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Bush Blunders Block Path to Reelection
Published on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 by The Hill
Bush Blunders Block Path to Reelection
by Brad Bannon

Last week was a good week for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and if he has another good week, then next week he will be President-Elect Kerry.

The Washington Post nightly national tracking survey indicates that there was a sharp decline in support for the president among likely voters over the last week. As late as last Wednesday, the Post national survey had President Bush leading Kerry by 6 percent, 51 percent to 45 percent which was a statistically significant lead based on the 3 percent margin of error for the poll. By Monday, however the race was a statistical dead heat with Kerry at 50 percent and Bush at 48 percent. Surveys also show that Kerry is doing even better in the battleground states than he is nationally.

And an angry electorate doesn’t reelect an incumbent president. If the current President Bush thinks I’m wrong, my advice to him would be to have a chat with his father, the former President Bush. The Post survey indicates that a clear majority of Americans feel that state of the nation is pretty screwed up. More than half (55 percent) of the likely voters in the national voter poll feel that things in the United States have gotten seriously off the right track while only two out of every five Americans think that things generally are going in the right direction. And it’s important to remember that this majority feels that things have gotten “seriously” off on the wrong track and are not just unhappy about the state of affairs.

Why are Americans bent out of shape? Let me count the ways.

The economy is soft and Iraq is a quagmire. Americans are losing good paying jobs overseas and getting new jobs at the Taco Bell downtown. We have lost over a thousand young Americans in Iraq and there is no end in sight to American involvement there. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased in each of the last three years while the number of Americans who have health insurance has decreased in the same period.

Why was last week a good week for John Kerry and a bad week for the president?

Now that the Kerry campaign has finally settled on a message, things are falling into place for the Democratic presidential contender. The message is the need for competence in the White House and recent reports of the Bush administration’s ineptness are playing into Kerry’s hands.

Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are the ringleaders of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. A year after the president hailed his achievements in Iraq under a banner that read “Mission Accomplished," the administration continues to mismanage the war. The latest administration blunder is its failure to guard and to prevent the theft of 380 tons of explosives from an arms depot in Iraq. More than one thousand American soldiers have already died in Iraq and there are fears that more will die simply because the Pentagon failed to keep dangerous explosives away from Iraqi insurgents and terrorists. Despite the failure of the occupation in Iraq, the White House keep coming back for more money. Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that the administration will ask Congress for another $70 billion dollars next year for Iraq. Good money after bad.

And last week, Iraqi insurgents massacred 49 Iraqi police recruits. And to add insult to injury, Vice President Cheney said this about Iraq at a campaign stop in Ohio on Monday: “I think it has been a remarkable success story to date when you look at what has been accomplished overall and I believe the president deserves credit for it.” Blame is more like it and this from a guy who will go to his grave insisting that Saddam Hussein was part of the 9/11 plot.

Bush is just as ineffective domestically as he is internationally. Despite the Bush family ties to the Saudi royal family, the price of crude oil rose hit a record high of more than $55 a gallon on Monday. Yesterday, the Conference Board highlighted the failure of the administration to stimulate the economy when it reported that the Consumer Confidence Index for October was the lowest it has been since March of this year.

Former President Clinton’s entry into the contest on Monday should remind Americans that Bush inherited a roaring economy from his predecessor and ran it into the ground. During his presidency, Clinton created millions of new jobs. Bush has cost the United States more than a million jobs since he took office and he is well on his way to becoming the first president since his ideological soul mate, Herbert Hoover, to lose jobs on his watch.

With less than a week to go in the campaign, the race is still a dead heat but there are a lot of signs that John Kerry will be the next president of the United States.

Americans want change and next Tuesday, we will find out if they get it.

Bannon is president of Bannon Communications Research, which has designed poll driven messages for the last 20 years for labor unions, Democrats and progressive issue groups. He can be reached at

© The Hill


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