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Thursday, May 11, 2006

TVD's Newswalk™: Polls Schmolls

A guided tour of those who make the news and those who re-make it:

BAGHDAD (AP)---Gathering a crowd by hawking flour at half-price from a pickup, a suicide attacker set off bombs hidden beneath the flour sacks at a market in Tal Afar on Tuesday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 35 in a city cited by President Bush as a success story in battling insurgents.

Now, certainly technically accurate. And I suppose a moron might miss the intended snarkiness there toward the president.

Someone might remind the Associated Press (the original is not bylined) that terrorism can happen everywhere, even in areas under firm coalition control.

Like London.

That's why it's terrorism, stupid. The flour sacks were being sold at half market value, and so attracted quite a crowd. I could take out three-quarters of San Francisco if I passed out "Impeach Bush" buttons first.

Poll Gives Bush His Worst Marks Yet

So sayeth the NYT headline. OK, though a bit ho-hum. Another day, another drop in the polls. Down to 31%. Buried in the last paragraph, I mean the last, folks, are some other interesting approval ratings: Al Gore, 28%. And in the next-to-last, John Kerry, 26.

28, 26. Y tu mamá también. Thank God Dubya stole those elections.

Over in the UK, where he just won another term while promising to quit before it's over (how perverse!), Tony Blair is at 26%, too. And I can't even imagine how low the heinous, corrupt Chirac regime has slipped, especially among those who got their Citroens all burned up in the recent, um, civil unrest.

The Battleaxis of Evil (HT: Jay Homnick), Hillary Clinton, who says little and does nothing of value, only has an approval rating of 34%, and all-around good guy centrist John McCain is at 35. There's a pattern here.

In this day and age of 24/7 bad news here in the western world, all things considered like the (un)popularity of his previous crap opponents, his political ally in another country, and senators who have no real responsibility, Dubya is lookin' pretty danged good.

May 8 (KGO)---Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says the war in Iraq may turn out to be the worst foreign policy mistake in American history.

Maybe, but we've made some other doozies. Let's take a

{{[~~Wayne's World Flashback to 1996~~]}}

Lesley Stahl: We have heard that half a million children have died (in Iraq). I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And you know, is the price worth it?

Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price---we think the price is worth it.

You made no hard choice, Madame. You chose the easy way out. It was not worth it. You "contained" Saddam for a handful of years, changed nothing, and only the innocent died. And I'd like to know who "we" are.

There are some things in today's world worse than war, and you proved it. I'll take this war, which has Saddam in a prison, his lovely sons Uday and Attila dead instead of throwing their countrymen into meatgrinders, and the Iraqi people with at least a puncher's chance to win their liberty. I understand that many seem to disagree, but me, yeah, I think it was worth it, especially in comparision with your "choice."

Go home, ma'am, and be quiet. Some people have no shame. If anyone on this earth has no moral or political standing to judge the decision to topple Saddam, it's Madeleine Albright.

Or, all things considered, mebbe not:

(AP)---Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general now defending Saddam Hussein, said the former Iraqi president's trial is a sham staged and paid for by the United States. "This court is nothing more than a continuation of the war---shock and awe--- and the occupation to destroy and demonize the former leadership, make them seem barbarian," Clark said.

Make them seem barbarian? Should it take any effort at all?

If Saddam had had Clark instead of Baghdad Bob, I have no doubt that he'd have won the war and his approval rating would now be in the high 70s. At least in San Francisco, where now he's only hovering in the low 50s.

May 11 (NYPost)---WASHINGTON - President Bush yesterday said his younger brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, would make "a great president" as Bush III.
"I would like to see Jeb run at some point in time, but I have no idea if that's his intention or not."

And the irony is that Bush III, who as governor of bellwether Florida enjoys a 55% approval rating, won't be our slam dunk next president only because of his brother. On the other hand, Clinton II, who would hold no political office above dogcatcher without her husband, might make it because of him. Guilt, or merit, by association.

If Iraq and Dubya will keep Jeb out of '08, then Madeleine Albright (and whoever "we" is/am/are) should send Hillary to political oblivion.

