Lieberman Disapproves of Disapproval

Joe Lieberman may fancy himself as some sort of majestic hawk soaring boldly above the vast territory he defends, but, in truth, he seems much more akin to a squawking vulture elevating himself simply to detect carrion. Last week, during the confirmation hearings for General David Petraeus, the junior senator from Connecticut sought to suck the general into the political debate over the war in Iraq. Specifically, Lieberman asked whether a “resolution of disapproval for this new strategy in Iraq would give the enemy some encouragement, some feeling that…the American people were divided.â€? Such a question is beyond insulting, in that it infers that those who register their disapproval are, in effect, aiding and abetting the enemy and that any public dissent—rather than demonstrating the strength and majesty of American democracy—highlights a divisiveness that is somehow unacceptable. In case Boltin’ Joe has yet to notice, the American people have been divided for quite some time about the war in Iraq. It is only more recently that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle—an aisle that Lieberman currently straddles like a playground pony—have begun to take exception to this foolhardy endeavor and the policies that perpetuate it. Nonetheless, Joe is stubbornly sticking to his cap guns and smearing those who won’t play nice. One can only imagine what he must think of the latest Newsweek poll (below). Perhaps he believes that the significant majority who registered their disapproval, not to mention the pollsters who dared to gauge public opinion, were giving the enemy “some encouragement.” More likely, they were just giving Lieberman and his fellow carrion-feeders the bird.

A Sorry State

President George W. Bush concluded his annual State of the Union address this week with the words “the State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on.� Maybe so, but the state of the Bush administration is at its worst yet, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House.

Public fatigue over the war in the Iraq is not reflected solely in the president’s numbers, however. Congress is criticized by nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans for not being assertive enough in challenging the Bush administration’s conduct of the war. Even a third (31 percent) of rank-and-file Republicans say the previous Congress, controlled by their party, didn’t do enough to challenge the administration on the war….

With Bush widely viewed as an ineffectual “lame duckâ€? (by 71 percent of all Americans), over half (53 percent) of the poll’s respondents now say they believe history will see him as a below-average president, up three points from last May. The first time this question was asked, in October 2003, as many people thought Bush would go down in history as an above average president as thought we would be regarded as below average (29 to 26 percent). Only 22 percent of those polled think Bush’s decisions about Iraq and other major policy are influenced mainly by the facts; 67 percent say the president’s decisions are influenced more by his personal beliefs. This perhaps explains why only about half (49 percent) of adult Americans even bothered to watch or listen to any of the State of the Union speech as it happened. Of those, less than half (42 percent) think his energy, health care and other domestic policy proposals are likely to be seriously considered by the new Democratic-controlled Congress. Overall, 61 percent are unsatisfied with the way things are going in America; just 30 percent are satisfied. [full text]


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