It used to be a well-appreciated fact: America hates Bush. Besides, with the Republicans controlling Congress, there was plenty for a Democrat to hate.
That's now trouble. As it seems, given the opportunity, Democrats are very disliked too. They are running Congress now. After much celebration with the more liberal side of the Democratic Party stepping in under Nancy Pelosi, it looked as if Democrats were as popular as the late Ronald Reagan. Not so.
The survey shows Bush's approval ratings at 35 percent, and Congress' even lower, 25 percent. Only 27 percent of those polled said the country is headed in the right direction, and 39 percent said they support the Iraq war, with 58 percent opposed.That's what it says in an AP piece posted on Yahoo.
No wonder George Bush seemed almost happy when she took office. Congress would make him look good. Who woulda thunk?
What are we supposed to do with that? We love to blame, but we don't know who to blame.
Where this leaves the presidential candidates is the need to push hope. Bill Clinton and Reagan were masters of this. Bush, both, were masters at promoting security, but feeble when it came to hope.
When election times comes, if we dislike everybody in theory (do we really hate Congress that much, or are we just tired of their reputation of giving themselves raises in troubled times, as ethics scandals creep out?) -- will anyone show up to vote? If we are left with a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" attitude, ambivalence will follow, finished off by ignoring the whole election.
We need hope. Real hope, not marketed garbage that is the product of a PR campaign. We need to believe in substance. George W Bush, for all his foibles, is a man of conviction. We need that character in office, with convictions we agree with, we can trust. Kerry lost because we never trusted he had any convictions. John Edwards, to a less degree, seems as wishy-washy (though he is committed to good hair, and is willing to invest in it).
As hope-mongers go, Barack Obama is in better shape, for now, than Hillary Clinton. She's working on this. Obama is simply more stable in his presentation. He feels believable, like a father figure. Reagan was a tough cowboy grandfather, but Obama is softer. He's not exactly Mike Brady of the Brady Bunch, but he carries himself with an academic certainty.
Among the Republicans? Hope is an easier sell for them to their followers. Republican voters tend to look at life and politics more optimistically. However, the Democrats are doing their best to chip away at it.
With Mitt Romney, the Democrats, and even Planned Parenthood is trying to say he's not prochoice and has changed his vote. Prolife Republicans are responding, "Atta boy!" much to the Democrat's chagrin. Rudy Giuliani has divorced to often to feel like a hopeful guy. He's humorous, but not hopeful. Fred Thompson, the jury is still out, but he could play that tenor. John McCain is dead in the water, and was nothing but an interview expert on TV talk shows.
When we all line up to vote, who is still arouning kissing babies is yet to be seen. This much we know, we probably don't like them.