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Are the "red states" in jeopardy for Bush?
NationalReview Online ^ | May 27, 2004 | Jim Geraghty

Posted on 05/27/2004 7:47:45 AM PDT by Remember_Salamis

W. AMONG THE REDS. . . . Are the "red states" in jeopardy for Bush?. . . . 05/27 09:13 AM

It's early, and polls can be deceiving. But right now, George W. Bush is in tough shape.

A CBS poll late last week found Bush's job-approval rating at 41 percent, the lowest of his presidency; 61 percent of respondents said they disapprove of his handling of Iraq and 65 percent believe the country is on the wrong track. The poll surveyed 1,113 adults (not likely voters, not registered voters), but a Gallup poll of 1,002 Americans conducted almost simultaneously showed similar disappointing news for the president.

The drop in poll numbers suggests that discontent has spread beyond typical Bush haters. A significant number of Independents and Republican-leaning, natural supporters of the President Bush look to be seriously considering their Election Day options.

More Kerry ... 5/27/04 CUE THE RETIREES: Kerry is playing Patriot Act games. [Geraghty]

DOWN THE LINE: Responses to the war-college speech. [Geraghty]

DELAYED ACCEPTANCE: A bad idea will be in good company. [Geraghty]

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center of Politics, says that the reason for the dip is not so much that Americans want to give up on President Bush, as that they're ready to give up on the Iraqi people.

"I have seen the most massive defection from the president," Sabato tells NRO. "I'm struck by how many [people] are saying, 'This situation is hopeless.' Everybody says the same thing: 'They've been fighting for centuries, and after we leave, for centuries they will still be fighting.' They don't think that the Middle East will ever change. Some would call that thinking cynicism, and some people would call it realism."

Sabato says Americans supported taking out Saddam Hussein, and perceived him to be a threat to U.S. interests. But sorting out differences between Sunni and Shia, trying to stop car bombings in a country laden with old weapons, and being blamed for prison abuse from hypocritical Arab regimes and media are headaches they don't see as worth the trouble.

"Americans have lost their assurance that we have a course of action, that there's a plan here, that we're not improvising day by day," says Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He adds that the goal of Bush's Monday-night address and future Iraq speeches is to convince Americans and the world that he, and the country, are not "prisoners of events."

What should be grabbing Karl Rove's attention is that neither Sabato nor Ornstein are drinkers of the John Kerry Kool-Aid. In fact, Sabato says the Democratic senator is a lousy candidate with "awful campaign skills."

"In a normal election year, the Democrats would have blown it by picking Kerry," Sabato says. "But this is not a normal election year. People are going to vote for the alternative regardless.... Right now, the average person doesn't know who Kerry is, and most won't really get to know who he is. All that many of them will say on Election Day is that, 'things are awful, so we had better take a chance on the new guy.' When you have challengers winning, it means voters are strongly rejecting the status quo, like in 1968 or 1980."

Bush's support on the war has been hammered by the prison photos and the non-stop doomsaying coming out of Iraq. But part of it may be that a significant segment of the natural Republican base has no appetite for nation building.

Historian Walter Russell Meade has written extensively about Andrew Jackson and his influence on American political thinking. In 1999, he wrote about the Jacksonians, who are, in many ways, a typical red-state voter:

Jacksonians believe that international life is and will remain both anarchic and violent. The United States must be vigilant and strongly armed.... At times, we must fight pre-emptive wars. There is absolutely nothing wrong with subverting foreign governments or assassinating foreign leaders whose bad intentions are clear. Thus, Jacksonians are more likely to tax political leaders with a failure to employ vigorous measures than to worry about the niceties of international law. Meade explains that Jacksonians weren't big fans of intervening in Bosnia, because the national interest was vague, and they doubted that American soldiers should risk their lives to establish multicultural tolerance in the Balkans.

Jacksonians believe that neither Wilsonians nor Hamiltonians nor anybody else will ever succeed in building a peaceful world order, and that the only world order we are likely to get will be a bad one. No matter how much money we ship overseas, and no matter how cleverly the development bureaucrats spend it, it will not create peace on earth. Plans for universal disarmament and world courts of justice founder on the same rock of historical skepticism. Jacksonians just tend not to believe that any of these things will do much good.... The pattern of frontier warfare, in which factions in a particular tribe might renew hostilities in violation of an agreement, helped solidify the Jacksonian belief that there was no point in making or keeping treaties with "savages."

