Bush's popularity: falling like autumn leaves
Down, down, down. (Photo by Mark Twells, used under a Creative Commons license)
The American people are becoming ever more unhappy with President Bush. The latest CBS poll puts his approval rating at just 35%. That makes him the most unpopular president since Nixon during Watergate. Thirty-five percent means he's down to his hardcore conservative base.
Avedon Carol points out that Cheney's approval rating is only 19%. That's worse than Nixon's when he resigned. Even conservative true believers are beginning to abandon the veep. Cheney is down in Agnew territory.
The proximate cause of all this love is Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, and his investigation into the unmasking of CIA agent Valerie Plame. He indicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, last week, and continues to investigate Karl Rove, Bush's alleged "brain". Most Americans think Scooter Libby is a mascot for canned peaches and have no idea who Karl Rove is. But among those who have an opinion, 78% disapprove of Rove and 86% disapprove of Libby. More Americans think the Plame affair is a big deal than were upset by Watergate at a similar stage of its investigation.
The partisan part of me wriggles in post-Fitzmas glee. But the nonpartisan part is unhappy. Bush and his gang being so unpopular is a good thing only in the limited sense that it's harder for them to arrange more bold fuck-ups: no Social Security phase-out, no more tax cuts for billionaires, and no more wars under false pretenses. On the whole, it's bad to have a leader who can't lead. Far better to have a president who's both popular and competent. Like the last one.