Kevin Drum has a good graph illustrating President Bush’s declining poll numbers since the 9/11 terror attacks boosted them to unrealistic heights.
Now that they have dipped to their lowest point, Bush will make another effort to revive his stalled agenda with a nationally televized speech later tonight.
I can barely contain my enthusiasm.
In the meantime, the man who should have been president gives us a sample of what we would be hearing from our president if he had any realistic idea for salvaging our adventure in Iraq.
He first outlines some of the “Legitimate reasons... to criticize the Bush administration for its handling of the conflict”:
Our mission in Iraq is harder because the administration ignored the advice of others, went in largely alone, underestimated the likelihood and power of the insurgency, sent in too few troops to secure the country, destroyed the Iraqi army through de-Baathification, failed to secure ammunition dumps, refused to recognize the urgency of training Iraqi security forces and did no postwar planning.
He then details many of the things that we should be doing currently to relieve the pressure on our troops and speed the process along for Iraq to take charge of its own security efforts.
If we had a parlimentary system like Great Britain and Israel, Bush would be in danger of being ousted in a no confidence vote later this year. As it is, however, we are stuck with this administration for another two and a half years.
The odd thing is that if Bush were to announce tonight a timeline for pulling our troops out of Iraq by early next year, his popularity would probably skyrocket again. It would be no problem at this point to “declare victory” and bring the troops home. We’ve confirmed that there are no WMDs. Saddam Hussein and his sons have been deposed. Iraq has a new government in place and a new constitution. I’m sure if Bush were to run through this list of “success stories” and cap it off with a timeline for withdrawal, Republicans would rally around him and Democratic opposition would be undercut. Then he could focus on salvaging his domestic agenda - using some of the money that would be saved by pulling out of Iraq to fund his Social Security privatization scheme, pushing for more oil drilling in national parks and preparing to appoint more right-wing judges to the Supreme Court.
But don’t worry. Bush won’t do this. Instead, he will say that we need to “stay the course” and “finish the job”, whatever the heck that is.