This day has been long coming. The trendlines have shown it would soon be upon us. Now, here we are. With this new Harris poll, available through the Wall Street Journal , President Bush claims the titlelong held by Richard Nixon: Least Liked President Ever (or at least since there have been polls). And this data comes to us from before the USA Today reported on Bush’s NSA secretly monitoring our phone records.
Bush’s approval rating is now at 29%, and disapproval at an astonishing 71%. Well, it’s astonishing that it took so long to get there. But it’s also record-setting. The best Nixon could do was 66%. Nobody else comes close. Bush is breaking new ground.
Among Democrats, 10% approve of the job Bush is doing. But that’s just those wacky Democrats (although a fair number of Republicans have switched parties during Bush’s reign). Among Independents, support is surely much higher. Well, not really. It’s actually at 19%.
It turns out that it’s only Republicans holding Bush up at 29%. A whole 67% of Republicans approve of him. 67% — When I was in school that was a D minus.
The one thing you can say for Bush is that Congress is even more despised than he is. A whopping 18% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 80% do not. (Two percent were apparently unclear on what Congress is.) Dislike of Congress has been dropping in recent weeks, months, years, and decades. When Nixon was deeply despised, Congress was not. But, of course, Congress in those days was a branch of government that asserted independent powers and challenged the abuses of the Executive.
What specifically are people upset about today? In order of priority, according to the Harris poll: the war, immigration, gas and oil prices, the economy, and healthcare.
Kind of makes you wonder whether people would think better of Congress if it were to oppose Bush on some of those issues, doesn’t it?
Or, here’s another possibility, the Democratic Party could oppose Bush on some of those issues. In fact, Republican Congress Members are beginning to distance themselves from Bush. And the Republican National Committee, revealing its deepest fear, is blasting the media with talking points in opposition to the threat of investigations or impeachment should the Democrats take control after this year’s elections.
The Republicans are even claiming, baselessly and ludicrously, that it would help their election prospects if the Democrats threaten to hold Bush and Cheney accountable. Many of the Democrats in Congress are falling for it and promising not to impeach anybody. But look at Bush’s disapproval among Democrats (90%) and approval among Republicans (67%). Which side will turn out more voters in an off-year election if the issue is investigation/impeachment of Bush?
The RNC is pounding away with the myth that the Democrats are gung-ho for impeachment, a tactic that may backfire by turning out support for the Democrats. It will come down to a question of whether voters believe the RNC’s story that Democrats really plan to stick up for the public and the Constitution, or Democrats in Congress believe the RNC’s claim that impeachment is what Bush really wants and consequently assure voters that he’s in no danger of it.
This calls to mind an old story that, in the version I read to my son, bears the title “Brer Bush and the Impeachment Baby.”
One day Brer Democrat thought of how Brer Bush had been cutting up his capers and bouncing around until he’d come to believe that he was the boss of the whole gang. Brer Democrat thought of a way to lay some bait for that uppity Brer Bush.
He went to work and got some Impeachment and mixed it with some turpentine. He fixed up a contraption that he called an Impeachment-Baby. When he finished making her, he put a straw hat on her head and sat the little thing in the middle of the road. Brer Democrat, he lay off in the weeds to see what would happen.
Well, he didn’t have to wait long either, ’cause by and by Brer Bush came pacing down the road–lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity–just as sassy as a jaybird. Brer Democrat, he lay low. Brer Bush came prancing along until he saw the Impeachment-Baby and then he sat back on his hind legs like he was astonished. The Impeachment-Baby just sat there, she did, and Brer Democrat, he lay low.
“Good morning!” says Brer Bush, says he. “Nice weather we’re having this morning,” says he, smirking and sticking his ears out.
Impeachment-Baby didn’t say a word, and Brer Democrat, he lay low.
“How are you feeling this fine Texas morning?” says Brer Bush, says he.
Brer Democrat, he winked his eye real slow and lay low and the Impeachment-Baby didn’t say a thing.
“What is the matter with you then? No speaka Englisha?” says Brer Bush, says he. “Cause I can holler louder,” says he.
The Impeachment-Baby stayed still and Brer Democrat, he lay low.
