Bush Breaks Through The Outhouse Floor
Of course, this could change tomorrow, to the mere 60-65% disapproval he usually enjoys these days, but this is the kind of thing I think about when people say McCain has a shot at being President. Not unless he either switches parties or agrees with the 65% of the electorate that says the Iraq war was a mistake. At the moment, McCain has been shedding his maverick image as fast as he can, and sucking up to people--like the religious right--that he's not nearly as good as Bush was at sucking up to. In the process, he's been backing pretty much every one of Bush's policies: more Iraq! More tax cuts! Less health care for all! Help the extremely wealthy not lose money on their homes! And so on. A more quixotic platform could hardly be devised unless he snapped his tether completely and joined the Natural Law Party. The only way to win as a Republican in November, it seems to me, is to promise to fix the Republican party and take it back from its self-destructive idealist extremists. To say, "same as Bush but more of it!" is maverick only in the sense that it's not what you'd expect any politician with an actual dream of getting elected to say.
Bush, by the way, also set a similar record last week: the longest any President has stayed at minority approval since World War II, when Truman had it locked up for over three years. Bush hasn't been above 50% approval for pretty much his entire second term. Place this on the heels of an informal poll of historians where over 60% of them rated his Presidency as the worst ever (and 96% rated it in the bottom ten), and you start to see a pattern. (Good commentary on the historian thing here; lots of fun quotes once you scroll past the first few charts.) No wonder he's also taken more vacations than any President in history. He's clearly just waiting to get fired.
I know the feeling. When this happened to me back at Hallmark, I eventually started ignoring my job altogether, spending my days just reading in my cubicle for fun, and checking out the Internet for good graduate school programs. But since Bush never reads or studies, I assume he's just doing the lazy-and-ignorant equivalent of that: walking around pretending to talk on his cell phone, spending lots of time in the bathroom, and occasionally forwarding YouTube videos of cats. I'm not actually worried about this being the case. If anything really bad happens, I assume Cheney will know who to torture.
Anyway, it's the long-term unpopularity that's more important to watch in these matters. Anyone can have an unusually bad or good day--and the best day Bush ever had was September 12th, 2001. It's only when you can see a President be consistently hated, day in and day out, for years on end, that you can start to appreciate the achievement involved. Of course, history hasn't yet been written. It's possible that Bush's gamble in the Middle East will one day create a haven of democracy and peace for all; that all the sacrifice of lives, all the mortgaging of our future monies, will turn out to be worth it in the end. But I wouldn't wager $280 million a day on it.