Christmas (oops, I mean "the holidays." I'm waging war on Christmas) is the time for buying massive amounts of things that we don't need, then getting mad at ourselves for doing so and going into debt. Tis the season, they say. I think that's what's going on in the political sphere. Not only has the President dipped to a 49% approval rating, maybe the only incumbent ever to lose ground after re-election, but a WaPo poll shows that more people than ever think Bush's signature issue, going to war with Iraq, was a mistake:
President Bush heads into his second term amid deep and growing public skepticism about the Iraq war, with a solid majority saying for the first time that the war was a mistake and most people believing that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should lose his job, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
While a slight majority believe the Iraq war contributed to the long-term security of the United States, 70 percent of Americans think these gains have come at an "unacceptable" cost in military casualties. This led 56 percent to conclude that, given the cost, the conflict there was "not worth fighting" -- an eight-point increase from when the same question was asked this summer, and the first time a decisive majority of people have reached this conclusion.
This stuff has just never happened before in American history. Then again, Americans have never been such rabid consumers. During the election, the Republicans succeeded in polarizing the electorate, forcing people into the pigeonholes of "with us" or "against us." Now that we've become "departisanized," as Josh Marshall puts it, the veil behind the curtain can be lifted, and Americans previously impervious to criticisms of the Bush Administration can see it with new eyes.
The more politics has become like professional wrestling, the more partisans of either armed camp end up defending their candidate and their party, against all facts to the contrary. In this space I have been able to acknowledge what Kerry did right or wrong whenever possible. I try not to give in to the cognitive dissonance so common to both sides. And out of the heat of the campaign season, other people are starting to realize how apocalyptic Iraq has become, how on the verge of financial collapse this country is, how out of whack our environmental, health care, and Social Security policies and propositions are from the political mainstream. And based on the poll results, I gather a lot of Americans are saying, "Oh shit, you mean we bought THIS President?"
Sorry guys, you buy it, you own it.