October 22, 2004

Bush's Popularity Explained, Apologized For

Funny story, but many Bush voters think he's actually a hawkish Democrat. According to a new PIPA survey, Bush's real popularity lies in the fact that Bush supporters don't know what he stands for. Supporters of Bush and Kerry were quizzed about their candidates' positions on 8 issues, and a majority of Bush supporters were wrong about his stand on 6 of them. Solid majorities of Kerry supporters were right about his stand on 7 of the 8 issues.

It seems like the public hasn't really gotten to know this George W. Bush character as well as they might, and certainly not as well as the press seems to think that they do. That works to his advantage. Supporters who incorrectly guessed Bush's positions often simply assumed that he agreed with them.

The issue that the largest number of Bush supporters mistook his stance on was the inclusion of labor and environmental standards in trade laws. Only 13% of his supporters correctly identified Bush as opposing them. Other issues on which these dear voters assumed Bush agreed with them included supporting the nuclear test ban and landmine treaties, working with the Kyoto protocol, participating in the International Criminal Court, and finally, a majority of Bush supporters believe he opposes building a missile defense system right now.

Regarding the rest of the world, Bush supporters were deeply confused regarding how Bush's policies are viewed elsewhere, and just as confused about world opinion regarding his winning a second term in office. 'The world', which is to say the 30 major countries surveyed, is opposed to both by whopping margins.

Therefore, I make this plea to the rest of the planet. (With the caveat that if the Justice Department should happen to be reading this, it's intended purely as satire,* and should in no way be viewed as an intended violation of the Comstock Act. Please don't put me on the no-fly list.)**:

Dear World,

As you can see, it isn't that the American people are as crazy as Bush, it's that many of them don't know how crazy he is.

We've tried to tell them, but you should take a look at the U.S. media. Ask anyone you know who's visited here, it's one of the first things they complain about if they end up staying very long at all. We have an uphill battle even getting the debates factchecked or discussed reasonably, and they were the three most significant televised political events of this election. A politician can't say the word lesbian around our media without causing their heads to nearly explode, unless it's the usual humdrum Republican gay-bashing which everyone is used to by now, let alone expect them to do their jobs while hearing such talk.

Additionally, after all this time, you can hardly expect us to riot in the streets just because some silly election got stolen. Probably not even if it happened twice in a row. Yes we like to talk about revolutionary spirit, but only as it pertains to other people, and you know we all end up using those Bowflex machines as clothesracks anyway. To paraphrase Bush on an issue with which (for once) a majority of Americans agree, it's just hard work paying attention to the machinery of politics and demanding accountability. We're supposed to have people to do that for us, and those people have been busy telling us that everything is just fine for years now.

To sum up: Don't buy our PR. We have marketing flacks, um... I mean news reporters that could run circles around the Soviet propagandists all day long without breaking a sweat. They're so good, they don't know they're even working at it, which is a true sign of natural talent.

So if it should come to that, please forgive us one of these days. A great many of us seem really, truly, to know not what we do.


*If anyone in the rest of the world is actually reading this, I am 100% serious. Just because we might end up with a leader doing his best to revive the spirit of the divine right of kings, please don't treat us like we treated the people of Cuba, Iraq, Nicaragua ... you know, I'm not helping us am I?

** That caveat was itself satirical, because of course the DOJ wouldn't concern itself with something so petty when we have serious issues to deal with in this country. I in no way intended to impugn the seriousness and propriety of John Ashcroft's Justice Department, to create any trouble that would be regarded as an impediment to securing our country, or to give aid and comfort to our enemies. Please don't hold me for years without charges or a lawyer, or exile me to Germany or England, where I'm told the bulk of my immigrant ancestors came from.

Posted by natasha at October 22, 2004 01:37 AM | Elections | Technorati links |

Sorry, Nat...
You be on the list. We be on the list.
Everyone who has worked toward his downfall will be 'on the list'.
If Bush gets re-selected, we will all find out what being 'on the list' means.

He will take his revenge on us all.

I voted, now I'm getting ready for the crapstorm. It's gonna get ugly.

But hey....at least it's Friday!

Posted by: David Aquarius at October 22, 2004 10:30 AM

Tina Brown's Talk Magazine did a profile on candidate Bush in mid-2000. It seems that people had no idea who he was then. More importantly he was who people thought he was. They painted their own projections on him.

Were those projections true?

Who knows - he kept such a low profile how could you ever find out?

Obviously he's stayed with that stratedgy.

BTW - I less worried about a shitstorm from Bush than I am concerned that there's a shitstorm coming from the Bushies no matter who wins.

Posted by: pops at October 22, 2004 11:37 AM

One of the conclusions the survey came to was that while people in those 27 countries (i.e. 30 – 3) were anti US Government, e.g. anti-Bush administration, they were not anti-Americans.
This was due to a combination of factors, the least not being that it was well perceived that the Bush administration had been put in power through a “fluke” of the system and that the majority had not voted for Bush.
However, this entails a corollary: if he’s re elected now, there will be no excuse.
And what is now an anti-administration sentiment will very likely transmute into anti-Americanism.
This was also a clear conclusion of the survey.
Yves Ménard

Posted by: Yves Ménard at October 22, 2004 12:24 PM

Yves - No disagreement here. I know that unlike too many Americans, people in other countries fundamentally 'get it' that a head of state and the people that person governs are separate, especially if they were put in power against popular will. And yes, the corollary is something that has many of us here hoping and praying that we can make good on the rest of the world's faith in us.

But if things turn out badly... well, let's not dwell on it, we'll know soon enough. BTW, on a completely unrelated topic, what's it like in Montreal?

Posted by: natasha at October 22, 2004 01:11 PM

Back in Montréal, most of us are hoping too!
Personally, I've always been an americanophile but, at this point, I must admit I'm very perplexed!
There is a religious integrism in the US culture that benefits Bush but totally baffles us, especially in French speaking Québec.
Problem is, if Bush is elected you'll be in deep s..., but then so will we!
P.S. What's "BTW"?

Posted by: Yves at October 22, 2004 04:55 PM

BTW = "by the way." It's one of many English-language three-letter acronyms, more usually called TLAs. (It took me a frustratingly long time to figure that one out!)

A Google search including the terms "TLA" and whatever TLA you might be looking for will usually give you the answer.

Posted by: Isabeau at October 22, 2004 04:59 PM


Posted by: Yves at October 22, 2004 06:06 PM