Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bush popularity

Less than one third of American voters now approve of the way President Bush is handling his job. The way I see it, this is one of the weaknesses of the American Presidential system. A President can become so unpopular that he becomes what Americans refer to as a lame duck president. His Presidency may have failed in the eyes of the electorate but he still has time in his term so no one can really do anything about the situation.

In a parliamentary system if a Prime Minister becomes hideously unpopular either the government will fall and an early election will be held, or if the governing party is strong enough they can just vote for a new leader, and therefore a new prime minister, giving themselves a fresh start without having to sit around for 2 more years and hope things don't get worse. The Republican party must be praying that the next 2 years pass quickly and they don't loose too many seats in the mid term elections.


Keith said...

They can always impeach the fecker (and at least this time it wouldn't be for something really stupid).

Declan said...

I dont think they will ever impeach Bush for two reasons.
1) Impeaching Bush would be protrayed in the media as an impeachment of the wars in Afganistan and Iraq. It will then get spun as an impeachment of the soldiers in Afganistan and Iraq and the public will never support that so Bush could wrap himself in the flag and get away with it.

2) By impeaching Clinton for something stupid they devalued the impeachment process and people would say the Democrats were just impeaching Bush cause the Republicans impeached Clinton. The stupidity or otherwise of Bush's offence would not be counted.

-Ann said...

I hate to be pendantic, but the term "lame duck" refers only to a second-term president. (So yes, it refers to Bush now, but it would not apply to a first-term president, regardless of how unpopular he might be.) Because of the amendment that limits the presidency to 2 terms, a second-term president never has to worry about facing the American voters again.

The beauty of the American system is that it encourages a tension between the branches of government. (At least before the asinine Imperial Executive ala Rove/Cheney/Bush came along.) Congress is still free to govern as they feel their consistuents want them to - they can pass bills that the President doesn't want and can then override his veto if they feel it is in the best interests of the public. The politics and governance of the country doesn't come to a standstill just because everyone hates the President. And if they hate them that much, then they will pressure their congressional reps to act against the president's agenda.

colm said...

My understanding is that "Lame Duck" applies to a president if he can't get his agenda approved. Usually it's because he has lost control of the hill.

Bush was only in office for a few months but was already in free fall prior to 9-11. He was already being referred to as Lame Duck because, as I recall, the Democrats had won back the Senate and were blocking everything he tried to get through. Also the fact that he was the first president in history to have been appointed by the supreme court without winning the majority of the popular vote (always a possibility in the electoral college system but hadn't happened before). The fact that he spent more time on the ranch than in the White House also annoyed people and dented his already limited popularity.

The Democrats knew they could run the table for the whole first term and Bush would be powerless to stop them. It was a set of circumstances that never occured before and made the "Lame Duck" tag apt even in the first term as it looked to be his last.

Then after 9-11 he became the most popular president in history. Biggest political comeback in US history. He got 3 years and an election out of it but now with 9-11 slipping out of memory and the war in Iraq not progressing as well as the War in Afganistan he is back in trouble and back in Lame Duck terrority. He has no more credit left on the hill.