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Ear to the Ground

Bush’s PR Blitz Fails to Move a Disapproving Public

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Posted on Jan 17, 2009
Bush
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

President George W. Bush as he boards Marine One at the White House on Friday.

Despite his 11th-hour bid to tilt the public approval meter slightly in his direction and put a good word in about his own legacy (see farewell address), outgoing President Bush has been slapped back by an apparently unimpressed public, as demonstrated by a recent New York Times/CBS News poll.


The New York Times:

When asked about Mr. Bush’s performance over the last eight years, 22 percent of respondents said they approved. That matched Mr. Bush’s job-approval rating for much of last fall, the lowest of his presidency. In the current poll, 73 percent disapproved of his performance over the course of his two terms.

Disapproval cut across party lines, with Democrats, independents and even 34 percent of Republicans critical of Mr. Bush’s performance.

In contrast, Mr. Bush’s most recent predecessors left office with approval ratings ranging from 68 percent, for both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, to 44 percent, for Jimmy Carter. Mr. Bush’s father left with 54 percent.

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By samosamo, January 19, 2009 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

By KDelphi, January 19 at 2:26 pm #

What I just cannot figure out is, who the hell are this 27-28% who still think that Bush “did a good job”?????????
***************************************************

Oh, come on kdelphi, you disappoint me, I think better of you than that question. I would say that those 27-28% are the recipients of all that pork legislation, earmarks, grants, taxpayers money given to religions of w’s choice and no-fucking-bid-contracts; and being the greatest case of grand larceny in history anyone of those getting their unfair share would could not do anything other than think w & dick did a great job. A reversal of robinhood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, w & dick(a whole lot of congressionals also) simply took our taxmoney and gave it to their friends and corporations which was another facade of our ‘strong’ economy w & dick were so proud of all the way to the end, tomorrow.

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By Jim C, January 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi , we need to reverse the reagan tax cuts .

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By KDelphi, January 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

What I just cannot figure out is, who the hell are this 27-28% who still think that Bush “did a good job”?????????

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By felicity, January 19, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

samosamo - you’ve got a point.  Bill Kristol wrote a letter to Clinton in ‘98 urging him to launch an attack on Iraq.  Kristol is quite proud of his neocon status.

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By JohannG, January 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Don’t insult Alfred E. Neuman by comparing him to ex-president Bush.

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By KDelphi, January 19, 2009 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Ed Harges—good article!

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By Ed Harges, January 19, 2009 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

re: By dihey, January 18 at 9:13 am:

Yes, Dihey, the ‘defensive war” principle is very useful. Justifial defensive war must be narrowly defined, or it becomes absurd, as we go down the Israeli path of “preventive war”, which in pracice is indistinguishable from “war of aggression”.

A writer at the Huffington Post recently made this point very well, regarding Israel’s “preventive” justifications for its aggressions:

“So, yes, you do not bomb just because the other side might acquire one percent of the weapons you have. Otherwise, you will always be bombing…If your threshold for starting violence is that the other side is thinking about it (close to the rationale we used in Iraq), then you will always be starting wars. Self-defense, my ass. Those are called first strikes….”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/what-was-i srael-supposed_b_155688.html

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By msgmi, January 18, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GW’s blitz to resurrect and preserve his legacy drowns in hubris. From the invasion of Iraq, the Katrina debacle, the butchering of the environment, the financial meltdown, the emasculation of DOJ, the legal distortions to legitimize executive power and subversion of the constitution speaks for itself. And what can one say about this administrations prized effort in funding abstinence-only sex education to the tune of $176 million. This departing executive has left a mark of a stoned ideologue whose words of compassion for the people were empty and his hubris had no bounds.

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By KDelphi, January 18, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Ash—I remember very well! Bill Clinton! And, I can guarantee you, that, now that the DLC is back in power—-it will be the same. There will be “recovery’ for the rich, GITMO will NOT be “closed” in 100 days—Obama is already saying it would be to difficult! (They will probably let a few high profile people out, and, have it staffed by Blackwater) What we do NOT need it a “stimulus” pkg full of tax cuts for business—we need to REVERSE the Bush tax cuts! There will be no economic recoveryhuntil we have revenue.

I have noidea what makes you believe that those things will happen.If you listen more closely to Obama, you will realize that he never even said that those things wil happen.

Change? How about an END to the “war on terror”? How about cutting the military budget? Taking a stand, to stop excusing everything Israel does?Reversing the tax cuts? Single payer health care? Dump faith based initiatives??

