I’m watching CNN while Obama is about 4 blocks away from me, visiting the White House for the first time. While I’m watching the footage, the presidential approval ratings popped up, furthering a contrast between GW Bush, and the “Chosen One”, the second coming, or whatever you want to call Obama.
By the way, Yes, I did vote for Obama. It was absentee in Nebraska, which means my vote made about as much difference there as Pissing in the Pacific. I voted for B.O. for a number of reasons. I think we need the shift back to left for a while, because it’s healthy to pull in the opposite direction every 8-12 years in this nation. Because I think Palin is…about as well suited to lead the U.S. as GWB is. I could go on, but I’m growing bored of this post, so…
My reason for posting is this: Why People Be Hatin’ on Gee-Dub?
George W. Bush currently has a lower approval rating than Richard M. Nixon did at the end of his aborted second term. Why? His approval rating is lower than Clinton’s was his entire term, even when the Starr Report was out, and the hearings were going full blast. Why?
Is it because of Left-wing bias? I think yeah, that’s part of the reason. The entertainment industry is historically much more Left-wing than Right-wing. It makes sense that when a Republican President does something they don’t like, they’ll react more vehemently than if the same deed was ‘did’ by a Democrat. I’m guilty of the same when I watch my Minnesota Vikings play. When a ref makes a bad call against my team, I’m much more apt to get upset than when the bad call is made against the Green Bay Packers. It’s just the way I am, as a fan of my team.
My team, historically, has been the Republican party. Why didn’t I vote for them this time? Well, to be honest, I haven’t voted for them (Presidentially) since 2000. See, in 2004 I was still in the Air Force, and I didn’t like how GW was handling things. I didn’t vote for Kerry, mainly because I felt that despite how Bush was running the show, I didn’t want Kerry’s wife anywhere near the highest position in the land.
Getting back on topic, why didn’t I vote for Bush in either 2004 or 2008? Well, maybe it’s jilted-lover syndrome. If Bush would have been more up-front with us citizens, telling us exactly why we were attacking Iraq when the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia and Pakinstan, maybe I would have been more apt to trust in the party right now. As it stands, I don’t feel him or anyone in the administration has effectively explained why the Hell we were even in Iraq. I still feel it was revenge for Saddam putting a hit out on Bush Sr. when he was in Kuwait a few years ago. Some have said that not enough was done at the time to retaliate against Iraq for the incident.
Note, I haven’t seen the movie “W” yet, but I’m not-so-secretly hoping Oliver Stone brushes on this possibility.
Going back a paragraph or so…yes, jilted lover syndrome. I feel that Bush cheated. If he would have explained why he did (or, in a convincing way, why it wasn’t really cheating), then maybe I would have voted for John McCain. I feel that McCain is largely going to continue the policies of the current administration. I also feel that, in hindsight, McCain deserved to run in 2000. However, if McCain “had” run in 2000, I also feel that Al Gore would have gotten the presidency.
Why? I’ll explain. Much like with the current election, Americans LOVE to be in a historically relevant time. When they should be praying for a nice, boring, Happy Days-version of an Eisenhauer administration, they want a rockin’ Kennedy or Johnson administration. They want to feel like the times they live in will be remembered years after the fact, instead of largely forgotten like the Eisenhauer administration, even though Ike was the Prez during a pretty significant (but largely forgotten) war. (Sidenote: I think that 50 years from now, the Vietnam and Korean conflicts will just be melded together by schoolchildren in much the same way the Revolutionary and Civil Wars are melded, and the two World Wars are. I think this has probably already happened, but I don’t know any school-aged kids at the moment…)
With Americans loving to be relevant, think of the time they elected GW: We’re just getting out of 8 years of prosperity. Sure, there’s some police actions in Bosnia and Somalia, but those concern the military, not regular Americans. No one even really knows why we’re over in either place, but since it doesn’t affect too many of our guys, it doesn’t matter. We’re bored. We want something significant, besides a calander year ending in 3 zeroes. How about we elect the first son of a president for the first time in, like, 200 years?! Wouldn’t that be neat? And we can get back to what it was like before Clinton was president! No more cheatin’, just a nice, Christian President that can bring value back to the White House again!
The fervor that elected Bush Jr. isn’t that dis-similiar from the fervor that elected our first partly-black President. Americans LOVE to live in historical times. 9/11 is old news. The war, while historical, is only historical over a range of time. And it doesn’t seem to affect everyone like it used to. We want to be a part of something. Our nation’s youngest voters were only about 11 years old when 9/11 happened. They don’t know any other times than these, not really. I don’t blame them for wanting something…different. Something special. Something that could really be great.
Is this it? Historically, maybe. A president is only as good as the events surrounding the Presidency and how the man handles them. Obama has the possibility to be absolutely great. But he could be another “Meh” president much like Carter and Bush Sr. Two almost forgotten administrations. Sure, we had military conflicts. Heck, Gulf War #1 was fought during Bush Sr’s Presidency. But they were both one-termers that are known for not getting a ton done during their prospective administrations.
