The proposal this week by Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, to censure Mr. Bush over his domestic eavesdropping program cheered the left. But it also dovetailed with conservatives' plans to harness such attacks to their own ends.Of course there are a couple of problems with this; (1) the Bush base is shrinking and (2) it will also rally the anti Bush base. The Democrats must show their base that they are actually going to take action to rally their base. Feingold's motion is a step in that direction.
"Impeachment, coming your way if there are changes in who controls the House eight months from now," Paul Weyrich, a veteran conservative organizer, declared last month in an e-mail newsletter.
The threat of impeachment, Mr. Weyrich suggested, was one of the only factors that could inspire the Republican Party's demoralized base to go to the polls. With "impeachment on the horizon," he wrote, "maybe, just maybe, conservatives would not stay at home after all."
For weeks, Republicans have taken to conservative Web sites and talk radio shows to inveigh against the possibility, however remote, that Democrats could impeach Mr. Bush if they gained control of Congress. Mr. Feingold's censure proposal fell far short of a demand for impeachment. Most Democrats in the Senate distanced themselves from it, concerned that they would be tagged by Republicans as soft on terrorism. But the censure proposal provided Republicans an opening.
Lets look at some more tidbits from the Pew poll to prove our point.
A more detailed portrait of the falloff in Bush approval shows significant declines among groups who had been the president's strongest supporters. In January 2005, conservative Republicans approved of the president by a margin of 94% to 3%. While still overwhelmingly supportive, today just 78% of conservative Republicans approve while 16% disapprove. Support from moderate and liberal Republicans has dropped by about the same amount, from 82% to 65% today.The base is shrinking rapidly. And this:
Many people who voted for Bush in the 2004 election are more critical of his performance. Currently, 68% of Bush voters approve of his performance, while 22% disapprove. Shortly after the election Bush voters approved of his performance by a margin of 92% to 4%.
Currently, 48% use a negative word to describe Bush compared with just 28% who use a positive term, and 10% who use neutral language.Only 28% use a positive term to describe Bush. Not much of a base.
The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.