Thursday :: Mar 24, 2005

As Supremes Refuse To Rule On Schiavo Case, Bush And GOP Suffer For Their Politicization Of Issue

by Steve

(Graphic courtesy of

As the United States Supreme Court once again refused to hear an appeal on the Terri Schiavo case this morning, one wonders what great political calculus went on in the heads of Karl Rove and George W. Bush to get involved in this case in the first place. Bush seemed to indicate yesterday in his press conference with Mexican president Vicente Fox that he had gone about as far as he could go, now that the matter rested with the federal courts. But the Supremes, already on record in abrogating states rights in the woeful Bush v. Gore case, declined to jump into that federalism cesspool this time, refusing for the fifth time to rule on the matter. Now it will be fun to see if Bush and Rove continue their own political immolation by continuing with a legislative fix at the federal level, or if Bush suddenly decides that a return to states rights is warranted for a man who has selectively ignored the traditional GOP caution in this area.

Have Bush and the GOP leadership in Congress suffered for this foolishness? Yep. And now polls by both CBS and ABC back this up.

The latest CBS News poll released late yesterday shows that both Congress and Bush have suffered politically as a result of their intrusion into this matter, with Congress now having its lowest approval rating in years, at 34%. And as Kos notes, this was a poll with a disproportionately large GOP sample, which means that even the Stepford faithful have turned their back on Bill Frist and Tom DeLay.

More interestingly though is that Bush’s approval rating has fallen 6 percentage points in a month to 43%, with now 48% disapproving of his job performance, and again this is a GOP-heavy sample. But what is really interesting is that Bush’s handling of the Schiavo case has soured these largely-GOP respondents on other areas of his performance now, as the CBS News poll finds that his ratings on the economy (at a time of a supposedly improving economy), and Iraq (at a time of supposedly improving news there) have fallen as well.

Exactly how low would Bush's approval rating and that of Congress be if this CBS poll was weighted more accurately to reflect the true political composition of this country?

For years, those of us on the center-left have been wondering why it is that Bush retains his Teflon when there has been (seemingly to us) a string of outrage-inducing events perpetrated by this cabal. We have wondered why the cult has continually rewarded Bush with their love and blind Stepford-like support while they were being pandered to on their pet moral issues and saw their economic prospects diminish. Now along comes an issue out of the blue that no one but the most politically craven right-wingers and Rove saw coming, and it is grossly misplayed into an event that even appalls the GOP and their evangelical base. What kind of political justice would it be if it was something like this that led to the first crack in the wall?

And when do Democrats take advantage of this misstep, not on the moral issue involved, but on the more defensible issue of congressional and presidential priorities? I suspect that it would be a powerful argument in next year's midterms for Democrats to remind voters what can happen when one party control leads both Congress and the White House to spend time inserting itself on issues like this while ignoring more important issues to the nation.

Steve :: 7:57 AM :: Comments (51) :: Digg It!