16 May 2004


If Kevin Drum can steal something from Stephen Ruggles, so can I:

I think this chart, which shows Bush's popularity through all the polls, reveals a much wider and seriously under-reported trio of truths:

1. Bush has never really been popular on his own merits. Let's face it, any President is, by virtue of some respect for the office, going to pull 50% approval unless he's a total incompetent (Bush is down to 42% on that, btw). Looking at Bush's numbers prior to 9/11 and the slow slide back to that point in the mid-50s after the novelty of each new crisis wears off, proves that Bush's "core support" has always been very weak.

2. This administration is a dog-and-pony show. We used to joke that the Reagan gang was all smoke and mirrors, but the Bushies are the true sleight-of-handsters. Just like they squandered all the goodwill the world gave us after 9/11, they have squandered every opportunity they've had to build up some real goodwill among the American people. They think they can just keep us entertained/outraged long enough and nobody will notice.

3. It is in the administration's own best interest to manufacture a crisis just before the election. Again, not-so-paranoid liberals have been nervously joking about an "October Surprise" such as the capture of Osama timed to a key moment before the election, but as this graph clearly shows, the White House has to be thinking that this this the only way they're keeping their jobs. I hate to sound like a conspiracy nut, but Karl Rove can see this data same as I can, and draw the obvious conclusion: the best thing that could possibly happen to George W. Bush would be another terrorist attack on the United States about two-three weeks prior to the election.

Frankly -- and you cannot possibly imagine how much it shames me to say this -- I cannot in good conscience dismiss this possibility. I can't put such a treasonous act beyond the reach of this administration and their operatives. What a horrible, horrible thing to say ... and believe me it's an even worse thing to believe. But there's more than a little evidence that suggests that Rove and company will do quite literally anything to keep this sham going.