Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's Official: George W. Bush Worst President Ever

He is even worse than Nixon. This poll comes 5 years after the infamous "mission accomplished" speech:

It's one of the most unpopular conflicts in U.S. history and the war in Iraq is fuelling a record spike in President Bush's disapproval rating. It now shows him the most unpopular president in modern American history -- even surpassing Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate. The news comes as the White House confronts an awkward war anniversary.

[...]ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you know, it is no secret that Iraq War fatigue, essentially, has dragged down President Bush's poll numbers for some time. But today marks a new low.


QUIJANO (voice-over): With the Iraq War now five years old and U.S. deaths rising, President Bush's standing among the American people has fallen sharply. A new CNN/Opinion Research poll puts the president's disapproval rating at 71 percent -- well surpassing those of President Nixon at 66 percent and President Truman at 67 percent.

The number represents a stark shift from when the president spoke in front of the now infamous "Mission Accomplished" banner. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.

QUIJANO: That White House stagecraft five years ago has come to symbolize the Bush administration's miscalculations in Iraq. War critics today seized on that speech with a protest. And on the campaign trail this...

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You remember when George Bush, five years ago, put up a big sign in front of an aircraft carrier saying "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. I'm sure they thought it was good politics. Except five years later, we're still in this war in Iraq.
Bush has been a gift to the Democrats:
The Pew Research Center did a survey of young people between October of last year March of this year. And what they found was the current generation of younger voters who came of age during the George W. Bush years is giving the Democrats a wide advantage in party identification. Fifty-eight percent -- it's almost two to one -- 58 percent of voters under the age of 30 surveyed during that period of time identified are leaning toward the Democratic Party, compared with just 33 percent who identified or leaned toward the Republican Party.

In fact, the Democratic Party's current lead in party identification among young voters has more than doubled since the 2004 campaign. It was 11 points then, it's 25 points now.

In fact, the Democrats' advantage among young voters is now so broad-based, that young men are now the only age category in the entire electorate where men are significantly more inclined to identify themselves as Democrats rather than Republicans. And if you're John McCain it's a big problem.

And the killing in Iraq just keeps on relentlessly:
Two suicide bombers attacked a wedding caravan Thursday as it drove through a crowded market district past bystanders cheering the bride and groom, killing at least 35 people and wounding 65 in a town northeast of Baghdad, officials said.

In the capital, a bomb-rigged parked car exploded when a U.S. patrol went by in a crowded area earlier in the day, leaving a U.S. soldier and at least nine Iraqis dead. The attack also wounded 26 Iraqis and two American soldiers.

The terror attacks came amid heightened worries that al-Qaida in Iraq is regrouping despite recent security gains by U.S.-led forces, which find themselves facing intensified fighting with Shiite extremists, particularly in Baghdad's militia stronghold of Sadr City.

In the suicide assault, a woman bomber blew herself up as people were dancing and clapping while members of the passing wedding party played music in Balad Ruz, a predominantly Shiite town 45 miles northeast of Baghdad.

A male bomber attacked minutes later as police and ambulances arrived at the scene, said Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim al-Rubaie, head of the Diyala provincial operations center that oversees Balad Ruz.

The two explosions tore through the stalls and stores that lined the area, and al-Rubaie said at least 35 people were killed and 65 suffered wounds, including the bride and groom.

He's failed in everything including with his education "reforms":
A $1 billion-a-year reading program that has been a pillar of the Bush administration's education plan doesn't have much impact on the reading skills of the young students it's supposed to help, a long-awaited federal study shows.

The results, issued Thursday, could serve as a knockout punch for the 6-year-old Reading First program — Congress has already slashed funding 60%. Reading First last year was the subject of a congressional investigation into whether top advisers improperly benefited from contracts for textbooks and testing materials they designed, and whether the advisers kept some textbook publishers from qualifying for funding.

