Sunday, August 27, 2006

one year later

almost one year ago, clinton administration jetsam dick morris washed up on fox news and made this bold prediction about hurricane katrina's impact on bush's popularity:

y'know, george bush basically believes the federal government should do two things: fight wars and help people recover from disasters and now he's got both on his plate. i think that his ratings are gonna soar! not necessarily in the next three days, but over the next year he's gonna look so good doing all this stuff.

morris' hosts — even bush apologist-in-chief sean hannity — were understandably skeptical:

morris: ... the people who said this storm is gonna hurt bush's presidency are just wrong. he can get all the money he wants out of congress 'cause of this disaster, the people will be solidly behind him, the media will cover it like crazy, and he's gonna look like santa claus.

colmes: so if you're advising democrats now, how would you advise them to react?

morris: to shut up and stop harping —

colmes: ha! "shut up" ... !

morris: — and screaming and hollering and pointing fingers, and start amassing national credits by showing the same liberal democratic compassion bush did.

colmes: so they should just agree with him and say he's doing a great job.

morris: yeah, they — just like right after 9/11, they hurt themselves by any kind of carping. ah, bush — this speech was fantastic!

[ snip ]

morris: ... you have a president that doesn't think government should do a lot. but he believes they should fight wars and that was the first term, and they believe they should recover from disasters and that's the second term. man, is this guy fortunate!

hannity: [chuckling] fortunate to have a disaster?

morris: fortunate to be able to be president at a time when he can respond without violating his principles.

with bush's approval at 41% (according to a fox news poll released on the day of the broadcast), dick probably thought his analysis was not completely ludicrous, since bush seemed to have nowhere to go but up:

today, 41 percent of voters approve and 51 percent disapprove of president bush’s performance, which is the lowest job rating he has received in a fox news poll. the president’s approval rating is down 4 percentage points from two weeks ago (45 percent, august 30-31), around the time the magnitude of katrina’s damage was becoming clear. before the hurricane, 47 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved (july 26-27).

well, after a year of bush's "liberal democratic compassion", dick may have been at least half-right — bush had nowhere to go. nowhere but down, that is, and he's dragging his republican-led congress down with him:

the new poll finds the [sic] 36 percent of americans approve of president bush’s job performance and 56 percent disapprove. these results are in line with the ratings the president has received for the last couple of months. moreover, for the past three surveys the gap between approval among republicans (76 percent) and democrats (10 percent) has been 66 percentage points.

the assessment of the job congress is doing continues to be abysmal, as more than twice as many americans say they disapprove (58 percent) as approve (24 percent).

to be fair, dick's fawning pronouncements would not necessarily have been so pathetically absurd had he been prognosticating about any other president than the dismal one we are presently stuck with. to vindicate dick's wet dreams of republican munificence, all nero bush needed to do was to roll up his sleeves and simply deliver on dick's assurances of timely and tangible material support to katrina's victims.1 compassion — if bush actually has any to give — without assistance is nothing more than contempt.

it was sickening enough that dick neglected to acknowledge the federal government's own culpability in the disaster that so fortuitously befell louisiana. but did dick truly believe that this potemkin administration ever intended to provide new orleans with more than a white wash and red tape? did he truly believe that the destruction of a major american city ever meant more to bush than just an opportunity for another series of woefully ineffectual photo-ops in bush's non-stop dog-and-pony tribute to himself?

1 and of course, while he's at it, bush would also need to pacify iraq and lower oil prices and catch osama bin laden and jump-start the economy and ...

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