Swans Commentary » swans.com May 9, 2005  



American Diktat, Russian Polls
The Presidential Press Conference


by Jan Baughman





"You know, if a President tries to govern based upon polls, you're kind of like a dog chasing your tail. I don't think you can make good, sound decisions based upon polls. And I don't think the American people want a President who relies upon polls and focus groups to make decisions for the American people."
—George W. Bush, April 28, 2005


(Swans - May 9, 2005)  Well, no -- you're wrong. We do want a president that listens to polls; one who conducts real focus groups, not staged events to which dissenters need not apply. We want a president who makes good, sound decisions. Period. In fact, many people I know still want the president they actually voted for.

So I'm a little confused about your advice to your buddy Vlad, which you shared with us later on in the press conference. You said you had a long talk with him "there in Slovakia about democracy and about the importance of democracy..." and that Condi also "had a very good discussion with [him] about the merits of democracy, about the need to listen to the people and have a government that's responsive."

I sure hope Condi has had a chance to remind you, too, of the merits of democracy, and the need to listen to the people and be responsive. If the Russians deserve a president who listens to them and is responsive, then why demand less for Americans?!?

I know it is troubling for you to listen to the polls when they conflict with everything you're trying to achieve on behalf of your family and cronies while they still have you in office. I also know you don't read the newspapers, and, as one of your people said recently, "Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're [journalists are] outnumbered two to one by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read the New York Times or Washington Post or the LA Times." In fact, Crawford, Texas sits right there, an oasis smack dab in the middle of that wide America, where you're surrounded by your Republican handlers, 90% of whom approve of your performance and a small percent of whom actually write the script for you. Even the 90% of Democrats that disapprove of you continue to go along with your decisions. So why would you even think to turn to the polls?

Well, if I can have your attention, just for a moment, let me tell you what they reflect:

55% of Americans disapprove of your handling of the situation in Iraq.
57% feel it was not worth going to war and 56% feel it's going "badly."
85% of Iraqis favor American troop withdrawal as soon as possible.

That's why when you talk about spreading freedom and hope in Iraq; about how progress is being made, our eyes glaze over and instead we visualize car bombings and mangled bodies and the ever-rising statistics of violence and death and wonder, why don't we ever hear about those lofty rebuilding activities that Halliburton and Bechtel were handed big contracts to perform? Is this what the birth of "democracy" looks like?

All this for oil? Sixty-seven percent of Americans are not happy with what you're doing about the price of oil. Short of holding hands with your Saudi friends and passing the blame on Congress to get you an energy policy, how about talking to some of your buddies in the auto industry about bringing those truly fuel efficient European cars to the U.S.? A gallon of gas, no matter the price, goes a lot farther at 75 MPG than at 25. Can you do the math?

Now, based on what your economic experts tell you, you're optimistic about the economy. Yet when I was at my requisite unemployment meeting last week, the 30-year veteran California Employment Development Department class leader, Karen, said that of the 5 years of recession we've been in, it's now taking people much longer to get back to work... A lot of Fortune 500 companies aren't doing too well, and now they're spreading their layoffs overseas to help the bottom line here.

60% do not approve of your handling of Social Security.
56% are not willing to give up a portion of their promised benefits.

It's baffling to We the People that you care so little about our well-being in terms of civil liberties, health care, education, housing, decent wages, our savings and debt levels and the like, and yet travel the country so passionately so that Social Security be changed to give us "control" over our own money. Why the urgency? It seems to us that a simple fix, if it's truly broke, would be to eliminate the ceiling on the Social Security tax. But what do we know, since we're not of "the investor class." Yet.

Has anyone told you that 59% of Americans are dissatisfied with the state of the country; and that your approval rating is 45%, setting the worst-ever record for a 2nd term presidency? And you still have 3 years left to create havoc... My own personal polls show that the majority of us say go ahead, create your legacy; drive freedom out of the country and down everyone else's throats (but please, stop the killing in your path); destroy the environment and the economy and Social Security; finish off Alaska and the Bill of Rights once and for all; speed up the coming of the Rapture and be on your way to the ultimate Empire. Perhaps by then the polls will reveal that people are finally ready to demand change on all these issues on which we're dissatisfied. And perhaps whoever is in power next will heed your warning to Vladimir and pay attention to the polls.

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Press Conference of the President of the United States, April 28, 2005.

"Bush's War on the Press," Eric Alterman, The Nation, May 9, 2005.

"What We Think: A crucial question for activists - The case for immediate withdrawal," Socialist Worker Online, April 29, 2005.

"Poll: Public Doubts Bush Soc. Security Plan," Daily Press Newspaper (Victorville, CA) May 6, 2005.

"Gallup: Bush Approval Rating Lowest Ever for 2nd-Term Prez at this Point," Editor and Publisher, April 05, 2005.

Gallup Poll: State of the Nation.

(Above links valid as of May 6, 2005.)


America the 'beautiful' on Swans


About the Author

Jan Baughman on Swans (with bio).



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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art11/jeb144.html
Published May 9, 2005