Advocates of Reading First, an integral part of the 2002 No Child Left Behind law, have long maintained that its emphasis on phonics, scripted instruction by teachers and regular, detailed analyses of children's skills, would raise reading achievement, especially among the low-income kids it targets. But the new study by the U.S. Education Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) shows that children in schools receiving Reading First funding had virtually no better reading skills than those in schools that didn't get the funding.

Clinton dishonesty Bigger Liability Than Rev. Wright is to Obama

The press should be splattering this poll result all over the frontpages and on the air waves the same way it has the Wright/Obama controversy:

Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright could hurt his presidential hopes. So could his comment about “bitter” small-town America clinging to guns and religion. And Americans might question Sen. Hillary Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness.

But according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the bigger problem appears to be John McCain's ties to President Bush.

In the survey, 43 percent of registered voters say they have major concerns that McCain is too closely aligned with the current administration.

By comparison:

* 36 percent have major concerns that Clinton seems to change her position on some issues (like driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which her husband signed but which she now opposes)
* 34 percent say they’re bothered by Obama’s “bitter” remarks
* 32 percent have a major problem with the Illinois senator’s past associations with Wright and the 1960s radical William Ayers
* 27 percent have serious concerns that Bill Clinton would have too much influence on U.S. policy decisions if his wife is elected

Obama on TV & Video Game Culture

Obama again calls it like it is. Parents have to get involved. Referencing the release of GTA 4, he says video games are raising our kids. (Michelle helpfully points out that he's not saying it's that one game in particular.) [Finally a candidate speaks on the social/moral issues. We need to hear more about the harm done by the media on our youth. It's the reason why kids are shooting up schools.]

read more | digg story

U.S. Troop Deaths Push Monthly Toll to 7-month High in Iraq

Sounds like the surge was only a short term "success" we are going back to the bad old days. Unfortunately the Democrats have dropped the Iraq war as an issue. This means American soldiers will continue to die while politicians fiddle:

The killings of five U.S. soldiers in separate attacks in Baghdad pushed the American death toll for April up to 49, making it the deadliest month since September.

One soldier died when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. The second died of wounds sustained when he was attacked by small-arms fire, the military said Wednesday. Both incidents occurred Tuesday in northwestern Baghdad.

A third soldier died after being struck by a bomb while on a foot patrol early Wednesday in a northern section of the capital, while another roadside bomb killed two American soldiers in southern Baghdad, the military said in separate statements.

The spike in U.S. troop deaths comes as intense combat has been raging in Sadr City and other neighborhoods between Shiite militants and U.S.-Iraqi troops for more than a month.

Rather than winding down the fiasco in Iraq, Bush is busy spreading the "war on terror" elsewhere:
Aden Hashi Ayro, al-Shabab's military commander, died when his home in the central town of Dusamareb was bombed.

Ten other people, including a senior militant, are also reported dead.

A US military spokesman told the BBC that it had attacked what he called a known al-Qaeda target in Somalia, but refused to give further details.

Al-Shabab, considered a terrorist group by the US, is the military wing of the Somali Sharia courts movement, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), until Ethiopian troops ousted them in 2006.

The group has since regrouped and is in effect in control of large parts of central and southern Somalia.

[...]"This incident will cause a lot problems to US interests in the region and the governments who support the US, by that I mean its allies who are puppets," he said, referring to Ethiopia which backs Somalia's interim government.

"I am letting the citizens of the US and the allies know they are not going to be safe in this area."

In its annual report on terrorism published on Wednesday, the US said al-Shabab militants in Somalia, along with al-Qaeda militants in east Africa, posed "the most serious threat to American and allied interests in the region".

Al-Shabab has been at the forefront of a guerrilla insurgency against the government and its Ethiopian allies since early 2007.

In recent weeks, they have briefly captured several towns in central and southern Somalia before withdrawing.

The US has launched several air strikes against suspected extremist targets in Somalia in recent months.

U.S. has Nelson Mandela on Terrorist Watch List

The terrorist watch list is a joke; just like the Bush war on terror:

Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation "embarrassing," and some members of Congress vow to fix it.

