Wednesday, August 17, 2005


(Crossposted at The American Street)

From Salon's War Room:
For the president, 38 flavors of bad

George W. Bush is a very popular president -- in Idaho.

Survey USA has pulled together a 50-state survey on George W. Bush's approval ratings. The president gets a net positive approval rating -- that is, a poll result in which more respondents approve of his job performance than disapprove -- in just 10 states: Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, Texas, Alabama, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma and Mississippi. In two other states -- Louisiana and North Carolina -- respondents are divided evenly on their president.

The other 38 states? Not so good for Bush. They don't approve of him just a little bit in Indiana and Alaska, and they don't like him much at all in Rhode Island, where respondents say they disapprove of the president's job performance by a margin of 68 to 39 percent. Rounding out the bottom five: Massachusetts, Vermont, Delaware and California.

If poll results equaled Electoral College votes, Bush would have about 75 of them right now. It takes 270 to win.
This would have been very heartening news -- in October of 2004. In August of 2005, this bodes very ill indeed.

Vindication's in the air, I can't deny it. Millions are coming to the realization they'd been sold a passel of pigshit, and the utterly enervating cognitive dissonance that pervaded the atmosphere for years seems now to be resolving itself into something more like clarity. Forty-nine percent of us saw through the smoke and mirrors last year, and shrieked like hell at every filthy diversionary tactic employed by those miserable bastards. Fifty-one percent didn't. Now those numbers have reversed themselves and then some, and we can shout "I told you so!" until our throats bleed -- but we're stuck with the result.

Vindication, sweet though it is, butters damned few parsnips.

Vindication won't prevent Iraq from collapsing into a failed state -- that "haven for terrorists" we warned about. Vindication won't prevent the next car-bomb from killing 48 more people, or however-the-hell many it was today. It won't repair the terrible damage done to the US Armed Forces, or the tattered shreds of US credibility. It won't bring back Cindy Sheehan's or anybody else's slaughtered children, or prevent more from dying.

While vindication might give you a brickbat to heave at the next wingnut you get into an argument with, that's cold comfort when the reality of the coming few years -- and the things the country's been committed to in our names -- comes to pass.

LBJ hit these kinds of numbers in 1968.

Who among us remembers 1968 fondly?


Mark Smeraldi said...

First term objective: get re-elected.
Second term objective: leave a legacy.
Mission Accomplished!!!
Man's right on track.

Mark Smeraldi said...

Forgot to mention... I'm from Rhode Island. Anecdotal evidence more than confirms those stats.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Excellent post and links. I have fond memories of '68. I was 11 and the music was great. We saw Lennon in the "Hey Jude" performance with some serious long hair and attitude. My brother was back from Viet Nam in one piece, and my parents were saying that if they had it to do over again they would have sent him to Canada. That was a leap for them, as my dad was a veteran of the good war. The times they were a changin'.

Shit - I just remembered that King and Kennedy got shot in rapid succession. Maybe that was the beginning of all this? Two charismatic liberal leaders gone...

Neddie said...

>> I just remembered that King and
>> Kennedy got shot in rapid succession.


These are the headlines John was reading while writing "Revolution 1":

- Prague Spring
- Pueblo Incident
- Tet Offensive
- Viet Cong attacks US Embassy in Saigon
- Hué
- First Battle of Saigon
- My Lai Massacre.
- Johnson decides not to run for reelection.

We're through March.

- What would become the Baader-Meinhof Gang explodes its first bomb
- MLK assassinated. Cities explode in riots. In 2005 parts of Washington DC have STILL not recovered.
- Enoch Powell delivers "Rivers of Blood" Speech
- Columbia University taken over by students
- Les Événements du Mai: Paris Riots. French Government damned nearly overthrown by students and workers
- RFK assassinated
- (hah!) Saddam Hussein becomes the Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d'état
- Prague Spring is brutally ended by Soviet invasion of Checkoslovakia
- Chicago Democratic Convention. Hippies get heads busted.

That's through August.

- DOD announces US Army and Marines will be sending about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours
- Johnson announces end to all bombing in North Vietnam effective Nov. 1.
- Nixon defeats Humphrey and Wallace in extremely close election
- On Nov. 11, bombing of Laos commences.

After all this, it's heroin and hopelessness for Dr. Winston. Any wonder?

Everybody had a good year...

Linkmeister said...

"Parts of DC still not recovered."

Is that right? I remember riding a bus down 14th St. the weekend of the MLK assassination and seeing burned out businesses on every block. We were entertaining the Guard and Marines.

The Viscount LaCarte said...


Well, if you want to get TECHNICAL...!!!

So, Ned, was that the worst year since you and I graced the planet? How about one of your most excellent essays, comparing say '01, '02 etc. to '68 or worse?

XTCfan said...

Thought-provoking post, NJ. Yes, I'm glad to see W's numbers slipping, but do I need to point out that approval ratings don't necessarily translate into action at the polls? Even when people are dissatisfied, they will stick with the devil they know, especially when that devil tells them everything they want to hear. Who cares that he didn't follow up? Our collective memory is not that long in America.

I remember 1968 well. I was 9, just starting to take an interest in the wider world, and it was obvious to me even then that 1968 was different. I would read LIFE magazine each week when it arrived, and was stunned by the images of scary (we moved to a suburb of Detroit in August of that year, and I remember my Eisenhower-Republican parents wondering if it would be safe, given the riots that had occured there the previous year) and exciting things (there were great moments in the counterculture, as all forms of expression experienced a seismic shift).

Are we in for another 1968? Unfortunately not, I think. You've written, in other forums, very articulately about the difference between then and now. As you pointed out, in the vast majority of cases, protest -- in whatever form -- is now co-opted so quickly by the Establishment that it's lost the bite it had back then. The one bright spot now, for me, is the anarchy of the 'net, and I wonder how long we'll continue to have that.

So, IMO, I think we're looking at 1986 more than 1968. Dubya has always struck me as Raygun Lite, and just as Ronnie's presidency fell apart in his second term, Dubya's will, too. (Of course, without 9/11, Dubya never would have gotten a second term.) But that won't stop a "kinder, gentler" Republican (John McCain, maybe) from getting elected in 2008. I don't think we'll get another Dem in the White House until 2012. If we're lucky. And, if we're lucky, things won't be so far gone by then that we won't be able to fix them.

Linkmeister, Ned's right, there are part of DC, especially on the NE side of the Hill (where I used to live), that have still not recovered. Amazing, and sad.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Don't forget that we have to ensure that in any election the votes are counted and not rigged. None of this matters if they rig the elections.

Neddie said...! Cock-sucka!

I had a nice thoughtful reply to xtcfan, complete with links and a parody of a 1968 protest chant -- and Blogger ATE THE BITCH.

Upshot: Nothing like a deeply unpopular war to make a Presidency fall apart, LBJ'numbers tanked nine months before the election, Bushites are here for three more years, who knows WTF they're going to try to get those poll numbers back up, protest is pointless, witness how fast Cindy Sheehan became "about" Cindy Sheehan and not "about" GWB, Hey, hey, GWB/How many kids did you kill this week?

Eat THIS, Blogger. Just you try.

Peter Beinart in today's WashPost

Kevin Wolf said...

Love what I'm reading here. Good stuff from Neddie and his correspondents.

Ned: Know you don't really want to, but more posts on politics would be appreciated by this writer (RANTER) if you could bring yourself to wax poetic on these MFs.

Well, okay, I asked...