11 March 2006

More Evidence Of A Sea Change

There is increasing evidence that a sea change in public opinion is sweeping the nation. The fact that Bush is less popular than at any other point in his Presidency (37% approve of him about 10% better than Nixon's low point), is less important than the evolving negative view Americans have of Congress.

Nearly four out of five Americans, including 70 percent of Republicans, believe civil war will break out in Iraq - the bloody hot spot upon which Bush has staked his presidency. Nearly 70 percent of people say the U.S. is on the wrong track, a 6-point jump since February. . . . Two-thirds of the public disapproves of how the GOP-led Congress is handling its job and a surprising 53 percent of Republicans give Congress poor marks. . . . By a 47-36 margin, people favor Democrats over Republicans when they are asked who should control Congress.


This intense Republican dissatisfaction with Congress is remarkable.

Republicans control the U.S. House, they control the U.S. Senate, and they control the Presidency.

President Bush just put two more judges on the U.S. Supreme Court replacing Chief Justice Rehnquist with similarly conservative Chief Justice Roberts, and replacing perennial swing vote Justice O'Connor with hard core conservative Justice Alito. The Court has not been this conservative for more than half a century, at least. The lower federal courts are equally conservative, if not more so in most circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Bush has held office since after the 2000 election. Republican won control of the House in the 1994 election, and have held it since then. They have held the Senate since the 2002 elections (they took control in the 1994 election and kept it, but while they were narrowly in control following the 2000 election, this was interrupted when Jeffords left the Republican party later in that Congressional session). The last time Republicans have had larger majorities in either the House or the Senate was following the 1928 elections.

Bush have been so effective in securing support from Congress that he has yet to veto a bill. The last President not to use his veto pen was President Garfield, in the 1880s.

In short, Republicans ought to be in 7th Heaven right now, not in a position where a majority give Congress poor marks, and the vast majority disagree with the administration's claim that there is no civil war in Iraq. Also, while as a liberal, I've frequently bemoaned the fact that moderate Democrats have seized defeat from the jaws of victory on many recent legislative votes, the flip side of that is that the President shouldn't need those votes to move his agenda forward.

If public opinion doesn't change dramatically in the next eight months, the Republicans will be toast in the 2006 elections. Democrats could screw up the advantage they hold now, but the opportunity is there to regain control of both houses of Congress in this election.

1 comment:

Julie O. said...

I wonder how much of that ten point difference from Nixon is because a lot of people find Bush more personally likeable.