A New York Times/CBS News poll recently reported that 81% of Americans think the country has "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." This is the highest figure in the poll's history. Just last year, the number was a horrific 69%, which looks pretty good today. In 2002, it was a mere 35%.
81% is a shocking number. Not shocking that it's 81%. But that it's only 81%. The mind boggles at the 19% who think things are chugging-along just swell.
By the way, that 69% last year begs an important question. Only two years after George Bush had been re-elected president, 69% of the nation said the U.S. had "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." What I want to know is what in the world those 50.7% of Americans were thinking who voted for George Bush a mere two years earlier??? It's not like things had been going swimmingly and then...whammo!!!...we fell off the ledge. The country had been going in a downward plummet since George Bush took office in 2000. What possibly did people think they were getting when they voted to re-elect in George Bush in 2004?
Did they think that someone intractable, deeply in over his head, who'd likely gone AWOL in the National Guard would suddenly not only turn his life but the entire country around overnight? That he would truly become compassionate - and competent? Folks, you gets what you pays for. And you bought George Bush. Hook, line and sinker.
And now 81% of Americans say that America has "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track."
Here's a hint how it got that way. And why, under the George Bush administration, the train isn't about to find the track.
MARTHA RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it's not worth fighting.
DICK CHENEY: So?
MARTHAT RADDATZ: So? You don't care what the American people think?
DICK CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.
Two-thirds of Americans say the Iraq War is not worth fighting. 81% of Americans say that American has "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." That's not a fluctuation blowing you off course. That's Hurricane Katrina. That's a black hole sucking you into a vortex.
This isn't even a "fluctuation." The American public's antagonism against the war started with 68% support and is down to 36%. Calling that "fluctuation" is like someone fall off a skyscraper and saying he's fluctuating towards the pavement.
And the vice president of this administration said, "So?" and "No," he doesn't care what people think.
He doesn't care.
This administration is blind and deaf to the people it is elected to serve. Consider the phrase "you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations." Let me translate that for you: "Stay the course."
Dick Cheney, the architect of the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history, is solely concerned with the George Bush administration getting blown off course in Iraq. Who here doesn't understand that we have long-since been blown off course?
We went to Iraq to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction. Oops, no, it was to remove Saddam Hussein. Oh, sorry, we went to Iraq to bring freedom to the region. Or, rather the reason next was to fight terrorists there so that we wouldn't have to fight them here. And now we went to Iraq to stabilize the world economy.
The Bush administration wouldn't recognize a course if it had guide-ropes on either side and a yellow streak painted down the middle to the end line. Which is just as well, since there is no end line.
It's ghastly that 81% of Americans recognize that the United States has "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." But it's at least good that so many people can see clearly. Because the captain doesn't have a clue.
For seven years, the enabling Republican party has been the pusher, feeding blind "yeses" and close-minded support when they knew the addict needed an intervention. Never caring that they were dragging the entire country pretty seriously off on the wrong track. And now they will be asking for our support in November.
Not every Democrat has done a great job, but they've faced a populace that made that difficult. And many Democrats have done a great job. But if all Democrats in Congress haven't always had the courage of their convictions, at least they've had convictions.
Republicans have had convictions, too, but theirs put them in prison.
As 81% of Americans believe the country has "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.," the Bush Administration says, "So?" Not to worry, it's just a fluctuation.
It's worse. Remember: when this 81% says the country has "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track"...the economic downturn hasn't even hit yet.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But you can't fool 81% of the people this time.
Apparently, President George Bush is a uniter, after all.