The Jacksonian response to the Fallujah savagery would have been a crushing, and perhaps indiscriminate, counterattack on the entire town. Upon hearing that American forces, after hammering Sadr's insurgents for days suddenly shifted and began negotiating with former Baathists to patrol the city, Jacksonians may have concluded that we're no longer in this to win.

Bush's task has to be to convince Americans that progress is within our grasp in Iraq and that we're not getting bogged down in Bosnia-style peacekeeping, or Somalia-style mission creep. This is what the 2004 election is going to be about, more than any other issue.

"Right now, the mood is, 'get our troops out of the line of fire," Sabato says. "Some people are worried about the treasure this is costing us, but they're mainly worried about the blood. The only thing on Bush's side is that it's May. If this was October, he would be toast."

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Political Humor/Cartoons; Politics/Elections; Unclassified; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: bush; iraq; kerry; poll; polls; redzone; wishfulthinking
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To: jveritas

55 - "If we have gone into Fallujah with full force, we would have killed thousand of non combatants... Think about what the media will do to Bush if we have done this. We have few pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners and the hysteria about it was beyond belief and it is still going. Imagine the media showing thousand of non combatant dead in Fallujah."

Simple - we just behead them, and the then the media wouldn't mention it.

221 posted on 05/28/2004 3:19:08 AM PDT by XBob
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To: Texasforever
Well I use facts you use emotion.

lol. Sure. We'll let neutral readers decide that. But, if that were true, I wouldn't be laughing at your statement--I'd have that ol' anger emotion you are trying to elicit.

The only emotion I have about the entire situation is grief over the huge opportunity cost of this presidency and the depth of delusion engendered in hardcore Bush supporters.

222 posted on 05/28/2004 5:27:13 AM PDT by jammer
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To: jpl

We'll see. Apparently the Marine commanders don't share your opinion.

223 posted on 05/28/2004 5:52:55 AM PDT by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of news.)
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To: cinFLA

I agree, those who voted he is doing Fair, will also vote for him.

224 posted on 05/28/2004 6:36:02 AM PDT by No Blue States
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To: nopardons
"Thank GOD,these folks weren't around during WW II!"

Yeah, we would have thrown in the towel after Doolittle's squadron failed to make it home.

225 posted on 05/28/2004 6:41:31 AM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Sin Pátria, pero sin amo.)
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To: LS

National Review Online prints stuff like that all the time.... freedom of speech DUDE!!

226 posted on 05/28/2004 8:39:18 AM PDT by cousair
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To: cousair

I don't have a problem with freedom of speech---although you won't find it at the Nation. I just thought it unusual coming from NRO.

227 posted on 05/28/2004 10:15:08 AM PDT by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of news.)
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To: nopardons; Texasforever
If FR had been around in the '80s,the Bushbashers would have been bashing Reagan day in and day out.

First, when you insult someone when referring to a post (204) that you agree with, it is only polite to ping the poster referred to also (although I suspect I know why you didn't).

Second, you are absolutely wrong about Bushbashers and Reagan. Bush couldn't shine Reagan's shoes. And, if you knew my campaign credentials for Reagan all the way back to the 1976 Texas primary, you would be ashamed that you that.

Third, why don't you debate issues rather than having your incestuous little comments to each other that are ad hominem rather than addressing the arguments?

228 posted on 05/29/2004 4:19:05 AM PDT by jammer
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To: Jim Noble

You're right in that we must win in Iraq, and the transfer on 6/30 must go relatively smoothly. While I'm not saying Bush is toast, he is in trouble. I also agree wholeheartedly that he would have been pretty much a lock had he levelled Fallujah. Bush had better have one monster of a summer and fall, and one hell of an October (or convention) surprise.

The main problem the President has, at present, is that so many of the factors upon which he will based come election time are out of his control.

229 posted on 05/29/2004 2:55:13 PM PDT by NCPAC
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To: KJacob

You're right in that this election is very different than many of those in at least the recent past. As I've stated on this very thread, Bush's biggest problem right now is that so many of the factors upon which he will be judged are out of his control. Furthermore, what he can control he has recently - how shall we say - not controlled very well. Fallujah comes to mind, and now we hear that burg is becoming a mini-Islamic state.