Its just “back to Clinton”. Better than Bush, Jr. But, no , not better than Bush Sr.—I just dont think that it will be. There will be excuses for everything, as to why they cant do this or do that. Just watch.

As long as money runs the country (over morality), there wil be no real change4. Period.

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By samosamo, January 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

By Nancy Wall, January 18 at 1:31 am

America, at least as the people knew it, will not last much longer IF there is not an effort to have the many many laws that have been broken, ignored or trampled on all for the benefit of those political ‘elite’ that have done much for those for whom they have criminally served and are not brought to justice. You are correct in maintaining hope for all those in the w & penis administration from w on down that have for their and a few other’s financial, political and personal gain are wearing those orange jump suits and shinning braclets. It will be a huge and devestating blow to our country and the world to send the signal that no prosecution of these criminals will happen where it would be a very healthy relief to everyone and our democracy that there is accountability and a day of answering for one’s illegal behavior. And it should not be held at those in government positions that are served justice but those corporate elite and financial elite that hide behind the skirt(curtain) having puppets do their bidding, those people need prosecution also.
And don’t forget w’s blatant reply to a reporter’s question about pardons and immunity at his last press conference, ‘I will not comment here on pardons’ to paraphrase his response. He will try his best to weasel out of any justice on him or his buddies. And now it is up to obama’s administration or some conscienous DA to keep any weaseling from happening.

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By dihey, January 18, 2009 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

One of the fundamental questions spawned by the 9/11 attack is whether this terrorist attack was an “act of war” or a crime. Just because someone says it is or is not evades the issue. One has to be careful with simplistic gut-answers. Take the case of the car-bombing in Oklahoma City. Clearly a terrorist attack perpetrated by American citizens. It was considered and treated as a crime and not an act of war. Then why would an act of terror perpetrated within the USA by foreigners be an act of war that warrants the invocation of the President’s war-powers act to construct a new class of “enemy-combatants? 

I do not have any clear-cut answers for the questions but I would immediately distrust anyone who believes he/she does have the correct answers.

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By Conservative Yankee, January 18, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Funny, on what is alleged to be a “provressive/liberal website” people continue to debate the legality of the Iraq war. True progressives know that the “law” far from a static entity shifts with the tides of time and public sentiment. The Iraq war is clearly illegal under conditions for prosecuting Nazis, but perfectly legal under post 9/11, hawk-packed Supreme court. Hell the 2000 election was “legal”

The big question is will the law stay static in its current poise, until Bush et al die? or will it change yet again and allow his execution for treason?

One can only wait and hope…

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By dihey, January 18, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Ed

You are almost certainly right. I have made the argument of the US Supreme Court ruling to show that the Congress did legally declare war on Iraq.

The beauty of testing wars according to the “defensive war” principle is that in most cases the answers cannot be as evasive as in the case of was it an “aggressive war”. Take the recent case of Russia vs. Georgia. Even today there are lingering arguments as to who fired the first shot.

With regards to the invasion of Iraq, apologists like
“ThankyouBush” have to answer a number of clear-cut questions on the choice-of-two basis, namely yes or no.

1. Before the Bush-ordered invasion of Iraq had the Government of Iraq ever threatened to attack the United States of America?
2. Before the Bush-ordered invasion of Iraq had Iraq fully mobilized all of its reportedly puny military forces? (a joke was: Iraqi kite rams US fighter plane).
3. At the time of the Bush-ordered invasion of Iraq had Iraq’s soldiers boarded troop-carrying vessels protected by an armada of warships with the intent to sail for Hawaii or the West Coast of the USA?
4. At the time of the Bush-ordered invasion of Iraq had the Government of Iraq readied its air force to attack Pearl Harbor or San Francisco?
5. At the time of the Bush-ordered invasion of Iraq was there any creditable evidence that Iraq had conspired with Al Quaida or other terrorist groups to carry out terrorist attacks in the USA? To the best of my knowledge every rumor to that effect has been debunked by the CIA so “ThankyouBush” be forewarned.
6. At the time of the Bush-ordered invasion of Iraq was there any evidence that Iraq had nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles sitting in silos ready to be fired at the USA (Condi’s “mushroom cloud”)?

Do you see how utterly devastating questions on “defensive war” can be?

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By troublesum, January 18, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

We have to understand that the US has violated international law so many times and abetted Israel in its violations, that for many people it is “opposed” to US law.  This is what makes the US a rogue state.

