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The Gross National Debt

Thursday, October 13, 2005

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

Opinion polls, to me, are an imperfect science. At the same time, they can serve as a touchstone in evaluating options. The option I'm specifically concerned about right now is whether or not to adamantly oppose the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court.

Here's what I think the numbers tell us.

Let me sumarrize my own personal opinion about Harriet Miers. She's bad. She's extremely bad. I think that she's too much of a Bush cheerleader for anyone to reasonably expect that she won't go after Roe v. Wade. I'm not a single issue voter, but when it comes to Supreme Court nominees, Roe is a dealbreaker for me.

I don't know if the Administration has been distracted or how they managed to so thoroughly bungle the actual process of nominating Miers... Perhaps they took their base for granted and/or perhaps their arrogance has finally gotten the better of them in making the assumption that there would be no conservative opposition to Miers... Any way you analyze it, the end result is that the Administration is quickly trying to "fill in the gaps", in code, for its conservative base. I think the information that is coming out is very telling and I do not think that Harriet Miers is some closet feminist who has been pulling the wool over the eyes of everyone around her for years with the expectation that she would eventually be nominated to the Supreme Court.

So having said that, let's get to the numbers:

PRESIDENT BUSH -- Overall Job Rating

Approve: 38%
Disapprove: 56%
Unsure: 6%

Source: Pew Research Center, Oct. 6-10, 2005 via PollingReport.com
It's about time. But what can this tell us about the Miers nomination? While I am opposed to Miers on a very fundamental level, the nagging question has always been that if the Miers nomination is withdrawn, would the next name be any better? I'm not a fortune-teller - but I think comparing Bush's approval ratings among conservatives between last month and this month points at a possible strategy to compel the withdrawal of Miers' nomination and the naming of a more palatable (relatively speaking - we know we're not going to get a progressive, here) nominee.

PRESIDENT BUSH -- Overall Job Rating

  • Approve, September 8-11, 2005 - 88%
  • Approve, October 6-10, 2005 - 87%
Source: Pew Research Center Poll via CNN
As loud as conservatives are screaming about the Miers nomination, it doesn't seem to have had a significant affect on his approval ratings with his base.

Yes, I know that this Administration claims to have little interest in opinion polls. I think recent actions by the Administration, however, give lie to that opinion. Take his repeated trips to the Gulf region as an example of his concern. Take also his repeated attempts to prop up support for the war in Iraq. What the administration says and what it does seems to tell two different stories. As always, I put stock in the actions, not the words.

Remember - not only does Bush have his legacy to consider - he also has his ability to push any agenda through at stake. Moreover, the biggest threat to Bush, as I see it, comes from within his own party. With midterm elections gearing up, fellow Republicans are very concerned about the overall sagging approval numbers. The pressure will be on Bush to make some move to staunch the flow and the pressure will come from his own party.

If he's not losing support from his own base, then he's losing it from somewhere in the middle. His strategists already know this. His party knows it, too. Democrats should gently start asking questions, based on Bush's statement about Miers' religious beliefs, as to her qualifications while feeding him ideas on the least objectionable person he could nominate. We may ultimately sacrifice by giving Bush a chance at better approval ratings, but given what's at stake with the Supreme Court, I think that that's an acceptable sacrifice to make.

Let's not continue to prove this political cartoon:

posted by RenaRF at 4:11 PM 0 comments links to this post


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