Buyer's Remorse

A nice Wednesday morning punch in the face:
Washington -- Despite a clear-cut re-election and the prospect of lasting GOP dominance in Congress, President Bush prepares for his second term with the lowest approval rating of any just-elected sitting president in more than half a century, according to a series of new surveys. [...] A new Gallup survey conducted for CNN and USA Today puts Bush's approval rating at 49 percent -- close to his pre-election numbers. That's 10 to 20 percentage points lower than every elected sitting president at this stage since World War II, according to Gallup. Bush's Gallup rating echoed a survey published last week by ABC News and the Washington Post, which put his approval rating at 48 percent. That poll also found that 56 percent of Americans said the Iraq war was not worth fighting. Time magazine put Bush's overall approval at 49 percent.
And I thought the Gallup Poll was supposed to be a Bush-friendly poll! When I see things like this, I realize how badly the Democrats, and I mostly mean John Kerry, dropped the ball this past election. Now that my post-election traumatic depression is pretty much behind me, I think I can clearly say that I agree with John at AMERICAblog: Kerry sucked. Of course, that doesn't mean I think he would have been a bad President, and it isn't to say that he lacked the right background or temperament for the job. This is strictly in the way that he ran his campaign. In my opinion, there were too many things that Kerry could have used in his favor to undermine Bush's strongpoints on Iraq and the war on terrorism. A coordinated counterattack on many of the false and misleading claims put out daily by the Bush campaign was too little too late. I can't forgive the Kerry campaign for this because anyone who has followed previous Bush campaigns knows this is a major part of their M.O. Despite all the talk of mandates and a decisive victory, Bush remains a widely unpopular President. He should have been a sitting duck, but Kerry enabled him to become a lame duck. The issue now is to figure out how to turn this from an irrelevant bitching point to something that can be learned from. Personally, I'd like to see a better Party definition and an improved articulation of Party policies and ideas (I think blogs can serve an important purpose in this regard). That way, Democrats from our nominee to local candidates are on the same wavelength when it comes to what we stand for and how we'll benefit people when elected. I think Kerry's flip-flop image was highlighted by a lack of a defined Democratic stance on many issues, but most especially Iraq and the war on terrorism. A clear position on these two issues must be the starting point for 2006 and 2008. I'm afraid that if we don't do this now, I'll be writing the same post 4 years from now. The good news from these poll numbers is that a lot of people in this country still aren't happy with the politics of George W. Bush. That is something that should give Democrats a lot of hope for the future. They just need to do a much better job of selling themselves.