Tanker in Chief
Tanker in Chief
Objectively, Bush is one of the least popular presidents in modern American history. So why do you have to read a sentence like that in the Prospect?
By Michael Tomasky
Web Exclusive: 04.11.05
Did you notice this one? A Gallup-CNN-USA Today poll at the end of last week found that 50 percent of American adults now believe that the Bush administration “deliberately misled” them about why we had to go to war in Iraq. It seems fair to say that the average respondent will have understood that “deliberately misled” is a polite way of saying the word “lie”; so, in sum, every other American adult believes the president and his apparatchiks lied us into war.
That’s an astonishing fact: The president of the United States has no credibility with half of the adult citizenry on a defining question of his tenure that happens to have sent more than 1,500 young Americans to their graves (and in another recent poll, 53 percent said the war wasn’t worth the costs). This was never remotely true of Bill Clinton or any modern president going back decades. George W. Bush defenders will invoke Harry Truman, but while it’s true that Truman was profoundly unpopular at the end of his second term over the Korean War, the American people at least didn’t blame him for lying us into it.
Combine this finding with other recent polls putting Bush’s approval rating at 44 or 45 percent, which is the lowest of any sitting two-term president at this point in his tenure in decades. Bush is objectively and without question one of the most unpopular presidents of the last 80 years: Herbert Hoover after the Depression; Truman after Korea; Richard Nixon after Watergate; Jimmy Carter after Iran. Bush is right there with them....