The bad news is that watching a Democratic debate sometimes bears odd resemblance to an overcrowded family arguing over the best cut of the turkey at Thanksgiving. The good news is that the turkey is President Bush. If the polls continue down their current path, and barring a Kucinich-Sharpton ticket, it seems that the Democrats are on a surefire path to win the White House in ’04 and set this nation back on the right track.
Republican analysts respond by insisting that you cannot listen to the polls at this point. And they are partially right. The election is more than a year away, and many things remain to be discussed or debated. All we are hearing right now is the Democrats, so naturally Bush is going to drop a little in approval ratings while the Dems surge. Come next campaign season, President Bush will have the opportunity to directly confront his critics.
But while this should be a strength for normal candidates, “normal” isn’t exactly a word anybody would use to describe this president. Exposure should generally aid candidates, but this is not the case for President Bush. It turns out that homosexuals, France and spelling aren’t poor George’s only fears. He is terrified of questions, especially the smart type.
The key to this presidency is silence, and the more it says, the worse. Almost three years into this administration, President Bush has yet to break double digits in the press conferences category. While we lose troops in Iraq and watch the economy go the way of the buffalo, Bush scurries off to his ranch in Texas, venturing out only to smile and assure the American public that everything is fine. No questions, though. Questions are unpatriotic and, even worse, confusing.
The Bush administration has tried to bypass this recently by attacking the national press. Officials claim that the situation in Iraq isn’t that bad, it’s just being reported poorly. Don’t ask how or why, though.
But this strategy will get President Bush nowhere. First, the media bias argument will lose credibility as costs in Iraq mount. Come election time, the only ones left believing the media bias argument will be the Rush Limbaugh addicts and the hardcore conservative nuts who vote a straight Republican ticket anyway (that way they can read less). Avoiding confrontation will not be possible either, especially during the debates. It is going to be President Bush, the national media and questions. And we all know how unpatriotic Jim Lehrer is, so he will be shamelessly throwing them left and right.
Next November, one lucky candidate will finally be able to fulfill the dream of every Democrat and directly challenge this president on his policies and judgments. Rumsfield won’t be there, Rice won’t be there, Cheney won’t be there. For the first time in his presidency, George Bush will have to justify his reckless policies alone in the face of direct confrontation. And this could be the end of any second term dreams Republicans hold. Unless George W. Bush starts being openly honest with the American people today, there is no possibility or justification for his reelection in 2004. If this president wants to avoid being yet another unemployed American due to his own policies, he must first step from behind the veil of silence and finally own up to the disaster that is the Bush presidency.
–The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet contributing editor.