Has Bush Made Us All French?
Friday's poll numbers had surprising news. It turns out that most people have become French. Or is it African-American? Is it Vive le George or my peeps George. Let's see how the numbers work out.
George W. Bush's poll numbers have sunk to levels that would have embarrassed even his father. In today's CBS poll, Bush had a disapprove--57%/ approve--35%; the Washington Post had it 60%/39%. Tough numbers. What makes it interesting is that the Republican base--the Republican faithful that kept pushing for Clinton's impeachment in 1998 and mobilized for Bush in 2004--stands at about 33%. That means that somewhere between 2 and 6 percent of the rest of the population is supporting Bush. Two percent is a significant number for Bush. That's how much support he has from the African-American population these days. Perhaps the black population serves as a good mirror for Bush's situation with the rest of the non-Republicans in this country. The white part of the non-Republican coalition might not suffer from employment discrimination, redlining, racial profiling, or Republican calls to stop being black. But we still might be coalescing into an African-American nation anyway.
But there's a problem with the African-American scenario. The non-Republican part of the population is about 66% divided with rough equality among independents and Democrats. If Bush is getting 39% approval among the whole population, the 6% that he gets from non-Republicans would represent 9.1% of the 66% non-Republican population. Actually, that's more French than African-American. On the eve of the invasion in 2003, 90% of the French population was surveyed as opposing American policy in Iraq. The French were more united than the Spanish, Polish, and Italians (all of whom only achieved 75% disapproval) and even more united than the Turks who were going to have a war on their doorstep. It was a miracle. Bush single-handedly made the French the most single-minded nation in Europe. Emile Durkheim, the sociologist of the collective mind, would have been proud.
It looks like President Bush has created the same kind of unity among non-Republicans in the United States. With African-Americans leading the way, non-Republicans have coalesced around a single bright, shining thought. They disapprove of the Bush administration. Actually, "disapprove" is a rather weak term for the state of public opinion. David Brooks wrote a couple of weeks ago that Republican congressmen were finding that their constituents found the Bush administration and Bush himself to be "repugnant." United we stand in our revulsion. No doubt the French would be proud of us. As the trailblazers in Bush revulsion, they will be more than happy to welcome us aboard.
But we can do better. Non-Republicans can move from the excellent levels of unity achieved by the French to the greatness of our African-American brothers and sisters. We can achieve 98% unity. All we have to do is get our approval rating down to 1.32 out of 66%.This, my friends, is attainable. We just need to ask the Bush administration to fail even more spectacularly than they're failing now. How hard can that be? Write letters to the President asking him to follow John Poindexter's advice and invade Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, renominate Robert Bork for the Supreme Court, breathe new life into Social Security privatization, and really promote their scheme to eliminate mortgage deductions. President Bush WANTS to do all these things. Why not give him more encouragement? Be innovative. Suggest unpopular policies that the Bush administration hasn't thought of yet. Does Dick Cheney know there's oil under the Statue of Liberty? Shouldn't the Mississippi River be named after Ronald Reagan? "Oh Reagan River, keep on rolling." Maybe the Doobie Brothers could re-record "Black Water" to jump start the campaign. With the Bush administration, the potential for failure is unlimited. We just have to point them in the right direction. Act now before Bush fails without your help.