Bush’s approval rating is finally beginning to slide into Herbert Hoover territory. He has a long history of doing what he shouldn’t have and not doing what he should have; and voters, whose political consciousness always suffers from attention deficit, are just now sobering up to the disastrous binge Bush has been on since virtually his first day in office.
What is odd about voters’ revised opinion of Bush is that it largely springs from the two things he has had the least control over - a natural disaster and climbing gas prices - while those things he indeed has had control over - a needless war and reckless fiscal policies - remain sources of only mild discontent.
As evidence of this disconnect I offer a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll, which states that “less than half approve of Bush’s handling of Katrina. Less than a third give him good marks on gas prices.” Now God only knows how the other half could actually approve of Bush’s handling of the Katrina crisis, but the fact remains that the fiasco’s genesis - the storm itself - lay outside any presidential authority to avert. As for gas prices, a little world-market thing called supply and demand dictates their direction and there ain’t much any president can do about it.