Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Prediction: Bush Approval Ratings to Go Sub 20% by June

I know I could flare some passions and maybe even a few tempers with this topic here, so I'm going to do my level best to limit my comments to the unprecedented fall out I believe Bush is about to experience.

Simply put, Bush just put the last death nail in his political coffin today with the so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform, previously known as McCain-Kennedy, now surprisingly (wink, wink) renamed Bush-Kennedy (I'm sure that had nothing to do with McCain's aspirations).

If Bush was sad to see his approval number in the low-30's, he won't be happy with what I think will happen next. Just wait to see how the conservative base, his last bastion of support, will react to this latest move, effectively granting amnesty to the millions of illegals already here, plus the approximate 250,000 additional immigrants to be allowed each year under this Z visa program, with no true guarantee of border security. (Think back to Reagan's amnesty blunder and the supposed 'guaranteed border security' laid out at that time... this new bill is scary similar... see the article linked above.) This bill will not play well with the conservatives or the moderates, and if Bush thinks this will win him converts from the left, I think he's kidding himself.

As a point of clarification... I actually don't mind the idea of a guest worker program. I am personally adamant, however, that first things first we secure the border, after which I'll happily consider a guest worker program for those already here, working, established, and invested in various ways into American society. I have little faith in the Administration's intentions on doing what they're promising from a border security perspective, as every Administration failed to follow through on the promises from the Reagan era Amnesty deal, and most recently the current Administration failed to build the fence bill signed into law by this same Administration (only 2 MILES have been built so far after all this time).

Also, I'm not an isolationist. On the one hand, I accept the idea of accepting the world's 'hungry, tired, and down trodden.' However, on the other hand, we need to strike a healthy balance between educated/skilled/etc. versus hungry/tired/down trodden/etc. immigrants.

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Blogger Izdatyel said...


It will be interesting to see if your prediction plays out. I actually would have thought that this might help Bush's approval rating with the independents and moderates from both parties. But I'll be the first to admit, I haven't really studied up much on how the political subsets located somewhere between the "dyed-in-the-wool liberal" pole and the "conservative base" pole line up on this issue. It sounds like you're a lot more informed on this question.

To be honest, I was under the impression that the "conservative base" was the *only* political faction that really opposed immigration reform packages that incorporate an amnesty-type program as part of the overall strategy. Have I totally missed the boat on this? Again, all I have to back up my impression is, well, just some assumptions and additional vague impressions. Do moderates / centrists and independents tend to oppose amnesty proposals and guest worker programs?

I suppose if I had it all wrong in assuming that the "middle" supported amnesty-esque approaches and guest worker programs, its probably because my assumptions were pulled in the direction of my own feelings on immigration reform. I actually think that amnesty-esque legislation and guest worker programs make a lot of sense - common sense. I find it very difficult to understand why people oppose amnesty-type approaches to dealing with the undocumented immigrants who are already here and have established families, homes, and work, etc. An amnesty program that puts such workers on a green card or citizenship track (I agree that such a track should require some effort and commitments on the part of the previously undocumented immigrant) strikes me as really the only humane and productive way of dealing with immigrants in those situations. I know many people disagree strongly with me on that - but I have a hard time understanding why. Usually, even when I disagree with a particular position - I can at least see where the proponents of that position are coming from. But people who generally oppose amnesty programs, I don't really understand where they're coming from. I don't know whether you oppose them or not, but if you do, perhaps you could enlighten me :).

I also fully support implementing guest worker programs like the one Bush proposed (it feels so weird to agree with him on something!). On this issue, I can see where people are coming from who oppose it - but I simply don't agree with their reasoning. For one thing, I think it would have to have at least some effect of decreasing illegal entry and take some pressure of the borders. That's good, right?

There has to be a high percentage of immigrant workers who, presented with the option of entering legally instead of illegally, even if it means having to wait in long lines, submit to annoying rules, and endure other such bureaucratic headaches, will gladly choose the legal route every time. For them it means no longer having to always be looking over their shoulder, finally being free from the anxiety of being in a constant state law violation, not having to worry anymore about those inexplicably frightening Minutemen guys, not having to wonder when the next mid-level politician somewhere will get urge to set up a token raid or two to deflect attention from a scandal, get himself back in the news, or remind his constituents of his toughness ahead of election day. Maybe this is too idealist, but I think that most people, if presented with the opportunity to legally go about doing whatever it is that they feel they must be doing, Even where they've been willing to violate the law in the past if it was the only way to go about doing whatever it is that they feel they must be doing, will still gladly take the stress-free legal route when its presented to them - and not just because its free of the anxieties that go along with illegal methods, but because *most* people inherently desire, for the most part anyway (with lots of qualifications and exceptions of course!) to obey the laws of the society in which they participate.

