18 January 2009

17% of Americans are Delusional, Perhaps Mentally Ill

A New York Times/CBS News poll finds that Bush is exiting on 22 percent approval rating, his lowest numbers even while he was in office. That part is unsurprising. His approval numbers have been between 20-30 percent for a long time now, and nobody can even remember (apart from just after 9/11) when he actually enjoyed any measure of mass popularity. Presidents should not be slaves to polls, but this one should have at least noticed the trend lines.

What's really odd about this poll, though, is that they still found some people (and not just a handful, 17 percent) who rated Bush's term of office as "good" or "very good." Now look -- reasonable people can argue about whether Bush succeeded in what he set out to do, but I draw a complete blank when I try to imagine someone actually thinking that Bush took good care of the country and its interests.

The "fake outrage" pundits are just reciting talking points most of which they don't really believe, the rich aren't anywhere near as rich as they were just a year ago (ironically, all that money Bush threw at them evaporated in the stock market!), all those companies that got great huge tax breaks -- the so-called "white collar" businesses -- are going bankrupt or being nationalised via bailouts, and even those people who buy the whole line about "Bush kept us safe" -- after allowing two major terrorist attacks on his watch, that is -- can't seriously believe that (apart from that) he did a good job at anything else, can they?

Unless you believe that the job of a Republican president starts -- and ends -- with the mandate to "drive liberals crazy while raping the Constitution and bankrupting the nation," on which count Bush was a huge success, where do these "true believers" get the notion that Bush's term produced anything "good" or "very good"?

I'm genuinely looking for help here -- I can't think of a single program, policy, proposal or legislative item that even Bushies could call an unqualified success. The one thing Bush points to as he leaves office as something he's most proud of -- increasing aid to Africa to fight AIDS -- would have happened anyway, and without the "abstinence only" and anti-abortion claptrap added by Bush that hobbled the program's effectiveness.

His anti-terror policies have to date produced zero specific threats stopped or genuine terrorists caught. His main agenda -- to force democracy on the Middle East -- has been an objective failure. His fiscal policy -- well, nuff said really. Social Security? Illegal wiretaps? New Orleans? The "permanent Republican Majority?" All of these things and many more went down in flames.

But what's scarier to me -- a lot scarier -- is not that Bush and his administration keep talking like nothing's wrong. They have to say that, don't they? It's in no way reflective of how they really feel -- ask Scott McClellan .

What's scary is that there are apparently some number of regular Americans -- not the super-rich, not the lobbyists, not people Dick Cheney has shot at least once, not Republican congressional types -- who actually believe their shit.

All I can say is that I hope Obama puts some money aside for better, smarter education policies and some serious efforts at mental health promotion -- America has got a substantial bloc of voters who are completely detached from reality by the most clear definition of the term anyone has yet produced.

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