Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Sunday, January 18, 2009
So Pres. Bush leaves office with a sub-25% approval rating. The talking heads are clucking about how poor his numbers are and how high the incoming president's approval numbers are.
Yet, Pres. Bush is the first two-term president with both a 24 hour news cycle that basically refused to present anything positive about the Bush administration except for a brief period after 9/11 and an evolving and expanding blogosphere in which people are contributing their "two cents" worth however ignorant and emotionally charged their comments are.
Thus, it seems that Obama will likely enjoy poor numbers by the end of his term as the blogosphere is able to rip him up and down for not doing what individuals perceive to be the best choice of action. Instead of having two or three linearly independent opinions from which to choose, the blogosphere/net/media complex is comprised of hundreds of millions of different opinions - most of them uninformed no matter how emotionally backed.
It will be interesting to see how long the 80% approval rating lasts. Perhaps the honeymoon will last the whole 100 days, but perhaps not. When Pres. Obama does everything Pres. Bush did in the last year or so of his administration but only does a bit more, is that truly the change his rabid supporters could believe in? I wonder.
On the other hand, if his truly rabid supporters become disillusioned but are never polled, then I suppose we will never know.
I remember a lot of discussion about Pres. Bush's "gravitas" and supposed immaturity leading up to his first term. I have heard nary a single skeptical voice outside of the regular right-of-center talk shows. Nope, no media bias in this country.
Nevertheless, you can sometimes find someone willing to write words of English that might actually be objective and provide something to think about rather than provide fodder for 17 year old angst:
It will not be easy to assess objectively the foreign and security policy of the Bush administration anytime soon. Its central feature, the war in Iraq, has generated emotions that all but preclude rational discourse. And it will be nearly impossible to persuade those whose minds are made up—often on the basis of tendentious reporting and reckless blogs—to reconsider what they firmly believe they know. Too much has been written and said that is wildly inaccurate and too many of those who have expressed judgments have done so, not as disinterested observers, but as partisan participants in a rancorous debate. Nevertheless, I have tried in what follows to offer a view of what the Bush policy was in the beginning and what it became in the end.
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