April 15, 2004 | Jeff Wall

The Bush Presidency is in desperate trouble

Even the pro-Bush US media, such as Fox News, is having difficulty disguising the reality that the Bush Presidency is in desperate political trouble.
The recent signs of economic improvement, including the hitherto depressing jobs outlook, have not lifted President Bush’s re-election prospects.
Perhaps even more significantly, nor has the “flip flop” policy stances of the uncrowned Democrat challenger, Senator John Kerry.
Bush is facing a Democrat challenger about whom there are many doubts and concerns, even in his own Party.
But the latest opinion polls indicate that Kerry has taken a significant lead over Bush. At least one poll was taken immediately after there was a raft of good economic news, including on the jobs front.
Clearly the US electorate is desperately concerned about Iraq, and why shouldn’t it be.
The military casualties are greater than at any time during the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The American promise of “democracy and freedom” is not only further away than ever, it looks increasingly impossible to achieve.
The rhetoric coming out of the Administration, notably from the ardent pro-war Vice President and Defence Secretary, is clearly not resonating with the US electorate.
Bush did not help himself by spending the Easter period at his Texas ranch, again giving the impression he is not the hands-on Chief Executive the American people want their President to be.
Perhaps the only recent development favourable to Bush is Senator Kerry’s recent comment that a Kerry Administration would remain in Iraq for as long as necessary – whatever that means.
I watched the Bush press conference yesterday. He holds these media gatherings very rarely, and it was not hard to see why. It was a faltering, inadequate performance, one that will hardly re-assure a doubting electorate and very troubled families of US servicemen and women.
It is not too late for Bush to turn around the political mood. He has a substantial campaign war chest, and incumbency is an advantage in presidential elections.
But there is one problem – the Iraq position is crucial to his re-election, and, like it or not, his capacity to manage, or correct, the situation in Iraq appears to be diminishing almost daily.
Sending in more troops might be necessary, but it also might be very unpopular.
Comparisons between the Vietnam War and Iraq are questionable.
But George W Bush is looking, and sounding, very much like the main political “victim” of Vietnam, Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Bush won’t withdraw from the race like Johnson did, but, like Johnson he may well find himself an onlooker, rather than the central participant, come Inauguration Day next January.

Posted by Jeff Wall at 8:01 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Totally agree.George Bush comes across as an inarticulate moron.I felt so embarrased for John Howard when he embraced him like a suberviant inferior.John looked ill at ease,yet this fool had not even the emotional nouse to treat a leader
    of another country as an equal.
    The Americans may like to pick an a puppet as their spokes person,but at least pick one with some intelligence and finnese.
    R Johnson

    Comment by R Johnson — April 19, 2004 @ 10:38 pm

  2. There are many parallels between Iraq and Vietnam.
    The people do not wish to have their infrastrucure destroyed, thousands of their people killed, be invaded and occupied by a foreign army and have all their countrie’s assets sold off to foreign buyers.
    Many so called moderate Iraquis have turned on the US in Iraq because the United States has been revealed as something far from the bringer of freedom from Sadam that they were meant to be.
    The lessons of Vietnam have not been heeded and I fear that the cost in lives will far exceed that of the Vietnam war before failure is admitted.
    It is tragic that most of the people being killed on both sides are not the people responsible for the war. On one side we have civilians being killed and on the other side we have young soldiers being killled.
    The so called leaders sit thousands of kilometres away from danger and the killing and promise to see it through to the end.
    It is always possible to have too many enemies but it is never possible to have too many friends.
    The end of What?

    Comment by John Schindler — April 22, 2004 @ 5:09 pm

  3. I would be careful to describe George Bush’s reelection prospects as desperate.
    It’s still the case that seventy-two percent of the American public (including my father in-law, alas) believe that Saddam and his regime in Iraq were involved in the September 11 atrocities, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.
    In the recent polling that I’ve seen here in the US (more at pollingreport.com for those interested) the gap between Bush and Kerry is smaller than the margin of error, making it appear to be a statistical dead heat.
    Assuming no unexpected major events (such as the unlikely discovery of WMD in Iraq, another domestic terrorist event, the capture of Osama bin Laden, etc…) quite possibly the largest political factor affecting Bush’s prospects will be the presense of the third wheel Ralph Nader in the polls. Due to the non-preferential electoral mechanism here offering no harmless ability too lodge a protest vote, Nader’s portion of the vote could swing the outcome. If 25% of Nader’s voters had swung to Gore in 2000, Gore would have won the electoral college. Nader is currently polling 5% of the national primary vote, much more than the polling margin of error, and, significantly, more than enough to push the encumbent president over the line. If Nader pulls out in Sept or October, this is necessarily good news for Democrats.
    Add to this Kerry’s difficulty in convincing the voters that he is strong on national security (a much larger direct concern here than specifically Iraq), and would appear about on-par with Bush in terms of the economy (from the polling, anyway) and you have a very close election again in November.
    Whilst I would agree that the decision to invade Iraq (based on evidence that turned out to be flatly wrong) should cost a number of people their jobs, it would be projecting to say that Bush’s reelection is in peril.
    The current hope of Kerry and his team lies with the report that 10% of the electorate are still undecided, and undecided tend to go against the incumbent on the day. The logic being that voters who say they are undecided almost always end up opposing the incumbent — they know him well, and if they were going to vote for him, they would have decided already.
    This sounds like perilous logic to me, and almost certainly the product of a mind desperate to see the end of Pres. George II, even though the opposition candidate isn’t performing so well.
    Nothing would please me more than seeing a regime change here in the US, but let’s not get too hopeful until we see a real change in the numbers… When it call comes down to it, this election will be decided by how voters’ feel their pocket books are faring. Americans tend to leave foreign policy up to the people in Washington, whoever they are.

    Comment by Brendan Bouffler — April 28, 2004 @ 12:05 am

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