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By knute, January 18, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only way bu$h could possibly impress me. Would be wearing an orange suit breaking rocks by day, and serving as bubba’s bitch by night. This guy has done more harm to america then a dozen Bin Ladens could ever hope to accomplish. This spoiled, clueless idiot along with the rest of his neo-con driven cabinet needs to be held accountable as the war criminals they are..but more then that, they have shown us our broken our system is that it could elect criminals like this to the highest offices.

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By Ed Harges, January 18, 2009 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

re: By dihey, January 18 at 8:05 am:

Dihey: you write that the Iraq war may have been legal under US slaw, but that “international law is a different matter”.

Well, if the war violated international law, then it violated US domestic law, because we have signed onto those laws in the form of treaties, duly ratified by Congress — and therefore those treaties have the force of domestic law.

So no, dihey, international law is not really “a different matter” in this case.

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By dihey, January 18, 2009 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Thankyoubush

I have repeatedly pointed out on this site that the invasion of Iraq was legal in the context of our Constitution and not because of any votes in Congress (by the way, since when is “subversive” equal to “invade”?)but because of a 1990 ruling of the US Supreme Court which held that voting funds for a specific was is the equivalence of a declaration of war.

International law is a different matter though. I was not referring to any actions by the dysfunctional organization known as United Nations but to its Charter which recognizes only defensive wars as legal. Incidentally, that principle was also established during the Nuremberg trials to defuse the arguments of Goering c.s. that Germany had to attack the Soviet Union in “self defense”.

Perhaps you are right that we are no longer an occupying force in Iraq. I am not sure, however, that the Geneva Conventions on Warfare or, for that matter, the Iraqi people agree with you.

By the way, SOFA repeatedly refers to the need of “military operations” by US forces against Iraqi citizens. In my opinion such military operations are the hallmark of “occupation”.

Well, Thankyoubush,you have not answered my question whether the invasion of Iraq was a defensive war as defined by international law meaning that an attack by Iraq on our country was imminent? Do you have the chutzpah to say “yes”?

Lastly, President Clinton’s demand for “regime change” in Iraq, a member of the UN, by subversion was illegal too.

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By Nancy Wall, January 18, 2009 at 2:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush is soooo over.  I had to really commend the reporters at his last news conference.  They looked liked they were having a hard time keeping their shoes on.

I do hold hope in a bold prosecutor coming forward soon.  Most likely there will be no help from Obama as he has said he’s looking forward.  To bad that Obama isn’t at least concerned for the bad example he is showing his own children.

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By samosamo, January 17, 2009 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment

Does anyone smell a neocon, the true terrorists that plotted and planned for so many decades beginning in the nixon era and continue to spew puke and poison on the waves with their traitorous ideology and are the reason this country is up the creek without a paddle?

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By ThnkUBush, January 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

dihey,

YES! The battle against Saddam Hussein in Iraq was legal. Both internationally and by lawful acts of the U.S. Congress.

During his 2003 appearance on Larry King Show President Clinton explained why the President of the United States (Bush at the time) needed no further authorization from the United Nations to proceed with the military against Saddam Hussein. President Clinton was drawing on his eight years as president and as a U.S. constitutional scholar and long time student of international law.

Add to that the fact that in 1998 the U.S. Congress authorized the use of subversion to remove Hussein and followed that up with an overwhelming vote for the use of force in 2002. It’s simply a matter of well documented law. Not chutzpah.

And it’s not an occupation when the government of Iraq agrees they need, and continues a desire for, U.S. forces in their country. President Bush, Sec. Def. Gates, and even President Elect Obama have all said that if Iraq wishes U.S. forces out we will have no choice but to leave.

Iraq is stabilizing and the government welcomes our presence. Today Iraq is the sole Middle Eastern Arab nation with a representative government.

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By Ash, January 17, 2009 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KDephi wote: “I don’t, at this point, see much difference in the two parties’ policies!”

Fortunately, there is a huge difference in policy positions between the two, ranging from business regulation, environmental stewardship, civil liberties, fair taxes, workers rights, science, health, education, foreign relations…you name it, there are black and white differences.

Now then, you want to say that the Dems have been too weak-kneed to stand up to the GOP? Okay, I’ll back that…but that isn’t because they had the same policy stances.

But with a new Democratic president, you are going to see some radical changes. Within the first 100 days, you will see a huge stimulus package, Gitmo ordered closed, the elimination of torture as a US tactic, the lifting of the ban on stem cell research, and who knows what else. Perhaps you are too young to remember what it was like to have a government run by democrats, but just you wait. We won’t like everything, but it won’t be the same as the GOP!

