Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Running on national security

Republicans have been rubbing their hands in glee over the recent poll results that showed George W. Bush's standing with the public gaining steam in spite of the pummeling he suffered in recent weeks news-wise.

That glee may have been just a bit premature. The most recent CBS News poll -- which is consistent, in fact, with the trends of the previous weeks, the WashPost poll notwithstanding -- shows Bush is in fact sinking rapidly in terms of his handling of national security and the Iraq war:
The struggles in Iraq appear to have hurt assessments of the President. His overall approval rating (46 percent), his rating on handling Iraq (41 percent), and his rating on handling foreign policy (40 percent) are at the lowest points ever in this Administration. In each case, more disapprove than approve. 53 percent of voters are uneasy about Bush?s handling of international crisis, figures unmatched since before 9/11. But these declines come as Americans see economic improvement -- 55 percent now say the economy is in good shape.

The approval rating is particularly noteworthy. It's something of a given in politics that any approval rating below 50 percent is a sign of extreme danger for an incumbent. One of 46 percent is getting into roadkill territory.

It's clear that Kerry should be hitting Bush hard on national security and the war.

It's obvious Bush was asleep at the wheel on Sept. 11. It happened on his watch, and his malfeasance cost us 3,000 American lives.

That's gross incompetence, pure and simple. And it continues to this day, particularly in Iraq.

Kerry simply needs to make that case to the American people. And it won't be hard.

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