Hackattack

Posting part of a conversation with a flack, Rich Lowry showcases some of the smarts that are keeping the White House on a roll.

The president has usually been at around 47-53% He’s at 39-40% now. Two big things brought him down, Katrina and the government response to it and the Harriet Miers nomination.

Uh-huh. Well. Hurricane Katrina touched down in Louisiana on August 29, and obviously Miers came a month+ after that. I would be prudent to check the last polls before August 29. All polls from August or July.

Gallup – 40% approve, 56% disapprove.
ABC News/Washington Post – 45% approve, 53% disapprove
NBC News/Wall Street Journal – 46% approve, 49% disapprove
CBS News – 45% approve, 46% disapprove
Associated Press-Ipsos – 42% approve, 55% disapprove
Fox News – 47% approve, 44% disapprove
Pew – 44% approve, 48% disapprove
Newsweek – 42% approve, 51% disapprove
Zogby – 45% approve, 55% disapprove
Harris – 48% approve, 51% disapprove
Quinnipiac – 41% approve, 53% disapprove

What do we have here? For starters, Bush was not at 47-53% before Katrina, and hadn’t been for months. Averaging these most trusted, regular pollsters, Bush was clocking in around 45% approval, 51% disapproval before Katrina.

This may sound like splitting hairs, but it’s important whether or not the White House gets this. Their problems started months and months ago. What was the cause? Probably some combination of backlash over the Social Security campaign, the war, and the cost of living (mainly gas).

Possibly this flack is pounding his chest for NRO because, well, NRO readers will see it and like it. But if the White House’s brilliant new strategy is “wait for the Katrina and Miers backlashes to fade, then we’re back to plus territory,” they’re doomed.

Stakes

I’ve heard a couple people say what Captain Ed says here, and thought I’d take a moment to debate it.

I expect that the Democrats will get 30-35 votes in favor of a filibuster once Alito gets out of committee. … They also won’t want to fight over obstructionism again during the next cycle, or the Democrats might well lose more Senate seats in the midterms.

Commentators like Hugh Hewitt have long maintained that Republicans won their Senate majority on the issue of Democrats obstructing Bush judicial nominees. They forget that those races were winnable because they took place in states Bush 1)carried and 2)was popular. In fact, with the fluke exception of Minnesota (Republican Norm Coleman trailed in polls until incumbent Dem Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash), since 2000 Republicans have not won any seats in “blue” states. They’ve actually lost five of them (obviously made up for with gains elsewhere) – Washington, Minnesota, Delaware, Michigan, and Illinois.

Now, add to this the battleground for the 2006 elections. As leading journalists have written, the GOP has bungled its recruitment in red states. By most analyses, their best pick-up opportunities are now in three open seats. They are Minnesota (Kerry by 3.5%), New Jersey (Kerry by 7%), and Maryland (Kerry by 13%). In other words, for the GOP to make gains in 2006, they need to win in blue states, where campaigns on the “my opponent won’t vote for George Bush’s judges” theme would probably backfire badly.

Turnabout

In fairness, I should couple that last post with an expression of bug-eyed wonder at this slice o’ feminist self-parody.

The only question left now is should they try to overturn Roe v. Wade or even possibly Griswold v. Connecticut now or should they wait until they have the Platonic conservative ideal of an all-male court in order to get a symbolic as well as actual victory against women’s equality?

I’m sure that’s on their minds.

No good way to say this

This week’s installment of “demographic analysis that unfortunately sounds like a white nationalist talking point” comes from, who else, Steve Sailer.

So it’s not good news for Republicans that the number of babies born to white women dropped by 18,000 last year to 2.303 million.

That was this week’s “demographic analysis that unfortunately sounds like a white nationalist talking point.”

Oil

I’m fairly dyscalculic and may be reading this wrong, but I think this Tax Prof post is (deliberately?) misleading.

[F]ederal and state taxes on gasoline production and imports have been climbing steadily since the late 1970s and now total roughly $58.4 billion. Due in part to substantial hikes in the federal gasoline excise tax in 1983, 1990, and 1993, annual tax revenues have continued to grow. Since 1977, governments collected more than $1.34 trillion, after adjusting for inflation, in gasoline tax revenues—more than twice the amount of domestic profits earned by major U.S. oil companies during the same period.

OK … they total more than twice the amount during that period. But I believe Democratic politicians are proposing a “windfall profits” tax on companies in the year 2005, not the last 28 years. As many have noticed, oil costs more in the year 2005 than it did before. Also in the year 2005, oil company profits are soaring to the tune of 65-75% over last year’s. Profits for just the third quarter at Exxon totaled $8.3 billion.

Again, maybe I’m wrong, since Glenn Reynolds seemed convinced by this. But Hindrocket is convinced too, which means I’m probably right.

Glimmers of what?

Grover Norquist isn’t letting go of his blue Nikes.

There were still some glimmers of optimism. Grover Norquist, a conservative with close ties to the White House, said that while “we’ve had some bumps,” he predicted that Mr. Bush’s grandest plans, including Social Security, would eventually be successful, albeit not necessarily while Mr. Bush was still in office.

“They will be called W accounts,” he predicted. “Fifty years from now, children will learn that Ronald Reagan ended the cold war and George Bush privatized Social Security.”