My argument for Obama is that, at worst, he’ll end up as another Carter, having a lackluster Presidency that didn’t improve the nation, but didn’t send it ‘completely’ into the crapper. (Some will disagree with the level of ‘crap’ Carter left the nation in circa 1980, but whatever). Or maybe a better example is Jesse Ventura. He was the Governor of Minnesota during the mid-to-late 1990’s. He was voted in largely by young voters, most voting for the first time. He was a long shot, and many people think he was elected primarily because he was a “star”. Again, some will argue me in this topic, but I feel that Ventura left the state of Minnesota in roughly the same state it was in when he was elected. He brought a lot of attention to the state, but not a lot else. Is this a bad thing? He didn’t destroy the state economy, and Minnesota was still in one piece following his term. THe same cannot be said for everyone who has ever governed a state.
I realize that a country is a much bigger pie than a state. And that the ruin of a country can cause ruin to a world economy, including entry into big war. It helps explain World War 2. But I also feel that we are in serious trouble as it is. We can’t drive the same direction that we’ve been driving. We need to slow down our War policy, and bring the money back home. Will it put us at futher risk to attack? Yes. I have no doubt. I also feel we’ll be better off even if the risks are increased. We’re in a much higher state of alertness than we were in the late 1990’s. We have stronger technological shielding from attacks. There’s still holes, millions of holes. But we are still better off.
I also feel that an attack on some limited level is not a bad thing. It brings people to focus, makes them realize that we’re always at war, even at peacetime. Our nation’s Military makes sure we can sleep at night. When an attack happens, with some loss of life….see, as horrible and dispicable attacks on our nation are, Death is one of the few clear cut ways to make people realize that Life is precious, and protection of that Life is more precious still. Respect of Military…it’s almost an oxymoron, despite how many shots you see of Military in Dress Uniform you see on Monday Night Football.
I feel that, years past, when mortality rates for things other than lead projectiles were much, much higher than they are today, respect in our Military was higher largely because of the fact that death was tangible. It was something that happened not to someone in another neighborhood, but someone in another house on your block, or maybe your brother or sister, at childbirth or when they were young, or out in the field, or in the factory, or where ever. When an attack was made on Americans, like when “The Maine” was (supposedly) bombed, or the Lusitania was sunk, etc, it made people realize what soldiers were fighting against. The perceived need for soldiers to drive back these evil peoples increased, and national pride incresed.
Is any of this the right way to think? Military Respect surely can’t be worth American Lives, right? Right. However, I also feel that future attacks are simply a given. As lives normalize, like the 1990’s following Gulf War #1, military respect diminishes, and people look more inward at what’s plaguing America. When the economy is great, things like whether the President is sleeping around suddenly become really, really important. The administration starts to focus more on what the American people are interested in than in what truly matters. Defenses are lowered, and things happen.
Am I over simplifying? Yes. I’m also rambling on and on because, ultimately, I’m killing time. I’m sorry to take you along for the ride, but in the course of all of this, I’ve realized that I have some really skewed, wonky ideas floating around in my head. I don’t know what all I believe in, even now. Which is why I usually keep my mouth shut.
What am I to do if my beliefs don’t fall into one category? What if I believe both sides to an argument? I’ve shown in the last few pages that I truly believe in a lot of very diverse things. Where do I draw a line, take a stand, and guide myself toward one set of ideals and away from another set of ideals?
In the end, probably the only major items I believe in right now are that 1) the pendulum MUST SHIFT. In 8-12 years, we will NEED to move back to the Right Wing. But it MUST REMAIN in the left for at least 4 years, preferably 8. And 2) I’m Pro Life. I’ll always lean that way. I realize that there are circumstances that abortion must happen. Carelessness should never be a viable reason. My wive and I have been married for over 2 years. We don’t have any kids. Do the math.
I have to lean Pro-Life in instances of rape as well. I can’t possibly imagine what a rape victim has gone through. I’ve had an experience with harrassment where a former manager blocked my path, preventing me from leaving an enclosed area for several minutes. I’m clausterphobic to begin with, and this really, really bothered me. I still have Absolutely NO IDEA what a rape victim has gone through. But I still believe that, if it’s at all possible, in the deepest corner of a victim’s heart, that they must try to keep the child to term. Then put them up for adoption if it’s your will to do so. But at least try, really hard. I understand if it’s just not possible. I don’t feel it’s the right choice, but I understand the reasoning.
Which brings me to Presidential Approval Ratings. No it doesn’t, but I’m almost out of time. It’s ironic that Bush Jr. has had the highest AND the lowest approval ratings on record, at different parts of his Presidency. His approval rating right now, as I said, is lower than Nixon’s was at the end of his…and before I get into all that again, I’m just going to post the approval ratings. You can also go here to see more data.
Bush (G.W.) Highest: 92% Lowest: 19%
Clinton Highest: 73 Lowest: 36
Bush (G.H.W.) Highest: 89 Lowest: 29
Reagan Highest: 68 Lowest: 35
Carter Highest: 75 Lowest: 28
Ford Highest: 74 Lowest: 37
Nixon Highest: 67 Lowest: 23
Johnson Highest: 80 Lowest: 35
Kennedy Highest: 80 Lowest: 56
Eisenhower Highest: 79 Lowest: 48
Truman Highest: 87 Lowest: 22
Roosevelt Highest: 84 Lowest: 48
Have a nice day off tomorrow, fellow Government employees. -A