To most people polls don’t mean a whole heck of a lot. The people who really watch polls are politicians, who only watch them so they can see how they are going to feel about a particular issue. But this week a Reuters/Zogby poll of President Bush and the Congress really stood out. President Bush’s approval rating is at an all time low of 24%, meaning that for every 100 people you ask about the job Bush is doing 76 think he is not doing very well.
Congress’ approval rating is even worst where it stands at 11%. This is not quite such big news because their approval rating has been dismal for some time now.
This poll does not really tell us anything we don’t already know, it just confirms what we see around us every day. The economy is crumbling around us. Good jobs are becoming far and few in-between. Housing market is crashing, a home you bought one year ago for $700,000 is now only worth $500,000. Health care and benefits which used to be the staple of any good job have become a luxury with more and more families joining the ranks of the uninsured. Education is a puzzle that is not being solved. The Iraq war…that is an editorial in of itself!
These issues and many more are weighing heavy on people’s minds and they are looking for answers. In times like these the most common answer is to blame the immigrants. We saw this happen in California in 1994 when then Gov. Pete Wilson was in a tough reelection contest with Kathleen Brown. California was in a recession, crime was up and Wilson’s chances for reelection were slipping. By latching on to the issue of immigration and by blaming the immigrants for our states’ woes Wilson was able to deflect the issues from him and through his divisive political strategy (us against them) was able to get reelected.
The American voter today wants answers. They want to know what their government is going to do about the rising cost of gas, the failing housing market, and health care for their children, the cost of living, and right now they are not getting any answers. This brings us back around to the issue of immigration and immigrants as a convenient scapegoat for the lack of answers coming out of Washington.
Perhaps it is the Halloween season but the image that comes to mind with Bush’s Presidency is that of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz where with a little water the witch’s veneer of fear and authority melts away and all her minions hail Dorothy. Bush’s presidency is melting and the voters are looking around for someone to bring about change.
In fact Bush’s presidency has become the butt of jokes. The internet is swamped with video of Bush’s bloopers, or videos and television comedians making fun of the President on a daily basis. It has become an embarrassment as a nation.
Unfortunately we find ourselves left with Presidential candidates from the Republican side of the ledger that is quick to embracing the politics of division, the Pete Wilson model of blaming the immigrants. And the Democratic Party unwilling to neither challenge the President nor provide any real answers to today’s problems.
So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the President and Congress are down in the polls. The American people are demonstrating that they have no faith in their elected officials and the immediate future does not look very bright at all. With the start of the holiday season here it does not look like it will be the best of seasons!