5/18/2007 5:02 AM  
Blogger Izdatyel said...

Check out the last paragraph of my comment above. That thing is chuck-full of run-on sentences of rather impressive length, no?. The run-on sentence is really an art form in a way, don't you think?

5/18/2007 5:15 AM  
Blogger Izdatyel said...

One more question (to all): Do you actually support erecting a fence along the entire border?

My thoughts: This strikes me as a gargantuous waste of taxpayer money. First and foremost, I can't imagine that it would do much to truly stifle determined border crossers, at least not enough to justify the costs. I mean, it hardly takes a genius to concoct a way to pass under, over, or even through a fence. So I really doubt that it would be particularly effective. I swear I could come up with a better use for all that money in improving our management of immigration. Plus, everyone in the world will know that the United States actually built a fence along its border in an attempt to keep the South Americans out. I know I'm not supposed to worry about what other people think, but won't they all laugh at us?

To illustrate: I remember one summer when my Teachers' Quorum attended a large Scout rendezvous known as "The Big Event". This was a 3-day pow-wow of sorts where troops from around the valley gathered at a huge campground to compete in various nonsensical events like obstacle courses and leather-crafting. Each troop was assigned a designated a plot for "home camp", which other troops were not entitled to disturb or enter, without permission. Nevertheless, as often happens at such events, Scouts would occasionally cross through the "home camp" of another troop, be it unknowingly or insolently, on their way to prove their superiority at tug-of-war or the art of Indian war dance, whichever be their specialty. While most troops found such trespasses bothersome, they usually took it in stride, calling out a warning or demanding some licorice as compensation. Well, this summer, near our "home camp" was a troop particularly protective of it's "home camp" plot. Finding the notion of possible trespasses to be intolerable, this troop set out to prevent them by systematically wrapping plastic yellow "CAUTION" tape around and around the trees enclosing it's plot. The first reaction of our troop and all others in the area was to think that this was exceedingly lame and anal, not to mention an eyesore in the beautiful outdoors. We all made fun of them; and they apparently hated being made fun of just as much as they hated trespassing. This quickly pitted them against the surrounding troops generally. Needless to say, it quickly became the goal of us all to cut down their lame tape and engage in good humored trespasses throughout the night. For three days they dutifully repaired and added new tape as, in growing numbers we repeatedly cut it down.

Is there a moral to all this (besides the anarchistic nature of teenagers)? Well, as I said - everybody laughed at them, took them less seriously, and thought they were lame. And perhaps more importantly, their "CAUTION" tape strangely generated a lot more interest in trespassing their plot than would have ever existed otherwise.

Would a border-fence similarly generate more animosity, together with increased desire and motivation to cross the border than would otherwise exist? And most importantly, will the other nations of the world laugh at us, take us less seriously, and think that we are lame and anal. I'm not sure we should be willing to take that risk.

Actually, I guess my main concern is that the level of effectiveness doesn't justify the cost. But you get the picture.

5/21/2007 4:39 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Well, the slide begins... PEW now puts Bush's polling at 29%. We had a 20-some-odd% approval rating out of another poll a month or so ago, but it appeared to be a blip. I'll be interested in seeing if this PEW rating sticks.

6/06/2007 1:12 PM  
Blogger Izdatyel said...

Over the past couple weeks I've gotten the sense that this immigration bill primarily ticks off the conservative right and the more liberal left (any positions held in common by two factions end there, as their respective reasons for opposing the bill stand in direct conflict).

Yet I'm still left with the impression that independents and moderates generally support the bill (admittedly, I haven't exactly thoroughly researched the profiles of those who oppose it). In any case, your prediction of a slide in Bush's already poor approval ratings looks to be on the mark. However, the impassioned opposition running heavy both throughout the conservative base and among liberal ideologues, alone, could reasonably effect a slide further downward in Bush's approval ratings.

In the eyes of a Republican, is it necessarily a bad thing that the President is taking a hit in the polls due to the objectives he's pursuing? I thought one of the mantras of conservativism was that a president should not govern according to the polls? :)

May I ask whether you oppose amnesty-type provisions/approaches in dealing with families that are already here illegally? If so, may I further respectfully ask why? I'm sincerely interested in understanding the rationale behind steadfastly opposing amnesty and/or anything that smells like amnesty in such cases.

6/06/2007 4:10 PM  

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