"A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing." — Muhammad Ali
According to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, George W. Bush’s overall approval rating stands now at 33%. That’s 9% among democrats, 26% among independents and 73% among Republicans. The poll further points out that, since the beginning of his second term, Bush has lost sizable chunks of Republican support. That 73% is down from a 89% in January, 2005. This is the same poll that tells us the most popular, single descriptive word for Bush is incompetent. Oops.
How about Iraq? After all, national security is the republican’s signature issue, right? Eh, not so much. Accoding to NBC News/Wall Street Journal’s most recent poll, 35% of the public approves Bush’s handling of the war while 61% disapprove. And get this: only 4% are undecided, presumably because they have too much to handle walking and chewing gum simultaneously. Oops again.But aside from Iraq, Republicans still enjoy a national security advantage, right? Look away, Unka Karl (the horror!). NPR released a poll yesterday that includes the following absolutely devastating conclusions in its executive summary:
Democrats win every security debate in this poll and when voters are asked who they trust more on issues including the Iraq war, foreign ownership of US ports, and homeland security issues, Democrats come out on top. The only exception is the nuclear threat in Iran, where Republicans have a narrow 5 point advantage.
[snip. . .]
Democrats have an historic 15 point advantage (52 to 37 percent) in the generic congressional vote, the result of an emerging trend over the last 7 months and serious conclusions drawn about President Bush, the war in Iraq, and the economy. These results are brought about by independents including mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Baby-Boom college voters moving away from the Republicans and by a crash in key parts of the Republican base. The parties are now running even in the white rural counties and in the counties carried by Bush in 2004. Older blue collar voters – most impacted by the changing economy, and least interested in foreign spending and foreign ownership of American ports – have pulled away from the Republicans.
On November 3, 1969, the spiritual father of today’s Republican Party, Richard M. Nixon ("When the president does it, that means it’s not illegal."), delivered a speech containing the following famous phrase regarding another failed, idiotic war:
"So tonight, to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support. I pledged in my campaign for the Presidency to end the war in a way that we could win the peace."
That was then; this is now. Today, March 18, 2006, we clearly have a new Silent Majority. It is not heard through the establishment media, though it shows up in the polls. And guess what: that majority includes the coveted likely voters. How do you think they feel about the president asserting the right to sniff panties in your home without a warrant?
I think Harry Reid is catching on. Otherwise, he would not have said of George Bush yesterday, "I really do believe this man will go down as the worst president this country has ever had." Representative Jane Harman got a lesson from the Silent Majority yesterday, too, when she got an earful over at kos (as Jane pointed out last night) over chalenging the president on warrentless wiretapping.
Nope. No more silence from the Silent Majority. And while the netroots/grassroots makes noise on the Internet and on the phone lines into the Capitol, the mass of voters will be heard in November. How will Tweety survive?
Take another look at that man in the picture above. In his day, establishment elites like Tweety wanted him to shut his damn mouth. They wanted him to accept his birth name when he chose another. They wanted him to fight a war he knew was bullshit. He refused. To their unending exasperation, he would not be silent. He’s the model for today’s Silent Majority. Let’s get LOUD!
Today’s Silent Majority wants to see action from leaders in Washington, not just timid posturing. In that vein, I have some advice for Harry Reid (Minority Leader) and Chuck Schumer (head of the DSCC) in the Senate: take a look at those polls again. It’s time to play some offense. Get in front of the parade by getting behind Feingold’s censure motion.
If you do, I’ll bet many of the remaining 26% of democrats who currently oppose censure will flip to support it, moving overall population support for censure from 48% to well over 50% (hat tip to eRiposte). Some independents will follow along, too, if you stand together and make your case to a public starving for alternative leadership. (Note: censure polling varies by the wording of the question.) That will boost democratic turnout for the midterms, and also happens to be a political stance for the right fucking principle: the president does not get to break or ignore the law at his whim.
Nancy Pelosi (Minority Leader) and Rahm Emanuel (head of the DCCC) in the House, you have homework, too. Play some damn offense. End the off-the-record ethics truce in the House, and start filing charges. CREW has a fine list you and your senate colleagues have been ignoring for some time. Every indication is this year will hold a nationalized midterm election. Let your people run on accountability and ethics in Washington and ride the wave to glory. This is no time for rope-a-dope.
All this friendly advice comes with a warning: the Silent Majority will not be denied. The tectonic plates of American politics are fundamentally shifting. To those who would get in the way of the new majority politics, consider: like that guy in the picture, we in the Silent Majority know how to handle those who stand in our way.
PS – Don’t forget to set your TiVo to record Christy (ReddHedd) on C-Span tomorrow morning at 7:45. We love ya, Redd!