Saturday, May 06, 2006

Damnfoolishness is not Conservatism

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: Bush Age: the Meltdown

Andrew shows two graphs, which I commend to you, and then cites the author.
The data are really quite remarkable. Here are two graphs, cited by Mark Blumenthal and created by Charles Franklin here and here.

Franklin comments:

I was frankly shocked at the above results. Other presidents have suffered low approval ratings, and President Bush still stands above the lows of four of the ten other post-war presidents. But I had not appreciated how much the current approval is below other mid-term approval ratings, even without extrapolating current trends. We have simply never seen a president this unpopular going into a midterm election.

I will be surprised if the current rate of decline continues. But I will also be surprised by a sustained upturn at the rate of November-January. Either would be an extreme outcome. But approval between the upper 20s and lower 30s seems entirely plausible. There is no precedent for a midterm with approval at those levels.

Emphasis mine.

Sullivan is predicting the Dems win control of both houses. I personally would not be surprised to see a sweep of both houses, inasmuch as I feel that GWB is seen as merely the head of a large, red pimple that needs squeezing.

Ew. Pardon my metaphor, but it's early in the morning for me; the internal censors are not yet online. But I've been thru something like this before; the Progressive-Conservative meltdown in Canada.

The Rt. Hon. Avril Phaedra Douglas
("Kim") Campbell,
PC, QC, LLB, LLD (h.c.)
Prime Minister of Canada
Periods in office: June 25November 3, 1993
Deputy Prime Minister:
Predecessor(s): Brian Mulroney
Successor(s): Jean Chrétien
Date of birth: March 10, 1947
Place of birth: Port Alberni, British Columbia
Political party: Progressive Conservative\Social Credit
Here's my Home girl, Kim Campbell, the only person who has had the honor of having me work on their campaign.

I thought it would be good for the country, and not incidentally, it would be good to be on the winning team.

Now, unlike GWB, Kim went into the election with a 30 point lead, it wasn't a midterm (Canada doesn't do that) and really all she needed to do was prove that she was neither Brian Mulroney nor Jean Chrétien. To borrow a feminist joke likely older than I, "fortunately, this was not difficult."

What she could not overcome was institutional arrogance within the party itself.

There was strong negative reaction to an ad created by US consultants targeting the Liberal Leader for, well, having a face like he has; the result of a stroke. It was a misstep that could have been handled, had it been possible to communicate, but campaign staffers were so busy jamming everyone's faxes with self-congratulatory doodles that we could no react to the breaking news, get candidate reactions out to the papers, etc.

The rank and file were so assured of victory, so sure they deserved victory for being the party in power with an overwhelming majority and an overwhelming approval rating they did not even consider the need to pay attention to the news, or work to dispel the unavoidable shadow of the previous leader, who had instated the Goods and Services Tax - more commonly referred to as the "Gouge and Screw Tax."

When this situation came up, it was sort of a litmus test; would Kim go on air, retire the arrogant sods who put such an offense on the air and in one stroke recast the image of the Leadership? Or would there be the Usual Silence? The Conservatives had long since lost the habit of being sensitive to the whims of public opinion, trusting that Canadians were too conservative to vote for a Scary Liberal. They held a crushing majority in Parliament. It was simply a pro-forma anointment of a new face on the old machine.

There was no response from Kim, nor any significant member of the team that disavowed the offensive ad as being beyond the pale.

But it probably would not have helped, for the stream of useless chatter proved that the complacency among the real body of the party - the rank and file, the volunteers, the people who do the work - was immovable. That attitude comes from the top down, and even had Kim been an exception – she would have been up against the party people who thought going negative was a good idea.

Well, multiply that sort of entrenched arrogance by several orders of magnitude. Read a Rightie blog these days. Listen to talk radio, to here what the Right in general considers to be issues of importance, who's to blame and what to do about them and you will hear a radical disconnection from the rest of the nation.

It's not a difference in viewpoints as to how to proceed; we are speaking of entirely separate realities.

I found this citation while searching for "Bill Manders," a local Conservative talk show host who's noted for his amiable persona and reflexive conservatism. I was going to speak to that, but I think the link should suffice. So I'll just let you go look at all the "feel-good" pictures designed to assure the unthinking that We Are Doing The Right Thing and instead quote something that will not insult your intelligence.

This comes from a local blog with the unwieldy title of Say No To Jim and Dawn Gibbons, written by Jack Bower, who's blogger blurb reads:
Jack Bower
Location:Fernley, Nevada, United States

Native Nevadan political junkie and die-hard progressive democrat that stays active and involved in the color blue.

Jim Gibbons: Lock-Step Tail Grabbing Elephant

This afternoon Jim Gibbons was live on the Bill Manders Show spouting fresh GOP talking points about the new Democrat plan for America called “Real Security”. He accused the so-called “Do As We Say, Not As We Do” Democrats of playing politics and said the plan would make “America weaker”. Something else revealed during the interview was his yes vote on HR4437.

Democrat “Real Security” plan…
1. Eliminating Osama bin Laden
2. Providing our troops with the necessary armor in Iraq
3. Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations
4. Transitioning full sovereignty in Iraq to the Iraqi people
5. Inspecting 100% of inbound cargo
6. Energy Independence
7. Securing loose nukes

Republican “Security” Plan...
1. Try catching Osama Bin Laden
2. Start a war first, arm troops second
3. Ignore 9/11 Commission Recommendations
4. Stay in Iraq as long as it takes
5. Sell ports to foreign countries and inspect limited cargo
6. Invade and occupy insecure oil nations
7. Ignore loose nukes
8. Defend President Bush's Iraq policy and call Democrats un-American for opposing the war in Iraq.
posted by Jack Bower at 6:18 PM

Ok. Now, a few little comments here. I don't know where Bower sourced his "Real Security" plan, but it is entirely consistent with what I think of as good old-fashioned classic Conservatism. The dismissal of actual Republican plan is a reasonable summation of apparent policy from an informed public perspective. Ignoring loose nukes and fissionables (a vital issue central to the entire Plamegate issue) is to me a complete failure of intelligence. Not in the information gathering sense; I’m speaking of willful stupidity.

This, and the cascade of utter failure in regard to basic domestic disaster planning by FEMA proves to me Bushites simply do not comprehend the realities behind their own rhetoric. They do not think beyond the bumper sticker. The Republican reaction to any complicated problem is to smash something or imprison someone. And if all else fails, it’s Clinton’s fault.

I think we deserve leadership that has more to offer us than petulant whining and temper-tantrums. But that is the sum of it; a cabal of three-year-olds is leading us. They need to be spanked and sent to bed.

If one is genuinely concerned about having large and sudden radioactive holes appear in our major cities, then securing stray fissionable material would seem like a priority for our national security apparatus. In a time of “war,” it might also be best for our premier domestic counter terrorism apparatus – the FBI – to focus on that, instead of Internet Porn. Pornographers – even the worst of them – are simply not a threat to our national security.

Prudence is the hallmark of Conservatism. "Look first, THEN leap." The ideal of Conservative leadership is a long stretch of history wherein nothing much of interest happens. But under this so-called conservative government, we live in the most interesting times I can recall - and I recall the Cuban Missile Crisis!

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