So Much For The Bush Bounce
Graphic courtesy of PollingReport.com
We can officially declare that whatever boomlet Bush had after Labor Day is now over. Earlier today the Time Magazine poll had Bush falling to 36%, AP/Ipsos has him at 38%, and now the Pew poll has Bush at 37%. The last five national polls all now have Bush falling back under 40% since late September. Pew for its part was the only major pollster that didn’t find any boom for Bush after Labor Day. However, Pew’s results today found that despite the White House’s best efforts, voters’ concerns about Iraq are dominating next month’s election, and Democrats have a 2-1 advantage over the GOP on the "more concerned with the needs of people like me" question.
As we head into the last four weeks of this campaign, the White House wanted to have Bush out there every day spreading his particular brand of noxious nonsense to the cultists. But with his declining ratings after the recent string of setbacks and scandals, the truth is that no one is listening to Bush anymore. He is irrelevant to the campaign. Do you really think any independent or swing voter listens to Bush or his speeches anymore, and for that matter do you think all of the cultists do after the last two weeks?
Surely, the White House knew that Woodward’s book was coming out, and what it said. Surely, the White House knew that the NIE was potentially going to be leaked, and should have known how to deal with that, and even decided to release the summary themselves. Surely, they had an inkling that the Foley story could be a problem since July when the FBI first obtained and then sat on the emails and instant messages. In other words, surely they knew that their whole campaign strategy was in danger several weeks ago. And yet the White House is now relegated to sitting by and watching itself become an observer as Hastert takes the party down next month and Bush is increasingly ignored.
Simply stated, has Rove lost his magic, or has he been overrated all along? Was it really that hard for the White House political team to pivot and figure out how to deal with these problems and come up with an alternate strategy that still maintained some of Bush’s political capital? Rove has basically sat by and watched Hastert and the gang throw a grenade into the bunker this week, when most of us thought that Rove was still calling the shots at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Either Rove never had that kind of power in the first place, or he was overrated all along.