The polls indicate that everybody everywhere is pretty friggin' miserable, is what I get. Sorry, nobody's perfect, and politics cannot solve the problem of the human condition. Democracies don't do that philosopher-king thing, at least since FDR. Except for what he did and didn't do with Iraq, I thought Bill Clinton was pretty much an OK president. I think Dubya handled Iraq better and it's best he doesn't listen to the polls, all things considered, though most criticisms of him are valid, too.

In the music business, what I'm doing here is called "turd-polishing." You work with what you're given, and that's what the bridge to the 21st century dumped on Bush. It was a crap situation, with nothing but crap alternatives. I think he did the best any of us could, at least if our names are Al Gore, John Kerry, or Madeleine Albright.

(My apologies for the fecal imagery at the close. Just couldn't find anything better or apt. "Sucks" just didn't swing it but it's one or the other here in the 21st until we learn to chin up and chill out a little...)


Jay D. Homnick said...

Like a good dike that leads between the Rhines, I think that your commentary is right on target.

And although the polls have gone south, we still believe in Santa.

Barry Vanhoff said...

Sorry, nobody's perfect, and politics cannot solve the problem of the human condition.

Great line.

I wonder if there is (historically) a high correlation between prez approval and gas prices?

Kathy Hutchins said...

And I'd like to know who "we" are.

In The World According to Madeleine, "we" is synonymous with "Georgetown."

In The World According to Miz H, "Georgetown" is synonymous with "That gate of Hades I have to skirt around on the way to the National Zoo."

And that's why I'll never get to dance with Kim Jong Il.

Evanston2 said...

Tom, I enjoyed the "turd polishing" metaphor. Now officially added to my vocab.
Muchas thankias!

Matt Huisman said...

"TVD's Newswalk™

I was wondering when Tony Snow was going to actually do something. Looks like his plan is to develop some new grassroots media outlets.

No doubt TVD's Newswalk™ is on it's way to the bigtime - though you might want to consider a name change to leverage your von Dyke brand.

Whatever you do, don't settle for that chump change Kos accepted - Murdoch will pay you a whole lot more.

D said...

That was funnier than Poll Smoking (might resize your browser, sorry).

...but, if you're going to conflate other poll numbers with Bush's, I might have to find myself some polls of Rummy, Condi, Snow (John), and others. eh.. I'm too lazy.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Nice to hear from Brother Devang that the post is funnier than something else, altho my poor dial-up doesn't support his link, and frankly, I don't like following links except for fact-checking.

Original content is where it's at here at TRC, which is why we don't link much to other blogs, worthy as they might be. That includes our valued commenters. Give me your thoughts, Spock. Not somebody else's: that's why we're here. Dig deep, then go for it.

But considering we have 10-20% of Americans believing Elvis will get a letter if you mail it to him, your skepticism is well-taken: surely there's some sort of statistical floor for such things.

Matt, "von" is plainly funny, and I wish I had the guts to make the change at this point, especially since I added "Van" to the real family name 20 years ago, for showbiz reasons.

Also, "von" would give me plausible deniability should my blatant fascism begin to interfere with my career. (Eh, Mr. "Simpson"?)

Still trying to penetrate Miz H's oracularity. Thinking that "Georgetown" is a metaphor for WashDC CW, whatever Cokie and Steve Roberts declare is knowing and wise at cocktail parties. If so, I like it, and it should become common idiom.

"Georgetown" is as big a threat to our national survival as Tehran.

S. T. Karnick said...

Great post, Tom. Very insightful and definitely true.

Pastorius said...

My favorite line was:

"I could take out three-quarters of San Francisco if I passed out "Impeach Bush" buttons first."

Great post, Tom.

Tlaloc said...

I'm guess you haven't really studied political polling. The first lesson is to compare apples to apples.

"Down to 31%. Buried in the last paragraph, I mean the last, folks, are some other interesting approval ratings: Al Gore, 28%. And in the next-to-last, John Kerry, 26."

Are Kerry or Gore president? Ever been president? No? Then why on earth would you treat them as if they are comparable. Compare Bush to other PRESIDENTS. Especially other second term presidents. Bush is worse than all of them (since polling started) except Nixon and Carter at their lowest.

"Tony Blair is at 26%, too."

Tony blair lives in a parliamentary system with multiple parties. Again you are making comparisons of no value.

"Hillary Clinton, who says little and does nothing of value, only has an approval rating of 34%, and all-around good guy centrist John McCain is at 35."

And again.