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Is Bush screwed next election?(20 posts)

Is Bush screwed next election?DougSloan
Mar 10, 2003 9:17 AM
I think the Whitehouse will be ripe for the pickens 2004. While I'd like to be optimistic, there seems no hope.

For Republicans to win, they must get out almost every last diehard, plus capture and motivate to vote much of the middle. Democrats have the luxury of numbers, but it appears that lots of them just don't vote sometimes, or are more likely to vote for third parties.

Regardless of who, if anyone, really is to blame for the present deficit, unemployment, recession, terrorism, etc., Bush is going to be blamed by millions of people, many of whom may have even voted for him last time. The Dems are going to hit hard in attempts to show they handed over the reigns with a good economy, surpluses, and a peaceful planet. There are so many people who are going to buy that, and not look below the surface, that I don't think Bush will have any chance to keep his job.

Plus, with a war going to happen, many of the otherwise apethetic Democrats and fence straddlers are going to retaliate, especially if we start seeing body counts on the news. It's such an emotionally charged issue, people who might not ever vote will be almost certain to show up and vote "no confidence," picking any Democrat who might be nominated.

Anyone see any way around this? Barring an extremely strong third party candidate taking Dem votes, or a last minute scandal exposure of a Dem nominee, I think it's a done deal. Anyone disagree?

Bush will win in 2004Continental
Mar 10, 2003 10:10 AM
I think that Bush will be re-elected. I'm probably giving too much credit to the electorate, but I think most voters realize that the good economy and peaceful planet in the 90's were a fool's paradise. Bush 41 looked invincible 18 months before the election and lost: Bush 43 will look vunerable 18 months before election and will win. Of course the war with Iraq could turn to a protracted seige, North Korea could use the opportunity to invade South Korea, and China could overrun Taiwan while we endure weekly terror attacks and a deep recession. Bush could start drinking again and begin to preach fundementalist Christian dogma. A Democrat might be able to win under those conditions.
Disagree. You analysis is good, butOldEdScott
Mar 10, 2003 10:30 AM
you overlook one huge problem the Dems have: We don't have an attractive candidate. Retreads, mostly. Unappealing retreads at that. It would take a fresh candidate with the personal appeal of Bill Clinton to unseat Bush II. People still like him, even if they dislike his policies.

That said, I will grant that at least one candiate -- Dean -- is enough of an unknown that he might catch fire and pose a threat to Bush. A Carter-like threat, the odd but untested outsider with the appealing message. I put that at long odds though.

Dems get one or both chambers of Congress back, though. I WOULD bet on that, because of the scenario you describe.
Dems seem to do well with unknownsDougSloan
Mar 10, 2003 10:52 AM
I agree that the Dems will need a relatively unknown, fresh face Democrat. Other than LBJ, their only successes are with unknowns in the last 50 years. Plus, LBJ was an incumbent. I, as well as most of the country, had never heard of Carter nor Clinton before they ran.

In this litigation climate, I doubt any rich "trial lawyer" (Edwards) can win. Too easy to attack, and the medical, drug, and insurance industries will go nuts.

Governors and former governors have a good chance. Senators, probably not. A dream slate (for Bush) would be Lieberman/Kerry. Then again, there may be someone no one has even considered, yet. Put them up and we'll have another Dukakis scenario.

Congress is a possibility. People probably "vote their pocketbook" more there.

Probably...Me Dot Org
Mar 10, 2003 10:42 AM
Scenario 1: The War goes well. Bush will still have problems with a deficit that Alan Greenspan has a hard time swallowing. The income gap between rich and poor is wider than it has been since the 20's. A tax break on dividends is not going to be seen as a boon to the working man.

Demos will pick apart the 'unilateral' policy moves, (Kyoto, U.N. Conference on Small Arms Proliferation, U.N. Population Fund, Russians/ABM/Missile Defense) as contributing to the environment that has made coalition building so difficult. There's a tobacco treaty waiting in the wings that could cause some problems...

And we are yet to talk about Korea...

But assuming Korea can be resolved in a satisfactory way, and the economy shows signs of turning around, and unemployment figures are dropping, he may have a chance. The nation could rally around the figure of a beleagured president, battered but still standing. Roosevelt got a fourth term because a lot of people didn't want to change leaders in the middle of a war.

Scenario 2: The War goes poorly. Virtually no hope.

Of course, the unknown variable in all of this is the Democratic Candidate. The Republicans could place hope in the belief that the Demos will nominate someone who has uncanny marksmanship at foot shooting. Lord knows, it's been done before.

Another unknown variable is terrorist attacks. Will people rally around the President? Or will they see administration policy as contributing to the danger? Hard to know... A terrorist attack makes in more difficult for Demos to attack the President politically without looking unpatriotic.

One thing for sure: Most people will choose between the lesser of two evils.
Should be if you get what you give.Howard Dean maybe & no more Naders nm128
Mar 10, 2003 11:06 AM
Is Bush screwed?Fredrico
Mar 10, 2003 11:55 AM
The guy's scary. Groomed in the Eastern Establishment, schooled in the fast draw, macho, fundamentalist Christian, good ole boy political and moral elite of Texas culture, he now is poised, to quote a Presbyterian minister's lament in the Op Ed pages of the Washington Post, and "apocalypic" war against, to quote many Muslims, "the Muslim faith," the last in the tradition of the great Christian crusaders, to seize the holy land (and it's precious oil).

