Friday, November 04, 2005

Enough is Enough

While I would love to revel in Bush's latest and lowest poll numbers to date, I have to resist my schadenfreude instincts to focus on the great picture... We are in trouble. With either a 37% or 35% approval rating (depending on which poll you use), Bush is getting dangerously close to loosing support from all Americans with the exception of the 25-30% of Americans who could watch him eat a baby on live TV and somehow still blame it on the Democrats.

A president that has a 60% disapproval rating is a serious hindrance to the greater good of this country. So many people disapproving of the president leaves him impotent, not only domestically, but internationally as well. No foreign leader is going to want to seriously deal with a president that cannot muster even a 50-50 split.

The president has continually tried to lead through division of the nation. It not only hurts us as a unified nation, but, in the end, hurts his ability to be an effective leader. Bush needs to take corrective action immediately to bring this nation back together and to improve his own standing with the American people. If this means he goes out of office being viewed favorably, so be it. But Bush needs to start governing from the center, not the right. He needs to sweep clean his administration of the actual and perceived unethical actors and bring in new blood. He needs to sweep clean his administration of the cronies and sycophants that he has placed in top positions and replace them with experienced and intelligent individuals capable of doing the job they are assigned.

This will take a fundamental change in Bush's character. He will have to forego his absolute loyalty to his friends. He will have to admit to mistakes and missteps. He will have to govern as if he was elected by both the right and left, and not just the right. He will have to reach out to the opposition party to find common ground, and not just battle ground.

If he is to do this, Democrats will need to put aside their partisan differences and visceral distaste for Bush and work with him and support him. If the president puts out his hand, the left will need to extend their own. The right, in return will need to support Bush in reaching out and stop claiming they hold all the power and all the cards in the U.S. They will have to accpet compromise instead of absolutism.

Anyone can lead with division. It takes real leadership to lead by inclusion. It is time Bush becomes a real leader. And if he does, it is time for the left to accept him as one.

Bush's Popularity Reaches New Low

Bush Public Support at Lowest Level Yet

5 comments:

wyneken said...

Dingo, with all due respect, you're crazy on this one. For one thing, it's absurd even to contemplate that George W. Bush might undergo a character change of the kind you envision here -- even out of a crass interest in self-preservation.

More importantly, however, the left should never, ever put out a hand to this man. Think of the crimes committed by his government, with or without his explicit approval. Think of the damage this man has wrought upon international institutions, the rule of law, the basic democratic underpinnings of American society, the global environment. This man must be held accountable.

Three more years is not forever. The crucial thing is that Bush, his administration, and everything they stand for be repudiated -- if not in the short term, by the legal or political process, then in the long term, by history. It is equally crucial that the left remain true to itself and its own historic principles.

Of course, the issue is moot. Bush will not change and neither will the institutions and power structures that support him.

Beth said...

You know I'm a die-hard, although I have to say I spit my Coke with the "eat a baby on TV" line. hahahahaha ;-)

Anyway, I know where you're coming from, and your point that our being more united makes us a better country is exactly on target. We've GOT to find common ground and work with that, rather than having laser-like focus on differences. I know there seems to be little common ground sometimes, but it is there for those who WANT to find it.

I do sometimes wonder if there's ever going to be a President that isn't despised by a segment of society any more, with the "information age" being what it is now (a mixed blessing, in some regards). Imagine if we were as wired and tuned in during the Clinton administration as we are now--some of that was bad enough without the blogosphere (i.e. the stupid Vince Foster "murder" accusations, and God knows, the Paula Jones/Monica mess).

It's funny, though--now that Bill Clinton is out of office for a while, everyone's opinion of him has softened just a bit (maybe because of comparisons to some of the current Democratic leadership? or just Hillary?). I suspect the same will happen when Bush's term is over, and some of the more hysterical anti-Bush types can see that they will have survived, despite the gloom and doom predictions of apocalypse. Maybe they will, maybe not. I guess it just has to do with one's faith in America, rather than putting it all in one man or the government.

Anyway, good post. Your party needs more pragmatists (note I didn't say "centrists", I said PRAGMATISTS) like you, or they'll stay in the wilderness. Actually, we ALL need more pragmatists and a lot fewer short-sighted pure ideologues.

tommy said...

I don't think there will be any uniting because I don't think it's actually desired by enough people on either side.

When he was governor here, Bush really was able to get both sides to unite for the most part. As a result I'm prone to thinking the problem isn't so much the president (whoever it might be) but Washington.

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

One of the issues, as I see it, is the Dems making a big mistake.

They cannoy make the platform for their case about ethics- if for no other reason than that brings comparison with the previous administration.

That is NOT a knock an the Dems- there is no question if they could erase the ethics issues of the last administration, they would. The average American, on either side of the aisle, was appaled, in the same way Nixon's administration horrified the GOP rank and file.

The Dems need to rally with a CAUSE, a PROGRAM- not simply ABB (Anyone but Bush), punctuated with raw hate.

Had the dems said, we can do better- without making moral comparisons (which they cannot win), they would have a shot at big prize.

Dingo said...

Well, you all make some good points, but something needs to be done. This partisanship hurts us all, rich and poor, right and left, black and white.

It may or may not be achievable, but I would ceratianly like someone to try.