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By samosamo, January 17, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

By Eric L. Prentis, January 17 at 1:30 pm

Come on Eric, I will not be satisfied until w & penis are hanging from a rope or imprisoned for the rest of their lives. Just tell them to leave and take those that benefitted at our expense with them? I think not. The worst thing this country can do is to ‘just let em go’. What remains is the idea that the next crew and especially the next neocon crew that gets into power will be multitudes of times worse than w & dick. No, the only way for a healing is for our country to leave a warining to upstarts and wannbes that would see a ‘just em go’ act as another opportunity to do it again, only much much worse. And the starting place is with the supreme court and regulations that will not allow another scalia fiasco appoint another piece of crap like w, you know, like his brother jeb. Or his other brother marvin, who was in charge of security at the world trade center when it was attacked and the 2 towers and wtc 7 were brought down by demolition. These 2 points will definitely need to be investigated and dealt with to make the next neocon power grab be less inviting to those that want even more distruction of the peoples country which by the way, your ‘just let em go’ comes awfully close to calling for another take over of our country and constitution if we ever get them back. The USA needs accountability for what has happened in the last 8 years and not going after that accountability will not be good.
And this w & penis show does not need to be placated with having a job done well to leave on on 1.20.2009, they need to keep worrying about having to answer real questions and under oath, separately, with transcripts and real media coverage and then the prosecutions.

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By elizabethe, January 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Eric Prentiss has the right pitch, but Obama is not bringing any change, he needs to go too.  Incumbents who have accomplished nothing and do not offer credible words or deeds to support the gleefuly media hype while knowing there is no substance forthcoming, do not belong in the front view, they should have been taken to task in the prelude debate of campaign coverage that the media refused to do, Barr, Baldwin, McKinney, and Nader all were on a majority of state ballots and could have net the WIN due the public for a voted genuine mandate for change that would take hold.

Instead the media endorses corruption as if the fact that it exists means it can stay, when it has reached the intolerable level in Obama’s complete hypocrisy up front and ignored by the media at a horrific level of cartoon hype.  “We can’t wait” they say to see what he will do!  “We’re asking a lot of Obama” - yes, cartoon superheroes who have close to villain backgrounds when seen from the view of proper politics and a track to stand for change, there is no such thing in view…red ink is what Obama wants and pretenses of tax cuts when the military is due for increased red ink while trillions in debt now, and the current budget is already planned for red ink for the next fiscal program year by Obama, this is all illegal, and he knows it.  Smiling and allowing the superman offensives as if that accomplishes something!  I see only insolence when I look at his smiles and his kisses of his two daughters.  It is all lies, and up front.  Yes, he intends to take the Oath of Office and ignore the wrath of the believers who really should have known they had no cause for “believe” and “audacity of hope.”

Nader offered honest policy with sanity and safety as a huge legendary and prestigeous track and those who knew him and owed the proper view that his candidacy should net limelight, instead seemed to want the status quo against democracy as incontrovertible cyncism as their preferred reality. Greed and corruption is nothing but destruction, and Obama is ready and willing.  He too, needs to go, and Hillary also.  Obliterate the obliterators from the political landscape.

Maybe truth will force justice on these cowardly villains who love red ink and weapons and have no character to offer peace the proper reality check of a budget in the black and policies on track.

For Nader, if the public were willing, he would gladly offer such straightforward, easy to understand proper Presidential democratic leadership for people against corporate corrupt war racketeering.

All four challengers, I believe should have gotten the basic and objective proper presentation from the “mainstream” media which is not “conservative” it is villainous delivery of cartoon sarcasm of ideals and reality due in good government for people.  What these villains want to do with your taxes is not what you want them to do.  And, overspending projected taxes by the trillions is not exactly a tax cut.  Unless complete dissolution is what is sought, then, maybe, yes, that could be on its way via Clintonian preface, “sooner rather than later” level!  Poor George Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson, and Ben Franklin, if they could see this media railroaded two not six choices and red and blue states who are not supposed to choose outside the incumbent corruption, what would they do?  One day at a time, I am trying to use Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “Speak in the affirmative; emphasize your choice by utterly ignoring all you reject.”  I reject Obama and his willingness to take a villains trophy into the January 20th Oath, while declaring increased war and wanting more red ink and military offensives and seeking his own new bailout now beforehand, I do not see cause for respect, but the cause to look at what he is due and what remedial justice can happen to the “Mainstream Media” who railroaded incumbents according to their own prejudices.

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By Ed Harges, January 17, 2009 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

One aspect of the Bush legacy that looks likely to continue under Obama is the sharp intensification of US subserviency to Israel.

