washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Don’t Forget About President Bush!

After all, if it didn’t look like Bush was vulnerable, the race for the Democratic nomination wouldn’t be nearly so interesting. And it would certainly be of much less importance.
Recent developments have surely increased that vulnerability. For example, the Kay revelations have brought back, front and center, the sheer emptiness of the adminstration’s case on Iraq’s WMD. And the violence of the Iraq occupation has exploded: January, in fact, turned out to be the second-deadliest month for US troops since “major combat operations” were declared to be over. So much for the claim that Saddam’s capture would break the back of the Iraqi resistance.
The latest Newsweek poll confirms that increased vulnerability. Bush’s approval rating is down to 49 percent, with 43 percent disapproval, his worst rating ever in this poll. And, for the first time in this poll, a majority (54 percent) believes the Bush administration misinterpreted intelligence about Iraq.
Bush also fares poorly on a standared re-elect question, with 49 percent saying they do not want to see Bush re-elected, compared to just 45 percent who say they do. Moreover, Democratic front-runner John Kerry actually edges Bush, 48 percent to 46 percent, in a head-to-head matchup.
No wonder the Democratic electorate is so focused on electability: Bush stands an excellent chance of being beaten this November by the right Democrat with the right message.
But which Democrat with which message? Stay tuned!

7 comments on “Don’t Forget About President Bush!

  1. Mark Caponigro on

    Regarding Bush (and Gov. Romney, and other socially backward types of their ilk) on gay marriage: It is not clear to me that they will not be able to use it as a wedge issue. But I believe it should be possible for our candidate to argue forcefully that it is un-American to decry judges for doing the terrificly important job that the Founders gave them: defending the rights of a minority of citizens, especially when those citizens are widely disliked. When Bush and his allies lament that the “will of the people” has been usurped by activist judges, they really are talking about the mob mentality of the bullying majority, which Madison & Co. most reasonably feared.

  2. Haggai on

    “And as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, people don’t really start thinking about an election until very late. He could tank, as his father did when people started thinking seriously about whether they wanted to see him on TV for another 4 years.”
    Ron Thompson, I certainly hope you’re right. The continuously mounting evidence of this administration’s utter dishonesty and incompetence makes it rather discouraging that Bush’s approval rating is still anywhere near 50%.

  3. Sebastian James on

    I am of the belief that Karl Rove still has cards to play.
    But in order to keep Rove off his game, Dems have to keep Bush playing defense. Talk lost tax revenue as well as defecit. Index cuts to popular and essential programs in terms of dollars gained by people who make over $2 million per year. Ask the big question, “Should a president deceive you in order to do something you agree with? Graphically demonstrate (not simply pie charts, etc) how long it would take to make up the the slack between the jobs Bush promised and the jobs he’s created. There’s more, but I have to get back to work….

  4. chris brandow on

    The problem with Kerry is the same as it was for Gore, he seems completely ungenuine (ingenuine?). I believe that he, like Gore, is a very well qualified and principled individual, and I would vote for him in a heartbeat, but he is going to turn off my mother-in-law just like Gore. He just can’t win because Bush seems genuine (ironies of ironies).

  5. Lk on

    I’m still for Clark. The question “Who can beat Bush?” is the right question. I don’t think the answer is Kerry because Kerry says he won’t make an issue of the war. Of course he might be rethinking that if the polls show that it’s safe to speak up, but assuming he sticks to his original agenda, he won’t talk about the war. and that is not only cowardly but also stupid.
    Bush will make an issue of the war. He has to. He has no othe issue. That means like it or not the Democrats have to run against the war. Humphrey tried to ignore the biggest moral issue of his day when he ran aginst Nixon in 1968. He concentrated on domestic issues because the Democratic party leaders then, as now, lacked the balls to take a moral stand or provide leadership in opposition to a war. Humphrey lost.
    Dean understands that leaders create issues. /they speak out over and over until they are heard. They don’t check the polls to find out what they think. The problem is that Dean isn’t the right messenger to tell the American people that Bush led them into an unnecessary war and killed over 500 citizens for a megalomaniacal fantasy. Kerry is in a better position to attack but he lacks the nerve. He won’t publicize Bush’s lies until the polls tell him it’s safe. That leaves Clark.
    Clark is the person who has the courage to take an stand and the stature and experience to back it up. He is the one that can tell Americans that they got conned and misled. His candidacy is that best thing that has happened to the Democrats in years.
    He’s also the best choice for another reason. He’s a Southerner and he has the Southerner’s ability to talk about values, religion, family etc. and sound sincere(because he is sincere). Those issues and that sincere demeanor matter to Independent voters. It may be that Ruy is right and we don’t need the Southern states to win. However we do need the Independent voters and they are more likey to vote for a Southerner regardless of where they reside. Look at the track record. Southern Democrats have won far more often than Northerners. It’s a matter of style. They have a broader appeal in marginal states.
    To bad he won’t get the nomination.

  6. Ron Thompson on

    A similar thing happened in the President’s last big speech, on September 7th. He did a Sunday night address to the nation on Iraq, hurriedly announced on Friday afternoon, and the percentage of approval for his handling of Iraq after the speech was worse than before. So that’s twice in a row he’s left his audience unimpressed.
    The country willed itself to think well of him after 9/11. And as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, people don’t really start thinking about an election until very late. He could tank, as his father did when people started thinking seriously about whether they wanted to see him on TV for another 4 years.

  7. reignman on

    i think it’s great that Bush’s SOTU address was properly interpreted, and it HURT him accordingly. after all, he focused more on steroids than health care.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.