sexta-feira, outubro 14, 2005

Governing without consent

Análise do Polling Report. Excertos:

Not only are Bush’s overall approval ratings low and doubts about his leadership growing, but on a variety of issues he has been judged seriously deficient. A Zogby International survey gives Bush poor marks on a host of domestic and foreign concerns. Overall, the ratio of poor-to-excellent scores ranges from a low of 1:1 (managing the war on terror and Hurricane Rita) to a high of 8:1 (handling gasoline prices). If this were a parliamentary system, there would be a vote of no confidence and a new election held.
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Six presidents since FDR have failed to recoup their public standing: Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush. What unites these six failed presidencies is each man’s inability to change the subject. Harry Truman could not get the public’s mind off the Korean War. Lyndon Johnson could not get people to focus on anything else except Vietnam and race riots. Richard Nixon could not erase the airing of the Watergate tapes (even as he tried to erase them in fact). Gerald Ford could not ameliorate voter anger over the Nixon pardon. Jimmy Carter became identified with his malaise speech and the Iranian hostage crisis. And George H. W. Bush was a foreign policy president at a time when voters could have cared less. George W. Bush is likely to share the fates of his predecessors for one reason: he can’t change the subject. Bush cannot take the focus away from the aftereffects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; Iraq continues to drain U.S. lives and resources with no end in sight; and (thanks to Iraq and the hurricanes) the fiscal crisis facing the next president has come four years early.
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Forty-five years ago political scientist Richard Neustadt (in Presidential Power) noted that governing without consent has its consequences, as elites constantly gauge a president’s prestige: "[T]he prevalent impression of a president’s public standing tends to set a tone and to define the limits of what Washingtonians do for him, or do to him." The remainder of the Bush presidency will be more about limits, since his status has suffered a fatal blow. Consequently, the next three years will be marking time until another president with a popular mandate assumes the office.
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