Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ABC: New Low Approval

Driven down by the weak economy and the unpopular war in Iraq, President George W. Bush's job approval rating has reached a new low for the third month straight.

Just 28 percent of Americans approve of how the President is handling his job, matching Jimmy Carter's career low.

Only two presidents have gone lower: Richard Nixon, 24 percent in July and August 1974; and Harry Truman, 22 percent in February 1952.

Bush Hits New Low in Record High Disapproval

Sixty-nine percent disapprove of Bush's performance, a record high in presidential approval polls since 1938 (by ABC News to 1981, and Gallup before us). Fifty-six percent "strongly" disapprove of Bush's performance, another record.

Bush hasn't seen majority approval in 42 months, surpassing Truman's record of 39 months from 1949-52. Indeed Bush's approval rating hasn't exceeded even 40 percent since September 2006.

Bush approval peaks among Republicans, at 65 percent; it plummets to 27 percent among independents and only 6 percent among Democrats (the latter a new low).

It ranges from 51 percent among conservatives to 21 percent among moderates and just 7 percent among liberals (all new lows).

Friday, July 11, 2008

President George Bush: 'Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter'

George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan.

The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

Mr Bush, whose second and final term as President ends at the end of the year, then left the meeting at the Windsor Hotel in Hokkaido where the leaders of the world's richest nations had been discussing new targets to cut carbon emissions.

One official who witnessed the extraordinary scene said afterwards: "Everyone was very surprised that he was making a joke about America's record on pollution."

Mr Bush also faced criticism at the summit after Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, was described in the White House press pack given to journalists as one of the "most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice".

The White House apologised for what it called "sloppy work" and said an official had simply lifted the characterisation from the internet without reading it.

Concluding the three-day event, leaders from the G8 and developing countries proclaimed a "shared vision" on climate change. However, they failed to bridge differences between rich and emerging nations on curbing emissions.

Friday, July 04, 2008

What Bush Hath Wrought

By Andrew J. Bacevich
July 1, 2008

FEW AMERICANS, whatever their political persuasion, will mourn George W. Bush's departure from office. Democrats and Republicans alike are counting the days until the inauguration of a new president will wipe the slate clean.

Yet in crucial respects, the Bush era will not end Jan. 20, 2009. The administration's many failures, especially those related to Iraq, mask a considerable legacy. Among other things, the Bush team has accomplished the following:

# Defined the contemporary era as an "age of terror" with an open-ended "global war" as the necessary, indeed the only logical, response;

# Promulgated and implemented a doctrine of preventive war, thereby creating a far more permissive rationale for employing armed force;

# Affirmed - despite the catastrophe of Sept. 11, 2001 - that the primary role of the Department of Defense is not defense, but power projection;

# Removed constraints on military spending so that once more, as Ronald Reagan used to declare, "defense is not a budget item";

# Enhanced the prerogatives of the imperial presidency on all matters pertaining to national security, effectively eviscerating the system of checks and balances;

# Preserved and even expanded the national security state, despite the manifest shortcomings of institutions such as the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff;

# Preempted any inclination to question the wisdom of the post-Cold War foreign policy consensus, founded on expectations of a sole superpower exercising "global leadership";

# Completed the shift of US strategic priorities away from Europe and toward the Greater Middle East, the defense of Israel having now supplanted the defense of Berlin as the cause to which presidents and would-be presidents ritually declare their fealty.

By almost any measure, this constitutes a record of substantial, if almost entirely malignant, achievement.

Bush's harshest critics, left liberals as well as traditional conservatives, have repeatedly called attention to this record. That criticism has yet to garner mainstream political traction.

The 10 Most Awesomely Bad Moments of the Bush Presidency


By Brad Reed, AlterNet. Posted July 1, 2008.

A shorter version of our long national nightmare.
In a lot of ways, choosing the Bush administration's 10 greatest moments -- disastrous failures, all -- is about as pointless as picking out your 10 least favorite hemorrhoids: There are entirely too many of them, and taken together they all add up to a throbbing mass of pain. But unfortunately, history demands that we at least make the effort so that future generations will understand why we perform voodoo rituals cursing Bush's memory before we go to bed every night.

Narrowing down the Bush administration's various debacles to a mere 10 was no easy feat. In fact, I expect that many people will express dismay that their least favorite moment was left off the list. "How could commuting Scooter Libby's sentence not even make the top 10??!!" I can hear some of you shrieking already. Well, I'll tell you. Essentially, I tried to rate each Bush disaster by two main criteria: its body count and its damage to the country's reputation. So while Bush's awkward groping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be personally humiliating to everyone, it doesn't have the same heft as, say, the Iraq War.

The Ten. Note-- explanations following each item were left out here.
10: Bush Gets Re-elected
9: Alberto Gonzales' Congressional Testimony
8: North Korea Conducts a Nuclear Test
7: Colin Powell's Bogus WMD Presentation at the U.N.
6: The Terri Schiavo Affair
5: Bush and Condi's Excellent Gaza Adventure
4: "Brownie, You're Doing a Heckuva Job"
3: Abu Ghraib*
2: 9/11
1: "Mission Accomplished"
*This particular scandal was so bad that even the John Birch Society (!!!) concluded that the administration and its flunkies were war criminals.

This would not be my list-- to be sure-- but it still is a decent stab at summing up the badness.