Last Tuesday’s Democratic sweep of major (and many secondary) races is proof positive of an erosion not of Bush’s popularity but of his popular perception. Bush has been a disaster since day one and I maintain that he has been the worst President in American history since 9/11/02 when he morphed the war on terrorism into the on Iraq. The facts, stats, data and anecdotes marking his misrule have always been visible for anyone willing to notice and this information has long been tied together into cogent, precise and readily available arguments against Bush’s actions.
The difference now is that the Katrina fiasco has laid waste to the representation of Bush as the steadfast leader against THEM. It is now okay for the SCLM to notice and report the absurd incompetence of the Bush regime.
The staged Q&A session that Bush held with select troops was no more ridiculous and fake than the Thanksgiving “surprise” photo-op – complete with paper Mache turkey – that he performed with the soldiers in Iraq in 2003. The coverage now, however, is critical; then, it was edifying.
With the SCLM finally doing a version of its job Bush’s popular support has shrunk to Conservatrons, Republicans by habit, and pugnacious pseudo-intellectuals like Colin Quinn who probably cannot bear to admit that they were duped. With his back to the wall Bush is trying to pick a divisive fight over pre-war intelligence, but people with a louder voice than Mother Jones or the Progressive will be leading the truth squad this time.
To get a sense of how the terrain has changed try watching the popularizer Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11 again. What once seemed either subversive (in a good way) or treasonous now feels like the conventional wisdom.