A Question That Needs Answering

Crossposted over at Left of Center

As many of you know, I’m highly interested in our president’s approval rating. I’ve made the case many a time that his numbers greatly affect his ability to act as the chief executive of the country. And so when I saw that Macswain had posted a 37% approval rating for W, I knew that I would have to eventually go read the thing in full.

What was initially a little tiny hat tip led me to another question, a bigger question, and one I think that will eventually come to characterize the presidency.

The article in question is pretty typical stuff. We know Bush’s numbers have been suffering, and yes, he is below 40%, an absolutely embarrassing number. We’re talking about naked at school and realizing it’s not a dream kind of embarrassing. It goes through all the things that Bush isn’t doing so well on, and then there is this little scrap, just a few words that juxtapose two issues in such a way that we really do get a very honest and true glimpse into the presidency:

When given a set of options for paying for rebuilding the hurricane-racked Gulf Coast, only one — taking money from the Iraq War — gets majority support.

What a wonderfully clear illustration of the disconnect between our president, and the people he governs because if we take this statement, and extract from that another question, what we get is:

Which is more important for our country? Iraq, or Katrina?

We can see this because while members in Congress and the Exec Branch are arguing over whether to pay for the damage caused by Katrina by taxes or cutting of domestic programs, it would seem that Americans are saying by majority that there is a very expensive program that is costing us hundreds of billions of dollars that we would be happy to do without in order to pay for the damages to the Gulf Coast right here at home.

But by extrapolating the issues out to what define them, we can further expound upon our question:

Which is more important for our country? A war that costs us hundreds of billions of dollars that has failed to make us safer from terrorism, has failed to create a stable democracy in Iraq, has failed to protect us from WMD’s that didn’t exist, and is the cause of death for nearly two thousand American soldiers and nearly thirty thousand innocent Iraqis, or the rebuilding of the ravaged Gulf Coast region (one of the poorest in the country) as well as seeing to the proper care of the thousands deposed by the storms (most of whom are poor)?

It’s an important question one that we can resimplify to a greater theme:

What’s more important, Mr. President? Your own personal agenda, or the people you govern, particularly those who need you most?

Unfortunately, we know the answer. While the Oval Office lured us with promises of “unprecidented information,” it became quite evident that the President’s speech from the other day was just another attempt to garner as much support as he could for his increasingly unpopular war.

I’ll give this president the benefit of the doubt. He’s a simple man, and making intuitive leaps like this just isn’t his thing, particularly when it involves the news, something he doesn’t pay attention to. But it’s a question that needs asking, and I think that we deserve an answer.

You once told the world, Mr. President, “you’re either with us, or against us.” Now, I direct that same sentence to you, sir.

You’re either with us, or against us.

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