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  • Is Bush and the Republicans going down?

    by Sunny
    6th January, 2006 at 10:46 am    

    If President Bush thought 2006 could not get any worse than a year in which his ratings dropped to a record low – he could be in for a nasty surprise.

    A relatively successful Iraqi election and a series of confidence boosting speeches were finally raising his ratings when the New York Times spoiled his party by disclosing that the administration was illegally wire-tapping citizens. And that was before the new year even arrived.

    To ensure accuracy, and maybe due to a bit of pressure from Mr Bush himself, NYT sat on the story for a year first. What forced its hand was the publication of a book (last week) by its political journalist James Risen that had more surprises in store.

    It also came to light this week that the CIA made a huge gaffe six years ago in trying to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions by giving it flawed designs. [Extract here]

    Can it get any more embarrassing for the CIA (this actually happened during the Clinton years)?

    For Bush it certainly can. During last year’s American election there much grumbling in the sidelines about the rising cost of political campaigning and the huge amount of back-scratching the Republican party was doing. Now it may all come back to haunt them.

    You may be aware that Jack Ambroff, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbyists (job description: to persuade politicians to act more favourably towards clients), recently pleaded guilty to charges of corruption and more. Unfortunately for the Republicans, he is singing like a canary in hope of a lighter sentence.

    None of this is helping the Democrats much in ratings, mostly because they’re too impotent to go in for the kill. And it’s not hurting the Republicans too much either for now. Why?

    My feeling is that Americans are getting more frustrated than anything else. Some are not sure what or who to believe anymore, for others it just re-enforces their prejudices.

    Take the wire-tapping controversy for example. While some were questioning the legitimacy of Bush’s actions, others such as Fox News were asking whether the NYT had put more Americans in danger by exposing what the government was doing to “protect America”.

    Some even went as far as suggesting NYT could face legal problems for publishing classified information that was critical to national security. Forget the fact that the government was acting illegally, no one will be prosecuted there.

    By raising the spectre of ‘national security’ these days, governments are getting away with almost anything. By switching the issue Fox easily made die-hard Republicans think that NYT was at fault, not Bush.

    On a broader level it leaves the media worried about doing such investigating reporting because the President can then accuse you of nasty things, as Bush has recently done with NYT and the Washington Post.

    It also leaves people confused and therefore happy to stick with their previous loyalties.

    Except, that is, when it comes to corruption.

    That makes the currently unfolding Abramoff drama all the more interesting. Republicans know they can’t spin corruption around national security so they are doing everything to distance themselves from the man.

    First plan of action – return the money, and do it quick. Next – get rid of those who may embarrass you.

    Abramoff gave some cash to Democrats too, but he overwhelmingly favoured Republicans. They were ready to cooperate. The biggest concern for them is the scandal drags on for so long that they may go into this year’s mid-term elections with dirty money written all over their faces.

    Democracts have an open goal. But can they kick the ball? It remains to be seen.

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    Filed in: Current affairs,Party politics,The World

    9 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Rohin — on 6th January, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

      Bad year for Bush…but what with Democrats being a but useless and a lot of Americans not being that world-wise, Bush isn’t too badly affected.

      BoingBoing linked to an interesting piece entitled 4 reasons you should be glad Bush is in power (or something similar):

    2. Siddharth — on 6th January, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

      Superb post by Prof Cole on the crimes of Abramoff.

      Now here’s the thing. If a Palestinian-American had diverted $140,000 from a Muslim charity to “security equipment” and “sniper lessons” for Palestinians on the West Bank, that individual would be in Gitmo so fast that the sonic boom would rattle your windows.

    3. El Cid — on 6th January, 2006 at 6:21 pm  

      does this have a title?

    4. Sunny — on 6th January, 2006 at 8:33 pm  

      d’oh! I’ve added the title now. I wrote this late at night and it completely slipped my mind.

    5. leon — on 7th January, 2006 at 2:40 am  

      Shouldn’t that title read “Are Bush and the Republicans…” rather than “Is Bush…” or is it just me?

    6. Don — on 7th January, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

      I’m sure Sunny was just subtly referencing ‘Is our children learning?’

    7. Percy — on 7th January, 2006 at 4:41 pm  

      They said we were “paranoid”. They called us “moonbats” and “conspiracy nuts”. But despite the best efforts of Skull & Bones and Halliburton, Americans are finally learning the truth: George Bush has been spying on everyone. Not just on so-called “terrorists” - which would be bad enough - but on decent, hard working Americans right here at home.

      Compounding his heinous crimes is Bush’s stubborn insistence that his felonious actions were “constitutional”. That’s a mighty big word for a moron. I almost believed him myself until I took a break from wallpapering my condo with aluminum foil and consulted my personal copy of the Living, Breathing Constitution. There was a Woman’s Right to Choose, of course. The Right to a Living Wage and the Right to Free Health Care as well. There was our good ol’ Freedom from Religion, exactly where the ACLU left it. But for the life of me I couldn’t find anything regarding a peeResidential authority to tap the telephones of unsuspecting soccer moms. Perhaps Bush thinks that since he was never truly elected, he is therefore exempt from the limits society has placed on the powers of Republican presidents. Or maybe he just likes to stare at people through two-way mirrors secretly installed in their bathrooms.

      Whatever his excuse, he has stolen something sacred from us. The utopian dream that was once America has been turned into a fascist police nightmare ruled by an authoritarian oligarchy. It’s what I like to call “Orwellian”, in reference to that chilling novel of the same name.

      No use looking for it, it’s probably already banned. I hope Ralph Nader runs in the next election.

    8. Arif — on 8th January, 2006 at 1:59 am  

      There seems to be an emotional connection to the issues which the Republicans and Democrats champion which can’t be altered much by “facts”. I’m sure it is the same for politics all over the world, but it seems to be more conscious in political reporting in the US.

      If facts come to light which show you to be a cruel, corrupt liar, you can just explain it as necessary to protect the flag, freedom, national security, whatever phrase resonates with people. The connection is emotional and not rational, so “facts” don’t have much impact. If you want to keep your identity as a patriot of the greatest country on earth. If you have little else to be proud of. Then you will give your life to maintain your oppression or someone else’s.

      Just a theory. It isn’t so strongly visible to me in the UK, because I’m so used to it and so much part of it, but it is more so in Pakistan, and even more obvious in countries I get to know and feel less part of their politics.

    9. lalu prasad madav — on 8th January, 2006 at 4:21 am  

      sunny LA never liked bush anyway. if you are going by what ppl are saying there then you’re getting a mistaken picture of the US population……

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