Wednesday, October 17, 2007

24 percent

ABC News:
"Bush's job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month's record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month's record low.

"There is a real question among Americans now about how relevant this government is to them," pollster John Zogby said. "They tell us they want action on health care, education, the war and immigration, but they don't believe they are going to get it."

The dismal assessment of the Republican president and the Democratic-controlled Congress follows another month of inconclusive political battles over a future path in Iraq and the recent Bush veto of an expansion of the program providing insurance for poor children.

The bleak mood could present problems for both parties heading into the November 2008 election campaign, Zogby said.

"Voter turnout could still be high next year, but the mood has turned against incumbents and into a 'throw the bums out' mindset," Zogby said.

It is interesting to me that the approved Media narrative, in the mouth of Zogby in this case, is a partisan-neutral "thrown the bums out". After 7 years of the Republican corruption, incompetence and authoritarianism, it is "a pox on both your houses" that leading Media figures want to proclaim.

As I observed in 2004, the failure to oust Bush meant a political chemistry of dissatisfaction with failed policy has proceeded with a cork-firmly-stuck-in-the-bottle, the lid-clamped-on-the-boiling-pot. With the country's constitutional institutions of fixed terms in office, the Senate filibuster, and ideologically gerrymandered House districts, political change is dammed-up, bottled-up.

More from the survey:

"The national telephone survey of 991 likely voters, conducted October 10 through October 14, found barely one-quarter of Americans, or 26 percent, believe the country is headed in the right direction.

The poll found declining confidence in U.S. economic and foreign policy. About 18 percent gave positive marks to foreign policy, down from 24 percent, and 26 percent rated economic policy positively, down from 30 percent.

A majority of Americans still rate their personal financial situation as excellent or good, although the number dipped slightly this month to 54 percent from 56 percent. In August, 59 percent rated their finances as excellent or good."

Two-thirds of the population, week after week, month after month, year after year, live with the idea that the country, under this President, is "headed in the wrong direction". And, most notably, this level of dissatisfaction has been reached without the spur of an actual economic downturn. People are not necessarily doing badly economically. But, they fear the worst. And, for good reason. Still, I doubt that the level of political reasoning has risen. The Media, controlling the national discourse is hopeless: the dissatisfactions of two-thirds (!) are not represented on television news or radio. Consequently, a Zogby not only can, but is expected to, suggest that people's dissatisfaction ought to be bi-partisan in its focus. And, perhaps worse, people do not have to resolve their ambivalence: they can want to do something about Iraq and global warming, but still want cheap gas to drive to Wal-Mart. The intense political dissatisfaction of the country remains intensely and stupidly reactionary; there's no common ideological or partisan beliefs, on which foundation, a revolutionary change in political and economic policy could be founded.

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