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Throughout his two terms in the White House, US President George W. Bush has experienced drastic shifts in his public popularity. As both domestic and international situations worsen, the American people are rapidly awakening to the harsh realities that the global community has been speaking out against for years.

It is highly possible that no other world leader has experienced such drastic shifts in his overall credibility as current US President George W. Bush. 

As the War in Iraq drones on, the economy drags, and oil prices continue to escalate, the American people are beginning to see Bush for the lame-duck president that he is and are growing ever more watchful and skeptical about the actions of their leader.  Not since the Vietnam War era has a president seen such a drastic decline in his public approval ratings.  In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the majority of America rallied behind their president in a moment of tragedy, which resulted in an immense uprising in blind patriotism and war-mongering, vengeance-seeking fervor.  In October of 2001, Bush’s public approval rating was recorded at 88%, according to a national poll report.  Just prior to the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq, his approval rate was 70%, and thereafter saw a steady decline.  As the war has droned on, the numbers have dipped increasingly.  Immediately following the Bush Administration’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the rating saw a large drop, down to 36%.  And as the Iraq War has revealed itself as a fruitless and seemingly endless endeavor, the US has lost even more international credibility and Bush has continued to lose the support of his people.  According to ABC, by May of 2006, his public approval rating had dropped to 29%.  According to American Research Group, Inc., 71% of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy, while 66% disapprove of the way he is handling his job overall as of December, 2007. 

The dissention of Bush’s henchmen has provided tremendous transparency as to the plight of the president’s relationships and has harshly stricken his domestic credibility.  Colin Powell’s resignation in November of 2004 was a great blow to the Bush Administration; Powell was the only one of Bush’s tight-knit cronies to strongly oppose the invasion of Iraq without support from the international community.  What staunch Republicans often regarded as “mildness” made Powell immensely popular with the American public, who were not so eager to see their sons and daughters march off to war.  Additionally, the controversy surrounding Paul Wolfowitz’s US–appointed presidency of the World Bank has led to international and domestic skepticism.  Not to mention Donald Rumsfeld’s failure as Defense Secretary, when the “General’s Revolt” brought the realities of his poor military and strategic planning into the public light.  As the Bush cronies systematically fall off the bandwagon, evidence of Bush’s failure has become more and more apparent to even the least politically-minded of Americans.  The international community has already spoken; perhaps Tony Blair’s pathetic demise is a foreshadowing of the miserable fate that surely awaits George W. Bush.

As things rapidly continue to fall apart, some frantic damage control has quickly taken root.  While the Iraq War reveals itself as “another Vietnam” to the American public more and more each day, US intelligence has scrambled to do some quick back-tracking on their assessment of Iran’s nuclear intentions.  Just as the bombing of Afghanistan provided a great propaganda-saturated segue into the invasion of Iraq, the propaganda line could have easily extended to an invasion of Iran, had Iraq not been exposed as a fruitless farce.  Had the fall-out from the Iraq War not happened, this propaganda line may very well have been the pretext to another invasion, of which the public might have been none the wiser.

Even the image of Bush’s personality has been exposed.  One of the most effective strategies of Bush’s initial campaign for the presidency was his theatrical masquerade as an “average guy.”  Dubya was a good ole’ country boy.  Middle America could relate to George.  Surprisingly, people responded to his trustworthy cowboy façade.  Yet, as the realities of Bush’s life have unfolded before our very eyes, that attitude has shifted.  In a recent discussion with 29-year-old Dan, an average American blue-collared worker, he told me: “Most Americans can’t relate to George Bush.  I can’t relate to George Bush.  He tries to play it off like he’s a regular joe, like he’s one of us, but he’s not.  When you see pictures of him at his Texas ranch, you see him with his dog, clearing brush and doing yard work, but that’s all a show.  He lives in the lap of luxury.  He didn’t grow up a regular guy.  His dad is buddies with international royalty.  The biggest hardship that he’s had to suffer in his life is that he almost choked on a fuckin’ pretzel.”

Not to be outdone, mainstream entertainment has begun taking shots at Bush.  Never has popular entertainment succeeded in making such a comedic mockery of a nation’s leader.  The immensely popular animated series Family Guy regularly makes comedic and/or satiric jokes about the president.  In one episode, Peter attempts to coach his neighbor, Joe Swanson, out of giving up on a race by stating: “Hey, what kind of talk is that?  It’s un-American!  Did George W. Bush quit even after losing the popular vote?  No!  Did he quit after losing millions of dollars of his father’s friends’ money in failed oil companies?  No!  Did he quit after knockin’ that girl up?  No!  Did he quit after he got that DUI?  No!  Did he quit after gettin’ arrested for drunken disorderly conduct at a football game?  No!”  The newly popular animated TV series American Dad enjoys regular punch lines at the president’s expense and US network Comedy Central has dedicated an entire series to an anti-Bush satirical tirade entitled Lil’ Bush.  Pop/rock artist Pink released the single “Dear Mr. President” this year and it reached Top Ten peak positions in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.  Shockingly, the scathing attack on President Bush even earned radio time in the UK and the US.  Since the take-over of corporate radio in the US, mainstream radio stations have refrained from giving air time to any music with even a mild political slant; not since the Vietnam War era has such a politically charged song earned so much air time on mainstream radio stations in the US. 

The course has been determined; history will not look upon Bush in a favorable light.  He has the blood of millions on his hands.  Not only has he committed crimes against humanity, broken the Geneva Convention, and destroyed the US’s credibility with the international community, but he has systematically failed his own people on every corner of his broad spectrum of failures.  Mr. President, the eyes of the world are upon you.  You will surely go down in history as one of the most notorious terrorists of this century.  The only question that remains is: Will you ever be brought to justice for your crimes?

1st January 2008
The World is Watching You, Mr. President
By Jill Bolstridge