The requirement applies to former South African leader Mandela and other members of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC), the once-banned anti-Apartheid organization. In the 1970s and '80s, the ANC was officially designated a terrorist group by the country's ruling white minority. Other countries, including the United States, followed suit.

Because of this, Rice told a Senate committee recently, her department has to issue waivers for ANC members to travel to the USA.

"This is a country with which we now have excellent relations, South Africa, but it's frankly a rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader Nelson Mandela," Rice said.

Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, is pushing a bill that would remove current and former ANC leaders from the watch lists. Supporters hope to get it passed before Mandela's 90th birthday July 18.

Major Clinton Backer Switches to Obama

Clinton supporters keep switching to Obama not the other way around:

The Obama campaign announced Thursday that former Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew — who was appointed to that post in 1999 by then-President Clinton — is withdrawing his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and backing Barack Obama instead.

The campaign said Andrew would appear at a 10 a.m. press conference at its state headquarters in Indianapolis, then join campaign manager David Plouffe on a conference call with reporters.

"Many will ask, why now? Why, with several primaries still remaining, with Senator Clinton just winning Pennsylvania, with my friend Evan Bayh working hard to make sure Senator Clinton wins Indiana, why switch now? Why call for super delegates to come together now to constructively pick a president?" said Andrew in a letter released Thursday.

"The simple answer is that while the timing is hard for me personally, it is best for America. We simply cannot wait any longer, nor can we let this race fall any lower and still hope to win in November. June or July may be too late. The time to act is now."

Obama wants pro-Clinton Group Investigated

The Clinton will do anything to win including violating the rules. They are essentially employing the swiftboat tactics of the Republicans during the 2004 campaign:

Barack Obama's presidential campaign wants federal regulators to investigate fellow Democrats who are backing Hillary Rodham Clinton's candidacy, taking intraparty discord to a new level of confrontation.

Obama's campaign lawyer, Robert Bauer, filed a complaint Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, accusing the pro-Clinton American Leadership Project of violating campaign finance laws by running ads against Obama. The group is spending $920,000 for an ad in Indiana questioning Obama's economic policies.

The group is largely financed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and is run by Democratic operatives, many of them based in California and who have past connections to Clinton or her husband. Its organizers say they are abiding by the law and a 2007 Supreme Court ruling.

Bauer, in his complaint and in a teleconference with reporters, likened the group to organizations that had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for ad campaigns in the 2004 presidential election. Among them was the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which attacked Democrat John Kerry's service in Vietnam and his subsequent anti-war stance.

"This organization is a Swift Boat wannabe and it's violating the law in exactly the same way," Bauer said.

Senator John Kerry, who was the victim of those swiftboat ads in 2004, is denouncing the press' preoccupation with Reverend Wright. This is what Kerry had to say during a MSNBC interview:
KERRY: Can I say something to you? Obviously it is painful and he said it. You folks need to let go of this. Television needs to stop dwelling on something that is in the past. I thought Barack Obama yesterday gave America his second big presidential moment of this campaign. The first when he spoke out about the issue of race. The second yesterday, when he made it clear, every one of the statements of the minister are just unacceptable. They're not the person that he knew before. Now let's move on to how we'll put people to work. How are you going to give people health care? How are you going to create jobs in america? What Barack Obama is offering in this gas price issue is real leadership. I mean, do we want people who sort of put their fingers in the wind and throw out an idea for the short term that is sort of politically pleasing, or do you want a here who stands up and says, no, what we need is to really lower gas prices by having a real energy policy, an intelligent policy that puts in place the incentives for renewable fuels and alternative fuels. That's what Barack Obama is doing. And it is you guys have to focus on the thing that really matter to the American electorate. The other thing is just worn out, old history now. This guy had his narcissistic moment and it is finished.

WITT: Okay. Point well taken. Did I say to begin, can I just say, sir, I knew you weren't going to like that question. On the record.

KERRY: Let's move on to the thing that really matter to people. I think people in America are tired of this stuff.