Katrina Has Killed Off Much Of Bush's Second Term Agenda
(Image courtesy of the Times)
As another poll shows Bush’s approval ratings sliding, it appears that if Iraq hasn't made Bush's second term dicey, Katrina will be the finishing blow. Katrina has apparently given Senate Republicans the exit strategy they were looking for to kill Bush’s Social Security privatization dreams this year and probably next year. Bloomberg reports this morning that several GOP senators are now saying that the cost and work on Katrina will derail any further discussion on getting a Social Security privatization measure out of Congress this year, despite the comments from House GOP wing nuts. I hope DeLay does push through a House GOP privatization measure before the 2006 elections, so that Rahm Emmanuel can beat vulnerable House GOP incumbents over the head with it next year.
As for the latest poll taken through Tuesday night, today it’s the CBS News/New York Times poll which shows that Bush’s approval rating has sunk to 41%, with a new high of 53% disapproving. Again, this poll was taken after the White House spin operation had been in full force for over a week. Bush’s other approval ratings in this poll are dismal:
Foreign policy: 38%
63% of those polled were “uneasy” about Bush’s decision-making on Iraq. 44% said that Bush cared “not much” or “none at all” about the needs of those polled, and 41% said that Bush cared “not much” or “none at all” about the needs of blacks. And get this, 50% of those polled said that Bush cared “not much” or none at all about the needs of the poor.
And while majorities said they would be willing to pay more in taxes to pay for the Katrina-related reconstruction and job training/housing needs of the victims, a large majority said they would not be willing to pay more for gas than they already are as a result of Katrina, signaling that Bush and the oil companies are on thin ice here, especially when 81% of those polled say the Bush Administration has no clear plan for dealing with high gas prices, and 64% think Bush can do something about it. And then there are these results:
What is more important?
Changing Social Security: 26%
Rebuilding New Orleans: 63%
Cutting Taxes: 20%
Rebuilding New Orleans: 73%
So much for Bush’s second term agenda.
And despite the right wing buzz, the poll shows that the public doesn’t know enough about John Roberts yet, and thinks he should answer the questions posed to him.
As for where he goes from here, yes, Bush will call for truckloads of spending and a bunch of feel-good compassionate measures tonight to rebuild New Orleans, and will say that the federal government will rebuild the city the way the locals want it, but the truth is that the GOP will try and use this tragedy to push through items on their agenda that they haven’t gotten yet while enriching their buddies through Iraq-style GOP graft and corruption.
And there is one more truth about the reconstruction that the Democrats need to hammer home in the hours after Bush's speech tonight and in the coming days: no matter what the rhetoric is from Bush, the reconstruction is being run by Karl Rove, and that should tell you everything.
This poll shows that aside from crippling the GOP on race, Katrina has killed off much of Bush’ second-term agenda. If significant portions of the public are against tax cuts and Social Security privatization, thinks that John Roberts needs to come clean to a greater degree than the GOP wants, and thinks that Bush is an elitist who doesn’t care about them, the poor, or blacks, and is failing to do what he can on gas prices, then the Democrats once again have been handed a golden opportunity.
What will they do with it?