It's over. Bush's house of cards has just come crumbling down. We suspected it might just be a matter of time, but now it's officially over!
No one recovers from a 34% approval rating. I'll tell you why -- because even the most inept politician realizes you run away from a 34, not towards it. The entire United States Congress, Democrats and Republicans, have no choice but to run from this President -- as fast as they possibly can (ironically, some of the Democrats will be the slowest to leave this sinking ship -- and Lieberman will be the very last one on board).
George Bush is the quick sand that is pulling the Republican Party underground. If they don't realize that now, they soon will when they do the next poll in their home districts. No party can survive trying to pull up a President so universally disliked (let alone a Vice President that is nearly loathed at an 18% approval rating -- I don't think Pinochet was ever that low and I know Nixon wasn't).
The question the Republicans in Congress have to deal with now is -- do they go down with the ship and risk destroying the party all together or do they finally cut Bush loose like they did with Nixon? Could the Republican Party have survived if they decided to go to the bitter end with Nixon? We never found out because no party has been that suicidal since the Federalists.
I knew they were in trouble when Fox put up the banner: "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?" That sounds so pathetically desperate that for the first time I felt sorry for Fox and the Bush administration.
There are some things that are unspinabble. A civil war is one of them.
This long slide downward started with the Terry Schiavo fiasco (politically; policy wise the slide down started when Bush ignored the "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States" PDB and stayed on vacation). The downward spiral built up momentum with the abysmal response to Hurricane Katrina. And it culminated in the Port Debacle. The Republican congressional leaders thought this might be a safe issue to distance themselves from the administration without doing too much damage, but when they pulled their finger out of the dam, the flood rushed in and the levees were breached.
It allowed die-hard Republican voters for the first time to feel that it was okay to criticize the President. Once they opened up to that possibility, the whole edifice of party loyalty (for the sake of party loyalty) started to crumble. And then someone pulled the critical card out of the house of cards ... the Iraqi Civil War.
Ronald Reagan once said, "Facts are stubborn things." It turns out they're even more stubborn than Fox News Channel and Karl Rove. It took a long time for facts to wear down spin, but it has, at long last, happened.
Several months ago I said that Bush's poll numbers would never recover and would not go back above fifty percent. Now, I think we are beyond that. At this point, there is a chance that this administration does not make it to 2008. The card has been pulled, this house is coming down. And we might all be surprised at how quickly that comes about.
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