The catalyst

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thomas Veil, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #1
    I've said before that there seems to come a time in the reigns of all tyrants when they go one step too far. I have to confess, I was despairing that my theory was becoming disproven. The public blindness/apathy towards the abuses of the Bush administration made it seem to me that the Bushies could do practically anything and get away with it.

    I'm happy to have been proven wrong about that.

    But the fact that it is all starting to crash down around Bush & Co. leads me to ask the question: what exactly was the catalyst? When was the exact moment that it all began to fail for them?

    I know; it's too early to write their epitaph yet. Still, I think it's interesting to discuss the main cause or causes for their current, stunning reversal.

    For me, I don't actually think it had as much to do with the Iraq death toll or the lies that justified the war, as it had to do with the Terri Schiavo case. I think that was the first time the American public actually got it, i.e., figured out that the Bushies really don't give a damn about anything but their own agendas.

    If I could name one other major factor, it would be Cindy Sheehan. She really brought the war down to a personal level for many people. Bush's refusal to talk to her also showed America that he really was unable to justify the war. And if Cindy Sheehan was a major factor, that makes me happy, because it shows that despite everything, every once in a while, one person in America can accomplish something.

    To me, everything afterwards has simply built upon those two things. What do you think?
     
  2. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #2
    A slightly different question, but one that is perhaps equally important, is when his support from Republicans -- especially those who'd voted for him in both 2000 and 2004 -- started to fall apart. I think it's reasonable to say that, outside of the temporary unity of the U.S. in the period following 9/11, Bush never had a lot of support from Americans who voted for the "other guys", and thus didn't have much to lose. That is to say, you'd have a hard time digging up someone who voted for Gore in 2000, or Kerry in 2004, that would have much good to say about Bush.

    Having said that, I think you're dead-on (no pun intended) that the Terri Schiavo case is where Republicans really started to split in their support of the administration. Or maybe I feel that way because that's when things started changing for me. The more recent mishandling of the disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina was also a serious blow to the administration.

    Now, I would definitely agree that Cindy Sheehan did a lot to energize the already existing anti-war crowd; but I'm not convinced that her efforts did much to peel off support from Republicans who'd always supported the war.
     
  3. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #3
    The electorate today is split into three, roughly equal parts: Republicans, Democrats and independents. These days, neither of the major parties can hope to win national elections without the support of independents. Non-affiliated voters have leaned a bit towards Republicans in the last few elections. It happens that the recent polling data indicates that the president has taken his largest public opinion beating from independents. If this trend continues, the implications for the 2006 and 2008 elections could be significant.

    This amateur pundit wonders whether the president's current efforts to shore up support from his "base" will help his party or his cause if he continues to alienate voters in the middle.
     
  4. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #4
    I think it was Katrina.

    A large majority of people supported the war in Iraq. A large portion of us still do, sadly enough. There is a large chunk of the country that supports torturing our prisoners for information. I don't think that anything that happens in Iraq or elsewhere is going to affect their support for the president.

    The Terry Schiavo fiasco was stupid. It was the first point where the fundies showed just how tightly intertwined they are with the administration. The nomination and withdrawl of Harriet Meiers drove this home.

    I think Katrina is what really pushed people over the edge, though. The fact that the government which is supposed to take care of it's own proved to be completely incapable of doing so, and in some cases, didn't care to make the attempt. (Remember "I just took a crap in the hallway of the convention center with 30,000 close friends"?)

    Americans are nothing if not self-obsessed. The fact that Iraqis still don't have reliable power or water after two and a half years doesn't really bug us, but seeing one of our own cities fall apart and seeing the president so detached and the agencies in charge of preperation and recovery so helpless really opened some people's eyes to our poor leadership.
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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  6. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #6
    Whether it was an eye-opening revelation for some or a confirmation for others, I think Katrina's crises provoked enough of the populace to sincerely and passionately look under the hood of how this administration thinks and operates. It may have been one of many catalysts, but Katrina would certainly be considered as a marked point in time where eroding confidence began to accelerate.
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    Nothing beats pictures for making an impact on public opinion. We've seen relatively few images of death and destruction in Iraq on American TV, considering how many people have been killed. Not only did Katrina occur on our shores, it was well documented in the media. There was no averting one's eyes from what happened in New Orleans.
     
  8. trebblekicked macrumors 6502a

    trebblekicked

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    #8
    katrina.

    is it me, or has the WH's "tough-guy" schtick worn out it's welcome with all but hardcore bush supporters? maybe katrina made people realize there are lots of f-ed up things going on, and talking like a badass doesn't really help all that much. once the swagger effect wears off, they just become annoying, unlikeable, untrustworthy people.
     
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #9
    it played well when employed against foreigners and liberals, imo. can't apply it to weather, though.

    during katrina, however, note that it still played pretty well when employed against any democratic leaders in the region. but as IJ pointed out, the pictures were too much for most americans.
     
  10. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #10
    lol. Yeah, I didn't see Bush promising a "War on Global Warming".
     
  11. trebblekicked macrumors 6502a

    trebblekicked

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    #11
    sort of related:

    on that TBS earth to america thing last night, triumph the insult comic dog was interviewing four "prominent obscure republican senators", and asked them "if the science does prove that global warming is happening, how will you hold sadam accountable?"

    and larry david was funny, too.
     
