According to the WaPo’s Peter Baker, the White House thinks things are looking up for the President and the Republicans, now that they’ve got their new Attorney General, Bush is vetoing spending bills and the reported killings in Iraq are back to levels not seen since early 2006.
After more than two years of being buffeted by one political disaster after another, President Bush and his strategists think they may finally be getting back at least a bit of their footing. While still facing enormous challenges, from the crisis in Pakistan to the backlash over children’s health care, they hope Bush has arrested his downward spiral and established a better foundation for the remainder of his time in office.
In many ways, the shifting political fortunes may owe as much to the absence of bad news as to any particular good news. No one lately has been indicted, botched a hurricane relief effort or shot someone in a hunting accident. Instead, pictures from Iraq show people returning to the streets as often as they show a new suicide bombing. And Bush has bolstered morale inside the West Wing and rallied his Republican base through a strategy of confrontation with the Democratic Congress, built on the expansive use of his veto pen.
The unspoken premise of the article is the White House view that corrupt, failed and stalemated government is somehow good for the Republicans. Success is measured by the fact that the President and his Congressional loyalists can frustrate the popular will, prevent needed government programs from being funded, continue an unpopular war, and avoid accountability for rampant lawlessness and corruption.
Somehow, I doubt the American people view the state of the union through the same lenses. And yet Bush apologists continue whistling in the dark, finding hope in the unpopularity of Congressional Democrats:
“There’s a reason they’ve become unpopular,” said Karl Rove, who recently stepped down as deputy White House chief of staff. “They’ve taken stands that make them look churlish, small, petty and more interested in scoring political points than in doing good things for the country.”
An us-vs.-them framework is comfortable for Bush. Some Republicans said he appears more spirited as he engages in a showdown over spending. “It’s really a reinvigorated guy here,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, who traveled with Bush recently to his home state of South Carolina. “It’s noticeable. Things just seem to be moving forward and hitting on all cylinders.”
Yep. All cylinders. The government is not functioning except as a mechanism for channeling public tax dollars to private war profiteers and corporations that rip off the American public with no government oversight. The Bush economic and fiscal policies are a disaster and the dollar is tanking so fast, OPEC may dump it. Small wonder the number of Americans who think the country is headed in the wrong direction is about 70 percent. But pointing that out is just being petty and scoring political points.
Meanwhile, there is a reason why hatred of America abroad is at dangerous levels, and it is not a victory for America if the President’s Attorney General can’t define torture that the Muslim world believes has been used primarily against Muslims. Everyone but the White House understands that American foreign policy is in shambles in Pakistan, where democracy is being crushed in a extremely dangerous region, and there doesn’t seem to be anything the Administration can or is willing to do to prevent the collapse of one of the worlds’ largest democracies.
The Bush White House signaled early on that the US would not withhold billions in aid to stop Musharraf from crushing Pakistant’s democracy, and that was the only green light Musharraf needed to continue his crackdown and remain in power. Since then the White House and Negroponte have been trying to cover for Bush’s poor judgment and America’s betrayal of several hundred million Muslim people. Now the New York Times reports that we’re seriously thinking about sending in more military advisers and spending untold millions more funding local militias to fight the bad guys. So the message to the Pakistanis is, “we can’t/won’t do much to save your democracy, but we’d sure like to fund a civil war in your Northern Territories. Can we send in more US military?”
The Bush/Cheney regime is a national and international catastrophe, but it’s all good for Republicans.
Update: Apparently Karl Rove missed this recent poll showing the public has a favorable view of Democrats. Republicans? — not so much. (h/t katherine Graham Cracker)
The Nov. 2-4, 2007, poll finds 54% of Americans saying they have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, while 37% have an unfavorable opinion. Ratings of the Republican Party are much more negative, with 40% favorable and 50% unfavorable.
The public’s ratings of the Republican Party have improved slightly in recent months, edging up from 36% in July to 40% in early November. The current ratings are at roughly the levels seen in April and at several points in 2006. The party’s unfavorable ratings are down nine points since September and are now on the low end of what Gallup has measured since 2006.