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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|This Patient Can't Be Saved--Just Make Him Comfortable|
I'm sure that somewhere, in some incarnation of the TV medical drama, some story has been told about a person who refuses to do what is good for him until he has bled out so much that he couldn't be saved. It sounds very "ER" to me, but I can't think of the exact episode. But you can picture it--brave and noble but foolish character continues to take abuse from some slob until it finally gets to be too much; sadly, by the time he fights back, enough internal damage has been done that the character cannot be revived despite the heroic efforts of the TV doctors who unsuccessfully apply an experimental procedure which is his only hope.
Or something like that. But I digress . . .
Consider that story line in light of the President's current poll numbers (via RealClearPolitics). Today's RCP average has the President's approval down at 38.8%; Rasmussen, the only service that runs a daily tracking, ticked slightly upward last weekend after the President's Veteran's Day salvo, but has since slipped back to his all-time lows at 42%.
What does this mean? In my opinion--scholarly and informed as it is--this means that the President waited WAY too long to deliver a defense of himself and his policy. The constant drip of anti-Bush rhetoric, starting with the whole Cindy Sheehan fiasco in August, finally bled him out enough that even fighting back did nothing to recoup the state of the Presidency.
Is it final? Of course not. Facts on the ground constantly change, and anything can affect the perception of the President's job. But, unfortunately, in the process of not defending himself, the President has allowed his strengths to be eroded; in particular, the public perception of his truthfulness and trustworthiness to defend the country are now both in the negative range.
And that sort of thing is hard to recover from.
It will take some sort of major event--the death or capture of Zarqawi or bin Laden--to recover from this malaise, I fear. I know the President (being a baseball man) is taking the long view of events: three years to go before he has to pass the torch to someone else, with three years to continue strengthening Iraq, holding elections, and, hopefully, pulling back the U.S. involvement. And with luck, three years is enough time to manufacture a major event. But there is a pretty big thing going on in the interim (a little thing called an election) which consequences (SCOTUS, the larger GWOT, tax relief) are pretty darned important, also