt to equate the two is totally absurd. (more…)

David Brooks Interviews Obama

David Brooks recently interviewed Barack Obama and discussed it in today’s column. You always have to take anything Brooks says about a Democrat with a grain of salt, but in this column Brooks held back on his usual Democrat-bashing. Considering that it is rare to have someone like Obama who we know so little about but who has such a good  chance of becoming the next President, I’ll look to any source, even David Brooks, for more information about Obama. Brooks concludes his column with:

In Chicago this week, Obama argued against the current tides of Democratic opinion. There’s been a sharp rise in isolationism among Democrats, according to a recent Pew survey, so Obama argued for global engagement. Fewer Democrats believe in peace through military strength, so Obama argued for increasing the size of the military.

In other words, when Obama is confronted by what he sees as arrogant unilateral action, he argues for humility. When he is confronted by what he sees as dovish passivity, he argues for the hardheaded promotion of democracy in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.

The question is, aside from rejecting the extremes, has Obama thought through a practical foreign policy doctrine of his own — a way to apply his Niebuhrian instincts?

That question is hard to answer because he loves to have conversations about conversations. You have to ask him every question twice, the first time to allow him to talk about how he would talk about the subject, and the second time so you can pin him down to the practical issues at hand.

If you ask him about the Middle East peace process, he will wax rhapsodic about the need to get energetically engaged. He’ll talk about the shared interests all have in democracy and prosperity. But then when you ask him concretely if the U.S. should sit down and talk with Hamas, he says no. “There’s no point in sitting down so long as Hamas says Israel doesn’t have the right to exist.”

When you ask about ways to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, he talks grandly about marshaling a global alliance. But when you ask specifically if an Iranian bomb would be deterrable, he’s says yes: “I think Iran is like North Korea. They see nuclear arms in defensive terms, as a way to prevent regime change.”

In other words, he has a tendency to go big and offer himself up as Bromide Obama, filled with grand but usually evasive eloquence about bringing people together and showing respect. Then, in a blink, he can go small and concrete, and sound more like a community organizer than George F. Kennan.

Finally, more than any other major candidate, he has a tendency to see the world in post-national terms. Whereas President Bush sees the war against radical Islam as the organizing conflict of our time, Obama sees radical extremism as one problem on a checklist of many others: global poverty, nuclear proliferation, global warming. When I asked him to articulate the central doctrine of his foreign policy, he said, “The single objective of keeping America safe is best served when people in other nations are secure and feel invested.”

That’s either profound or vacuous, depending on your point of view.