Bush pushed the “middle” on this issue far to the right, and if the past is any guide, there won’t be much of a correction - if any - under a new president. That is because the pattern with the US/Israel relationship is that it just gets worse and worse over time, with Congress ever more robotically unanimous in its praise and lavish with its aid to the Holy State, regardless of which party is in charge.

Our politicians must play a constant game of “can you top this” when it comes to demonstrating devotion to Israel. Bush played his round of the game by going suddenly much farther than any before him in the extremity of his commitment. Now anyone who tries to go back even to the Clintonian level of obsequiousness - which was already very bad - will be targeted by the Lobby and its media barons for political destruction.

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By dihey, January 17, 2009 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

Between Election Day of November 2006 and the convening of the new Congress in January 2007 Senate Majority Leader Reid and House speaker Pelosi boasted loudly that they would end the war in Iraq soon. Well, THEY did not end that war.
Today I was jolted by the insight that the war in but not the occupation of Iraq has been ended by…...President Bush when he signed the SOFA understanding with the Government of Iraq. Article 24 of SOFA reads: “All U.S. forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, water and airspace no later than the 31st of December of 2011”. Also: “All U.S. combat forces are to withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages, and towns not later than the date that Iraqi forces assume complete responsibility of security in any Iraqi province. The withdrawal of U.S. forces from the above-mentioned places is on a date no later than the 30 June 2009”. Also: “The United States admits to the sovereign right of the Iraqi government to demand the departure of the U.S. forces from Iraq at anytime. The Iraqi government admits to the sovereign right of the United States to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq at anytime”.

If that is not the end of warfare I do not know what is.

Nevertheless, the remainder of SOFA makes clear that Iraq is still an occupied country and that the occupation force still wields considerable power.

My conclusion does not render the invasion of Iraq legal. It only recognizes that an illegal war has ended. The occupation is still illegal also.
Most critics of the invasion of Iraq make the mistake of asking “was this a legal invasion”? The much deeper probing question is “was this a legal defensive war”? because only defensive wars are recognized by the UN as potentially legal. You’ve got to have a lot of damn chutzpah to answer “yes”.

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By Jflynn, January 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Take a long, hard look at the presidents going all the way back to Jimmy Carter.  Look very closely at the interest rates being charged, look at the gradual eradication in substantive regulation, at the promises of reform, at the steady disparity of salary between CEOs and workers, the complete blockage of anti-pollution measures and ask yourself whether it really seems like we live in as free a society as you thought we did?  When you realize that all elections are a choice between two wings of the same party—the democratic capitalist party and the republican capitalist party—what do you think? 

If you want to ruminate some more, are unions growing, do you feel things are safer, what about kids toys, is your medication safe, is your food healthy, pick anything and ask yourself, is it better or worse than it was?  Then you’ll understand that consequences are total and Bush is only one agent out of many!

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By KDelphi, January 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

I dont, at this point, see much difference in the two parties’ policies! I know that conservatives are very happily surprised.

Both parties support continuing (indeed, advancing) the “war on terror”, both believe that tax cuts are magic, both believe that taxpayers should have to bail out banks and businesses,both want to “restructure” social security and Medicare. The Dems may add a little funding for the states, but, other than that, same/same.

Of course, the Dems could “change theri minds”, but, David Brooks and others from teh Brookings INstitute, sure seem to be impressedf with Obama’s poilcies.

I dont see how that can be good for any progresive causes. Its DLC—all over again

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By KDelphi, January 17, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

On the other hand, Obama seems slightly impressed, having had lunch with some of the fiercest neo-cons (Krauthammer, Will, Brooks) AND he says that Bush was always as “good guy”!

Great!

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By hippy pam, January 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

The BEST THING “ole bullshit” has done in 8 years????Movin’ the hell out of the way so the NEW PRESIDENT and HIS FAMILY can get moved in….....

and take all his “bullshit”[and his nasty little biting dog] with him…

Oh yeah-Hey “ole bullshit”-Don’t let the door hit you in your ASS on your way out…...

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By Eric L. Prentis, January 17, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Enough about the loser Bush, just GET THE H*LL OUT; take Cheney, your bailout of the crooks on Wall Street, your wars of aggression, your ineptitude with Katrina, your financial crisis, your stolen elections, your increased spending and gargantuan budget deficits, your pollution of the environment, your debasing of the US constitution, your signing statements, your beady little close-set eyes, your Alfred E. Newman smirk and all the Republican neocon warmongers with you.

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