US President George W. Bush (1946- ), the most unpopular president in American history, sadly, for good cause
America has long been mad about records. Americans love the -est suffix. But, the record about which their media spoke a short while ago can hardly make them proud. A centre for the analysis of opinion survey data, Real Clear Politics (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/), says the personal rating of President George W. Bush dropped lower than that of any other President of the past six decades did, to a mere 29 percent. To put it differently, more than two-thirds of Americans take a negative view of President Bush’s performance in office. That breaks Richard M. Nixon’s record. In August 1974, only 66 percent of Americans took a negative view of his performance in the heyday of the Watergate scandal. George W. Bush, unlike Richard M. Nixon, was never charged with abuse of the law and perjury. But, the number of citizens who trust George W. Bush is appallingly low, and President Bush may go down in history as the least successful and least popular leader of his country.
There are several ways to explain his bad luck. A self-proclaimed standard-bearer of democracy, George W. Bush won the White House, even though most Americans voted for his adversary Al Gore in the presidential elections eight years ago. After a difficult period of complicated and hardly-democratic bickering, the problem of who would run the United States was decided, by the narrowest margin, by the Supreme Court. The humiliating verdict of the Supreme Court is, of course, hard to forget. It echoes far and wide in today’s America.
President Bush has broken several records, including the personal rating one. His years in office highlight the biggest negative balance between federal budget revenues and budget spending. The public debt of the United States has grown by two trillion dollars (46.947 trillion roubles. 1.285 trillion euros. 1.012 trillion UK pounds) and now tops nine trillion dollars (211.261 trillion roubles. 5.781 trillion euros. 4.553 trillion UK pounds) over the years of his two presidential mandates. New York Times columnist Adam Cohen said in reference to the domestic policies of the Bush Administration that the gap between promises and reality flabbergasts Americans. Those who hoped for early solutions to the problems of health care, alternate energy sources, or global warming received nothing. Those who dreamed of an early reconstruction of New Orleans are still waiting for their dreams to come true. They have lost hope. It is no wonder, then, that America feels depressed.
What Adam Cohen speaks about may best be explained by the humiliation of the first big defeat in the military history of the United States of America. The USA is losing a war thousands of miles away from home, on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Most Americans are quick-witted enough to guess that the war, which has already cost them billions of dollars and turned several thousand soldiers into cripples or dead bodies, has nothing to do with the protection of their vital interests and is waged by the Bush-Cheney team in the interests of those who want Iraqi oil. Besides, the popularity rating of the Bush Administration has plummeted so low because the White House invented a false excuse for the invasion of Iraq. It turns out it they invented stories about Saddam Hussein’s stocks of weapons of mass-destruction and the close contacts between Baghdad and Osama bin Laden. Furthermore, they knew they were lying. But, lies have short legs. A proven attempt to deceive America resulted in a plummeting personal rating for George W. Bush.
Significantly, this loss of confidence in the White House has spilled over into the rest of the world. The White House’s policies have sent the international rating of the USA to its all-time lowest level. The Government Accounting Office of the US Congress was alarmed to find out that the wave of anti-American feeling had risen so high as to threaten the security of the United States. It said the world had stopped seeing America as a standard-bearer of freedom, and had, instead, come to see it as a dangerous force that ought to be held in check. With a few months to go before the Bush team leaves the White House, the bottom line has already been chalked off under the results of George W. Bush’s performance in office. Most Americans disapprove of what the 43rd President of their country did. But, will the future helmsmen of the United States take that popular verdict into consideration?
23 May 2008
A View from Moscow
Voice of Russia World Service
Much has been made of the recent lull in the Iraqi fighting. This has not been accompanied by the destruction of either the forces-in-being of the insurgents or of their stockpiles of weapons and munitions. It is clear that the lull is the result of Iraqi insurgents giving the Americans an “excuse” to withdraw. Most military professionals are grasping at this opportunity, and General Petraeus speaks of a “victory” that he does not believe in. He is doing this for good reason. He wishes to get American forces out of this quagmire, which has cost too much in terms of money and lives. There are times when one applauds dissimulation, and this is one of them. If it takes a false declaration of “victory” to “get the boys home”, such is not only acceptable, but, laudable.