  12. rdowns Suspended

    rdowns

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    #12
    I think Shiavo and Sheehan got America to finally take some notice that BushCo was full of s#&t. Made it easier for everyone to (rightfully)really dump on Bush for Katrina.
     
  13. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #13
    It wasn't just one thing, it was a slow decline. Bush barely won in 2004, and it was all on terrorism. The Schivo thing pissed people off, but it wasn't enough, because they could at least claim they meant well. Sheehan hurt as well, but we were already sick of still being Iraq. Katrina was a wake up call to some of the stragglers that we weren't prepared for a future attack because Bush hired an unqualified crony who completely dropped the ball. It hit a little too close to home for a lot of people, and even we some tried to blame the local gov (who also screwed up), it didn't work as well because we expect the feds to pick up the slack, not make things worse. Harriet Miers pissed off his base, the few who still stick with him. Another crony. There will be ~30% who will follow him no matter what he does, but even they can be turned it seems.

    Now if the Dems could get off their butts and capitalize on that without screwing up... who am I kidding, that'll never happen.
     
  14. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #14
    I don't really think facts have much to do with Bush's decline.

    Granted, imo, I feel Bush has made a great many severe mistakes in both Policy and the execution thereof. I would like to say that the public has caught on to this, but I don't really think so.

    I think Bush's decline is just one of a shift of perception on the parts of the voters - and that random issues, such as Iraq, Senate/House scandals, Katrina, have managed to gain better traction in the minds of the average voter.

    Before, many (for whatever reason), gave Bush the benefit of the doubt - but now the glass is looked at as half-empty - now any mistakes made seem to reinforce the public's pre-conceived negative perception.

    The public has a short attention span and a lack-of accountability (as an aggregate). They are also fickle. Events like rising gas prices and Katrina, coupled with the visceral effects of being at war for so long, which have impinged on many individuals quality-of-life, have made Bush the bad guy, whether he is to blame or not. People do forget that they may have voted for him or supported his polic(ies) not too long ago, but now they plead they were obviously tricked and heap their blame on him to distract from their lack of personal accountability or responsibility in these areas.

    I think Bush is one of the worst Presidents I have lived through, to be sure...but I think the change of opinion with regards to Bush, even among his own party, lies largely in the realm of group psychology - a national character-disorder.

    Which while obvious I suppose, is still lamentable.

    meh.
     
  15. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    October and November have been bad months for Bush. I think it's a two front assualt - demonstrated incompetence from Katrina & the Meiers nomination, and then the unravelling of the Iraq "strategy", as they hit the 2000th dead American soldier, the Scooter Libby indictment, etc.

    Don't kid yourself though - not only could Bush recover, but the '06 and '08 republicans could still paint their opponents as "liberals" and stay in power for quite a while longer. And Alito will get nominated, which means the supreme court has been stolen for a generation.
     
  16. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #16
    It's been a gradual thing... and I'm sure it's not fatal yet.

    The NeoCons could still find a figurehead for replacing this lame duck. We need one more good nail in this coffin... Like pictures of Rove in a Tutu.

    I think it went something like this:

    Election: There's only so many times you can hear "If you vote for Botox Head here, the terrorists win." before it sounds somehow... irrelivant and nonsensical.

    Post- Election: There's only so long you can say the above and substitute x or y totally un-terrorism related bill for "Botox Head" and sound credible.

    Schaivo: Unforgivable, inhuman and didn't jive one iota with the Terrorist schtick. Result: Even the stupid people stopped thinking the word "terrorist" every time they needed a noun they could't remember right away.

    Plame: Lost the CIA... Not a good enemy to make. Ask JFK. Bad idea.

    Supreme court nominees: Nobody likes a shell game, particularly when it ain't a pea but a rabbit turd being shuttled back and forth.

    Katrina: Rove mobilized his base from the place that got both levelled by two acts of God in under 30 days, then was effectively ignored by Bush and company for a good 48 hours. What's that vote worth to you now? Still trust reverend Robertson's favourite candidate? Can I get an Amen? Anyone find it interesting that the graven idol from Exodus is the same critter we use for a boom market?

    Yet the zealots who are still terrified that their currency may soon read "In ___ We Trust." , that their children will all be educated by gays, that Evolution may actually be closer to reality than Intelligent Design, and that, by some freak of God's infallible will TRUTH may lose out to FACTS will vote the Rove ticket for as long as he can keep them wild eyed and stampeding.

    And unfortunately as Rove has proven so disturbingly, if those of us in the center fail to get out the vote and (dare I say it) run a few truly nonpolar candidates by way of nonpartisan tickets we will continue to vassilate between the chessclub dorks on the left and the holy protection racketeers on the right until we either have a revolution of some kind or all the sane Americans left move to Canada.
     
  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #17
    I think all the issues pointed out have indeed contributed to Bush's decline in poll numbers, however I would argue that any single or even a combination of a couple would have been survivable for Bush. It is the cumulative effect of all these issues that are making Bush a lame duck before the first year of his second term is up. Toss in the fact that people like Andy Card have worked 14 hour days in a 7 day work week for 5 years now, and that many of the top picks for positions have moved on after 4 grueling years. Now some of your top people are either tired first-stringers, or green second-stringers. And when you only have a small pool of folks to draw from because you demand complete fealty to Dear Leader there just aren't that many highly competent folks in the mix.

    Plus who wants to cozy up to GWB right now? Seems like it's the kiss of death to a campaign these days...
     

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