230 posted on 05/29/2004 2:58:35 PM PDT by NCPAC
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To: PhiKapMom

I've worked a number of lesser campaigns (statehouse races) but here are some of the name campaigns I've worked on professionally (in various roles): Reagan '84, Stafford '84, Viguerie '85, Chavez '86, Kemp '88, Ehrlich '94 and '96 (Congress), Ehrlich '02 (Governor), among others. I've also worked with pollsters Art Finklestein and Frank Luntz (doing internal polls) as well as with GOP media wiz, Mike Murphy. Other individuals I've worked with include the ACU's Craig Shirley, the MRC's Brent Bozell, and David Bossie of Citizens United. I list these only to answer your comment that you don't know what campaigns I've "worked on." There's some of them. Not all winners, granted - but there they are.

As for Kerry, he is attacking hard because that's what challengers do - especially when they smell blood in the water. And the fact the media/entertainment industry is in a full court press to take down GWB is just one of the reasons he is in trouble. Along with the perception of the war, the seeming inability of his campaign to get traction, the fact he simply cannot catch a break - real or one of perception - etc., etc.

I did not say the President is done, but he is in trouble. What you take to be "negativity," I believe is the reality that things are not going well. Can this be turned around? Sure, at least to a degree - but not if half the people who want the President to win (as I do) keep their respective heads stuck in the sand. Half the time I think those who go ballistic anytime anyone even mentions that Bush's prospects are hurting is a troll who's goal is to try and keep us complacent and believing that all will be well. And THAT is something a Republican would say.

231 posted on 05/29/2004 3:18:09 PM PDT by NCPAC
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To: gingerky

I think John Edwards could help Kerry quite a bit with that ten percent of undecided voters that show up in poll after poll. He's photogenic, bland enough to not be threatening, and offers a nice contrast to Kerry's stick in the mud persona. Plus, if you don't know any of the players on the tickets, Edwards is going to come off a lot more likeable than Dick Cheney - who consistently draws horrible poll numbers. The negative about Edwards from the Dem side is that he couldn't carry the South in the primary. Could he do better in helping Kerry carry any Southern states in the general? Graham and Richardson are concerns as well for various and different reasons.

Speaking of Cheney, I think the politically astute thing for the President to do at this point is replace him - with Rudy Guiliani. That change would make Bush, for as much trouble as I think he is in at present, a LOT tougher to beat. Rudy would gain Bush at least 2/3 of the undecideds.

232 posted on 05/29/2004 3:32:10 PM PDT by NCPAC
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To: Remember_Salamis

In such a case, which is true by the way, voters are looking beyond the top of the ticket. Call me a blasphemer if you must for saying so, but I believe Bush needs to lose Cheney - and replace him with Giuliani.

This election is the first in the "new" America (post 911). I also believe in this election the choice of running mate will be of paramount importance.

233 posted on 05/29/2004 3:37:55 PM PDT by NCPAC
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It would have been a good idea about a year ago (shortly after the end of major combat; cheney could say he's tired, etc.), but now Bush would almost look weak and caving in to critics by replacing Cheney. And replacing him with Guiliana, combined with the convention in NYC, would prompt calls that the GOP is exploiting 9/11. Plus, I don't think Rudy's ready. I'd much rather used him to "pre-empt" Hillary by knowcking her out of the Senate in 2006. A loss to Rudy in 2006 would effectively end Hildebeast' Presidential Aspirations and could end her politically. That, in my opinion, is a huge long-term issue for the future.

If Dubya replaces Cheney for any reason, he'll probably replace him with Colin Powell. I personally don't like his politics, but RINOs and the press get tingles when they think of a black republicans.

Colin Powell is for affirmative action, probably pro-choice, and I'm not very fond of his healing-touch dimplomatic style (As a military member, I think his "Powell Doctrine" is the most overrated piece of garbage ever devised. It basically calls for us to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the enemy. Really brilliant. It doesn't take a 4-star General to figure out that one). He may give us the '04 election if he runs, but I don't want him on the top of the ticket in 2008.

234 posted on 05/29/2004 8:29:44 PM PDT by Remember_Salamis (Freedom is Not Free)
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To: Remember_Salamis

Bush might look somewhat weak to the hardcore party activists if he were to replace Cheney with Guiliani at this point in time or at the GOP Convention because the hardcore is always paying attention to the politics of politics. However, middle America does not pay constant attention to the nuances and, therefore, I believe middle America - and the undecideds - would eat it up if Bush replaced Cheney with Rudy. You're on the mark, though, about Colin Powell. Mr. and Mrs. Middle America would eat a change to Powell up as well.

235 posted on 05/30/2004 8:38:49 AM PDT by NCPAC
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