Political Animal


GEORGE BUSH DEMONSTRATES HIS PRINCIPLED OPPOSITION TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION….How is it that we managed to elect a president with such a repellent and small-minded mean streak? It’s one thing to oppose affirmative action, but why on earth would he deliberately choose to announce his opposition on Martin Luther King’s birthday?

As Joseph Welch famously put it, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

POLL NUMBERS….MyDD has a bunch

POLL NUMBERS….MyDD has a bunch of charts up today showing Bush’s historical approval ratings, all of which have been declining steadily since 9/11. This isn’t really news ? they’ve been declining steadily, after all ? but just in case you ever doubted that these numbers are driven more by outside events than by actual performance, consider this: after 9/11, Bush’s approval rating for handling the economy jumped from 54% to 72%.

This obviously has nothing to do with either the economy or with Bush’s handling of it, so take these polls with a big grain of salt. But there is at least one thing to take away from this: perceptions matter. Bush is vulnerable in 2004, but convincing people of that depends on both good luck and good marketing by the Democrats, not just on substantive policy.


MODERATE REPUBLICANS FIGHTING BACK?….An interesting article in The Hill this week says that centrist Republicans in the House are upset with the efforts of new Majority Leader Tom DeLay to enforce a conservative party line:

Many centrists are angered by a $50,000 contribution that Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Texas) made to the Club For Growth, a conservative advocacy group whose mission they say is to defeat liberal Republicans in primaries. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), a member of the Tuesday Group, faced a stiff challenge from a conservative primary challenger backed by the group.

….It has also become apparent that House leaders have followed through on threats made last year in the midst of a heated battle on campaign finance reform.

Members of the GOP leadership withheld plum committee assignments from Republican lawmakers who defied them and signed a discharge petition forcing a vote on the controversial bill.

If there’s anyone who seems likely to try and overreach in order to push a conservative agenda, DeLay’s the guy. Considering the lukewarm response that Bush’s tax plan has gotten from moderate Republicans, it will be interesting to see if this turns into a real fight or is just a tempest in a teapot.