Thursday, March 16, 2006

Beginning of the fall

ARG has just done the first poll about making Bush accountable for his missteps. The majority of the poll is about whether he should be censured via Feingold's bill, and there is a question about impeachment in there as well. While it's a pretty big deal that a plurality of respondents think he should be censured, and the "no" vs "yes" for impeachment is only a 7-point margin, that's not the big deal.

The big deal is that a polling agency normally accepted as 'one of the big ones' has asked the question. The ice is broken. Many polling agencies will ask the question as well, either to show they matter too, or to show the ARG numbers are wrong (one way or the other). And they'll keep asking to demonstrate a trend.

And that means it's now officially part of the public consciousness. People will be able to talk about it without sounding like they're coming out of nowhere. It's not going away.

Bush - and the GOP - have a surprisingly short list of options. They can defuse, distract, or diminish. Oh, they could accept it - but I don't see that happening. IMO the smart action is defusing. Basically, cause the explosion to go off prematurely. Bring the censure to the floor. Debate it. Vote on it. Note I didn't say bury it or translate it or anything else. What this is, is the standard recommended way of dealing with scandal. Get it in the open, take the lumps and go on. "OK, we got censured. Which means we can stop the impeachment actions with an argument that it's double jeopardy."

However, that requires an ability to say, "we were wrong." I don't think the current admin's capable of that. This means they can distract or diminish. I'm betting they try diminishing first and distracting second. Not least because it's already going on - a host of rants of how the proposal was from nowhere and not even the rest of the senators think it's a good idea. Ridicule and dismissal. However, see point one. It's officially in the public consciousness, and it's not an insignificant minority opinion - not when almost a third of YOUR PARTY thinks the censure should be approved.

Which means distraction. "Look over there." I expect to hear the drums of war beat louder and faster, actually, as that's the area where historically President Bush has had his largest margins.


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