Saturday, November 05, 2005

Oh, Reagan River

Here's an Op-Ed piece I submitted for consideration to the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky.

Oh, Reagan River

Last Friday's poll numbers had surprising news. It turns out that most people have become French. Or is it African-American? Is it Vive le George or my peeps George. Let's see how the numbers work out.George W. Bush's poll numbers have sunk to levels that would have embarrassed even his father. In today's CBS poll, Bush had a disapprove-57%/ approve-35% rating; the Washington Post had it 60%/39%. Even his father never sunk below 38% approval. What makes it interesting is that the Republican base--the Republican faithful who kept pushing for Clinton's impeachment in 1998 and mobilized for Bush in 2004--stands at about 33%. That means that somewhere between 2 and 6 percent of the rest of the population is supporting Bush. Two percent is a significant number. That's how much support Bush has from the African-American population these days. Perhaps the black population serves as a good mirror for Bush's situation with the rest of the non-Republicans in this country. The white part of the non-Republican coalition might not suffer from employment discrimination, redlining, racial profiling, or conservative calls to stop being black. But it still might be coalescing into an African-American nation anyway.But there's a problem with the African-American scenario. The non-Republican part of the population is about 66% divided with rough equality among independents and Democrats. If Bush is getting 39% approval among the whole population, the 6% that he gets from non-Republicans would represent 9.1% of the 66% non-Republican population. Actually, that's more French than African-American. On the eve of the invasion in 2003, 90% of the French population was surveyed as opposing American policy in Iraq. The French were more united than the Spanish, Polish, and Italians (all of whom only achieved 75% disapproval) and even more united than the Turks who were going to have a war on their doorstep. It was a miracle. Single-handedly, President Bush made the French the most single-minded nation in Europe. Emile Durkheim, the French sociologist of the collective conscience, would have been proud.It looks like President Bush is creating the same kind of unity among non-Republicans in the United States. With African-Americans leading the way, non-Republicans have coalesced around a single bright, shining thought. They disapprove of the Bush administration. Actually, the term "disapprove" does not really capture the true state of people’s feeling. David Brooks wrote a couple of weeks ago that Republican congressmen were finding that their constituents found the Bush administration and Bush himself to be "repugnant." United we stand in our revulsion. No doubt the French would be proud of us. As the trailblazers in Bush revulsion, they will be more than happy to welcome us aboard.But we can do better. White Non-Republicans can move from “good” to “great”—from the excellent levels of anti-Bush unity achieved by the French to the greatness of our African-American brothers and sisters. Total unity is within our grasp. We just need the Bush administration to fail even more spectacularly than they're failing now. How hard can that be? Write letters to the President and Kentucky’s two Republican Senators urging them to invade Iran and Syria, re-nominate Robert Bork for the Supreme Court, breathe new life into Social Security privatization, and really promote their scheme to eviscerate mortgage deductions. President Bush WANTS to do all these things. Why not give him more encouragement? Tell them that Bush needs to enact more conservative policies while he still has time. Be innovative. Suggest unpopular ideas that the Bush administration hasn't thought of yet. Does Dick Cheney know there's oil under the Statue of Liberty? How about turning the Secret Service over to Blackwater Security? Speaking of black water, shouldn't the Mississippi River be re-named after Ronald Reagan? "Oh Reagan River, keep on rolling.” With the Bush administration, the potential for failure is unlimited. We just have to point them in the right direction.

Act now before Bush fails without your help.


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