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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bush’s Other Big Problem

Bush continues to stumble and just flat-out make stuff up in response to questions about the bogus Niger uranium intelligence prominently featured in the State of the Union address.  His latest howlers: CIA’s doubts about the intelligence were after the SOTU; and, incredibly, we invaded Iraq because Saddam wouldn’t let in the weapons inspectors!  As The Washington Post story on this drily observed, “The president’s assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to the war this spring”.   
But the very same edition of the Post that had that story on the front page above the fold also had two stories about economic and budget woes, also on the front page, also above the fold: “Budget Woes Trickle Down: Hard-Hit State and Local Governments Say Bush and Congress Left Them to Make Cuts, Raise Taxes” and “Budget Deficit May Surpass $450 Billion“. 
The Bush administration is awash in these and other economic problems.  And they’re unlikely to go away anytime soon.  A just-released Gallup poll analysis points out that “improvement in consumer sentiment has not continued to gain momentum as the summer has progressed”.  The reason?  Consumers need to see some real economic improvement and so far they haven’t seen it–in fact, more people now say the economy is getting worse (47 percent) than say it is getting better (43 percent).
In the same poll, half the country now disapproves of Bush job performance on the economy and 58 percent say he is not paying enough attention to the economy.  Moreover, in just-released Ipsos/Cook Political Report data, voters age 50 and over, whose turnout tends to be relatively high, are particularly negative about Bush’s economic job performance (53 percent disapproval to 44 percent approval). 
Not a pretty picture for the Bushies.  And how about this one: Bush’s “hard re-elect” number in the Ipsos data (those who would definitely vote to re-elect him) is just 41 percent. 
Looks like the Democrats are finally getting some running room.