So what does the Bush administration do when the Democrats are trying to move policy in a direction that Herr Bush doesn't want it to go? Why he accuses the Democrats of playing politics with (fill in the blank) serious issue.
How often have they done this? Why do they do it? And is it working? The answers to these and other questions are below the fold...
How often does the Bush administration accuse the Dems of playing politics with an issue? A Google search of
george bush democrats playing politicsproduced 1,950,000 hits. That's right. Nearly two million hits. George Bush has accused the Democrats of playing politics with Iraq, Social Security, homeland security, supporting our troops, trade, terrorism, the federal budget and just about anything else you can imagine. 1,950,000 is a lot of Google hits, particularly for just a 6 1/2 year span. That's roughly 300,000 hits per year of the Bush Administration.
Why do they do this? Is there a method to this madness? The Pew Research Center has been polling on Trends in Political Attitudes and Core Values for 20 years. Over that time period, when Republicans have been in the White House, the number of people agreeing that when something is run by the government it is usually inefficient and wasteful went up. When Bill Clinton was President that number went down. When Bush 41 finished the 12 year Republican run in the White House in 1992, 69% of respondents agreed about government run deals being inefficient and wasteful. By the time Bill Clinton left the White House, that number was down to 53%.
That number is now back up to 62%. Republicans create the self fulfilling prophecy about government being inherently bad. They run government into the ground when they are in charge (See Iraq and Katrina) and then they go
see, we told you government was bad.They also equate government with politics. So whenever the Dems are trying to do something they don't want to happen, they accuse the Dems of just "playing politics", which is bad.
Who is their target audience for this continuous ranting that Dems are "just playing politics"? Not suprisingly, it is the independent voter. The quintessential "persuadable" voter. Again from Pew:
Republicans, Democrats and independents are all more likely today than five years ago to see the government as wasteful, and less likely to say that elected officials care about what regular people think.61% of Independents now agree with the proposition that government is inefficient and wasteful (remember - government is run by people playing politics). Less than 1/3 of Independents agree with the proposition
Most elected officials care what people like me think
Elected officials. You know those nasty people who "play politics".
How is all this working for the Republicans? Finally, some good news for us, bad news for the Gopers. Here's what Pew has to say:
the Republican Party ... has rapidly lost public support, particularly among political independents. Faced with an unpopular president who is waging an increasingly unpopular war, the proportion of Americans who hold a favorable view of the Republican Party stands at 41%, down 15 points since January 2001.And who is leading the charge in this change in attitude towards the GOP? Pew has this to say:
perceptions of the GOP have fallen dramatically among political independents: Among voters with no firm ties to either party, favorable views of the GOP have declined from 55% in 2001, to 46% in 2004, to 40% in the current survey.
Despite the Bushco's desperate attempt to paint the Dems as "bad politicians", the independent voters are just not buying it. Good spin can not make up for bad policy forever.
There is a danger here for the Dems however, and Pew spells it out quite clearly:
ratings of the Democratic Party have remained relatively stable. Despite their significant electoral gains in the 2006 midterms, public ratings of the Democratic Party are nearly identical to where they were in 1994, when they lost 52 House seats to the Republicans. And the GOP’s deteriorating image since Bush’s reelection – down 11 points since December 2004 – has not been mirrored by an improved image of the Democratic Party. The 54% favorability rating Democrats receive today is virtually identical to their 53% rating in December 2004.
If the Democrats want to maintain this advantage that the Gopers have handed to us, it is time to stand and deliver.