“You’re stuck-up, that’s what’s wrong with you. You think you’re too good to talk to me,” says Brer Bush, says he. “And I’m going to cure you, that’s what I’m going to do,” says he.
Brer Democrat started to chuckle in his stomach, he did, but Impeachment-Baby didn’t say a word.
“I’m going to teach you how to talk to respectable folks if it’s my last act,” says Brer Bush, says he. “If you don’t take off that hat and say howdy, I’m going to bust you wide open,” says he.
Impeachment-Baby stayed still and Brer Democrat, he lay low.
Brer Bush kept on asking her why she wouldn’t talk and the Impeachment-Baby kept on saying nothing until Brer Bush finally drew back his fist, he did, and blip — he hit the Impeachment-Baby on the jaw. But his fist stuck and he couldn’t pull it loose. The Impeachment held him. But Impeachment-Baby, she stayed still, and Brer Democrat, he lay low.
“If you don’t let me loose, I’m going to hit you again,” says Brer Bush, says he, and with that he drew back his other fist and blap–he hit the Impeachment-Baby with the other hand and that one stuck fast too.
Impeachment-Baby she stayed still, and Brer Democrat, he lay low.
“Turn me loose, before I kick the natural stuffing out of you,” says Brer Bush, says he, but the Impeachment-Baby just sat there.
She just held on and then Brer Bush jumped her with both his feet. Brer Democrat, he lay low. Then Brer Bush yelled out that if that Impeachment-Baby didn’t turn him loose, he was going to butt her crank-sided. Then he butted her and his head got stuck.
Brer Democrat walked out from behind the weeds and strolled over to Brer Bush, looking as innocent as a mockingbird.
“Howdy, Brer Bush,” says Brer Democrat, says he. “You look sort of stuck up this morning,” says he. And he rolled on the ground and laughed and laughed until he couldn’t laugh anymore.
By and by he said, “Well, I expect I got you this time, Brer Bush,” says he. “Maybe I don’t, but I expect I do. You’ve been around here sassing after me a mighty long time, but now it’s the end.
And then you’re always getting into something that’s none of your business,” says Brer Democrat, says he.
“Who asked you to come and strike up a conversation with this Impeachment-Baby? And who stuck you up the way you are? Nobody in the round world. You just jammed yourself into that Impeachment-Baby without waiting for an invitation,” says Brer Democrat, says he. “There you are and there you’ll stay until I fix up a brushpile and fire it up, “cause I’m going to barbecue you today, for sure,” says Brer Democrat, says he.
Then Brer Bush sstarted talking mighty humble.
“I don’t care what you do with me, Brer Democrat, says he, “Just so you don’t fling me in that orgy at the Watergate.”
Investigate me, Brer Democrat, says he, “But don’t fling me in that Watergate orgy.”
“It’s so much trouble to subpoena witnesses,” says Brer Democrat, says he, “that I expect I’d better censure you,” says he.
“Censure me just as often as you please, Brer Democrat, says Brer Bush, says he, “but for the Lord’s sake, don’t fling me in that Watergate orgy,” says he.
“I don’t have enough votes, ” says Brer Democrat, says he, “Now I expect I had better prosecute you in court,” says he.
“Charge me with every crime you please, Brer Democrat,” says Brer Bush, says he, “But please do not fling me in that Watergate orgy, ” says he.
“There’s no lawyers near here,” says Brer Democrat, says he, “And now I reckon I’d better just impeach you,” says he.
“Impeach me Brer Democrat,” says he. “Expose all my crimes, remove me from office,” says he, “But please, Brer Democrat, don’t fling me in that Watergate orgy,” says he.
Of course, Brer Democrat wanted to get Brer Bush as bad as he could, so he caught him by the behind legs and slung him right in the middle of the orgy. There was a considerable flutter of dollar bills when Brer Bush struck the pile of fornicating fascists, and Brer Democrat hung around to see what was going to happen.
By and by he heard someone call his name and ‘way up on the top floor of the Watergate he saw Brer Bush strutting in a flightsuit and scratching the Impeachment pitch out of his hair. Then Brer Democrat knew he had been tricked.
Brer Bush hollered out, “Born and bred in the orgy. I was born and bred in the orgy!” And with that he skipped out just as lively as a cricket in the embers of a fire.
DAVID SWANSON can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org