Meanwhile, Israel, the only nation founded on a privileged race and religion, refuses to grant citizenship to its Palestinian peoples, repeating what we did to our Indians, shutting them out in their own disparate territories. Then they wonder why Palestinians will give up their lives to fight against what the United Nations has defined as racism and apartheid. In the draconian world of fundamentalist Christian moral certainty, this man Bush, naturally, sides with the Jews and blames the Palestinians for all their problems.

As international pressure mounts against Bush's aggression, he must still attack to save face. Lyndon Johnson said, "I'll be damned if I'll be the first President to be defeated in war!" Will Bush have the courage not to repeat Johnson's mistake, fatal to his political career?
Is Bush screwed?kilimanjaro
Mar 11, 2003 4:34 PM
You're mistaken there partner. I think up to 20% of the Isreali citizens are Palestinians. Palestinians get elected to the Isreali Kenneset (spelling?). I think you are refering to the Palestinian refugees and Isreal's refusal to allow them to return to their ancestral homes after Isreali independence.

While not condoning this policy, it is understantable that Isrealies unwillingness to repatriatea large population that to this day vows to "Drive the Jews into the sea". You have to realize that when Palestinians refugees refer to occuppation, many (including Hamas) refer to all of Israel proper along with the "occupied territories". If you are going to argue that the state of Israel is an inoral state that should have never been...

Bush scares me as well. Actually Ashcroft scares me even more, but please leave Isreal out of it (for the most part)
Too early to telljtolleson
Mar 10, 2003 4:46 PM
But my gut reaction is like Doug's; the guy will be vulnerable.

Hell bent on commencing a war that already is viewed skeptically by middle America, he'll suffer sure political fallout if there are any meaningful casualties.

A poor economy is virtually always a huge hurdle for an incumbent, even where there's good reason to blame either a predecessor or factors beyond his control.

Another wild card: If Cheney chooses to bow out of a re-election bid. His heart condition appears to have stabilized but its nearly two years until they'd even been sworn in again (much less get through the entire stressful second term).

Finally, the political fallout from the PATRIOT Act (and its successor now in draft form) is, in my opinion, starting to build. Another major terror attack MIGHT rally the masses behind this attack on civil liberties, but otherwise I think the whole Ashcroft angle could be a further public relations Achilles heel.
Too early to tellJon Billheimer
Mar 10, 2003 5:08 PM
Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, has correctly pointed out, I think, that Bush has gambled his entire presidency on the success of his Iraq war and his ability to install a democratic regime in Iraq, thus promoting a democratic alternative in the Middleast. I think Friedman's right, and I think Bush and his extremely small circle of advisors are dreaming in technicolour with respect to this middleast gambit.

As everyone above has pointed out, without an absolutely spectacular success in Iraq all the other negative chickens are going to come home to roost. It's up to the Democrats not to do what they usually do, and that is to beat themselves.
Messianic impulseFredrico
Mar 11, 2003 7:16 AM
Supporting Freidman's insight, a Washington Post writer suggests that Bush furthurmore sees himself as placed by God to free Iraq from Saddam and bring peace and light to the Holy Land. His presumption, not consistent with his actions towards the Palestinians, and the world populations in general, scares--and maddens--a great many Muslims over there, who view it as arrogant and hypocritic.
Most appalling president in my memory, but he's a lockcory
Mar 10, 2003 7:59 PM
I think Bush has done truly horrible things--not so much the way he's conducted the war on some terrorists, but the stuff he's done quietly to the environment, the tax system, the poor and and so on. Despite that, though, I think he's a lock in 2004. He's got terrific spin artists, he's avoiding most of his father's mistakes and directing attention away from his own, and most important of all, we live in a country the voters of which made "Joe Millionaire" a hit and prefer NASCAR to Formula 1. He's a lock.
why do so many disagree?DougSloan
Mar 11, 2003 8:08 AM
Why do you think so many Americans disagree with that position, and give Bush high approval marks? Rather than "horrible," most see him as doing a good job. Why do we see the same facts, essentially, so differently? I never have quite understood this.

why do so many disagree?Jon Billheimer
Mar 11, 2003 8:28 AM
I think the way one perceives Bush depends a lot upon one's geographical and cultural reference point and personal degree of fear arising from 9/11. I truly believe that most Americans were absolutely traumatized by that ghastly event and are vulnerable to a "strongman saviour", which Bush represents himself to be. His simplistic religious/moral fervour also appeals to everyone's need for certainty and a sense of rightness. Unfortunately reality is much, much more complex than the version that policy spin doctors present.
you mean this?DougSloan
Mar 11, 2003 8:43 AM
County by County Presidential Election Map 2000
No I Do NotJon Billheimer
Mar 11, 2003 8:51 AM
What I'm referring to is a psychological explanation of why so many Americans disagree with Bush's policies but give him high personal approval ratings. Consider America's fears. Then look at Bush's body language. Listen to the adjectives and metaphors he uses. Then figure it out for yourself, Doug. You're a smart guy:)-
that was a joke :-) nmDougSloan
Mar 11, 2003 8:56 AM
Well, duh! And I'm Not Even Blonde:)-Jon Billheimer
Mar 11, 2003 9:17 AM
No, no, he meant this!OldEdScott
Mar 11, 2003 9:38 AM
Gore: 50,999,879 (48.38%)
Bush: 50,456,002 (47.87%)

8 - )
No, he'll just cheat again. (nm)pdg60
Mar 11, 2003 10:31 AM