Friday, March 03, 2006

The Problem with Bush

President Bush’s approval ratings continue to fall and this time it doesn’t seem to be one big, bad event that is fueling the decline. Instead, I think a certain degree of Bush-fatigue has set in.

The frustrations with this administration are coming from two directions. The first, and most common critique is that Bush and his team are incompetent. The second and less heard critique is that Bush has lost his way primarily on the War on Terror and spread of freedom. What this tells me is that Bush is losing his grip on both pragmatists and idealists. If that trend continues, he’ll be left with nothing but the lapdogs.

I think the problem is that this President has too long relied on rhetoric over substance to move his agenda along. This is the marketing presidency where “the sell” is given a lot more attention than the product. Of course, government is not a marketing campaign. People expect real results, whether they’re pragmatists or idealists.

And Bush is not delivering results. He’s told us that we’re committed to spreading freedom across the globe. But other than our continuing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, what are we doing? This administration has done a very poor job of explaining the War on Terror outside the context of military action and has thus allowed its critics around the world to wrongly but effectively paint our efforts as nothing more than blatant imperialism.

On the domestic side, its hard to find many positives. Social Security reform was a disastrously bungled affair. Katrina exposed the administration as a hotbed of hacks. The Medicare prescription drug plan is proving itself to be ridiculously overcomplicated. And, on the issue of warrantless wiretapping, the administration decided it was easier to ignore the law rather than work with Congress to make appropriate and necessary changes.

Take the foreign and domestic together and the administration really seems lost in a bog, not knowing which direction to go and unable to move even if they could choose a path. An approval rating below 40% seems about right for a situation like this.

As for me, I’ve never been a big Bush supporter but I’ve never been much of an opponent either. When he’s been right, I’ve supported him. When he’s been wrong, I’ve criticized him. But I do hope he gets his mojo back. The radical Islamist threat is not going away. And we have domestic problems that will take a lot more than another tax cut to fix.

We are in no position to be spinning our wheels for the next two years.


Blogger cakreiz said...

You're absolutely right, Alan- we don't have the luxury of treading water for 2 more years (to use a similar metaphor). But we will. Partisanship has become so endemic in our political system that we can't reach out for common goals. It's brutal.

4:11 PM  
Blogger cakreiz said...

Alan, Dave Schuler at "The Glittering Eye" made this simple observation that is so consistent with your post:

"Regardless of the acrimony between them, our liberals and conservatives continue to resemble each other in their views more closely than they do their corresponding numbers in other countries (much to the confusion and dismay of foreign observers)."

We lose sight of this so often.

8:38 AM  
Blogger sid said...

women in afghanistan or iraq or anywhere in the arab world if suspected to have an affair would be taken burried till the waist...and there would come an angry mob who would start pelting her wid stones big nough to hirt a lot not as big to kill instantly... thanks to bush it's not happening that often as it used to happen! but i do think iraw was a mistake... iran is bigger threat than iraq... they openly stated that they want israel to be wiped off the map and it is so very obvious they want to deelop nuclear bombs!
i am bush supporter.... ppl say he is a warmonger but then who started this was it was islam in the name of jehad! bush is like the father of a house he is taking the necessar steps to keep his family safe from danger

5:55 AM  

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