Tuesday, 28 February 2006

New floor for Bush

New CBS poll has Bush at 34% (and 29% on personal favourability).

That's a record, folks.

And as Josh Marshall pointed out,
once you get down below, say, 40% you've really, really gotta earn every new lost point on the way down.

But I think the real story is how Bush is playing in Utah, where Bush support is the highest. Survey USA has him at 58%. This seems pretty high, but it's rare for Bush to drop below 60 in the Beehive State.

That dispassionate number conceals agonies of cognitive dissonance among the Republican faithful. Latter-day Saints are conditioned to obey authority, and the conflict between obedience and disgust must be harrowing for some Utah Republicans. Oh, sure, there are plenty of 'kick Al-Qaeda's butt' Bush worshippers, but among them are conservatives in the classic mold. Fiscal responsibility, limited government, avoid foreign entanglements. I've had many conversations with these folks, and while I disagreed with their approach, I respected some of these core values. That was in 1992, before the irrational Clinton-hatred and the takeover of the Republican Party by neo-conservative radicals, Bush among them.

I don't mean this to be exculpatory; the Republicans chose to go after the mouth-breathing religious conservative vote, and in many ways Bush is nothing more than the logical extension of their policies and tactics. The devil take them all! But this does give great pain to people who remember what conservatism used to be about.

Never mind. It seems we're due for a contraction, as conservatives smell the wind and turn on Bush and Co in order to gain some distance for the midterms. There's going to be a lot of blood on the floor.

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