The mute button

Charlie Cook says the voters are starting to tune GWB out.

Charlie Cook on George W. Bush:

There comes a point for some unfortunate presidents when the American people begin to hit the mute button; they just stop listening. Or to put it differently, when the public turns strongly against an elected official on an issue, they begin to turn on that official on everything. In this case, Iraq has become a ball and chain for President Bush, weighing him down on every issue. The separation between his weakest issue, Iraq, and his strongest, terrorism, is just five points.

Was Lincoln right about the limits to the gullibility of the electorate? It’s starting to look that way.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

2 thoughts on “The mute button”

  1. I certainly hope so. It strikes me that I have never in my life heard serious people discussing the President of the United States with descriptors such as Messianic insanity, gang of crazies, this bunch goes on a hunch and prays their right, etc etc. It is happening all the time now. Whatsmore there might even be an opening for the Democrats to have a tough sounding, sensible policy on Iraq. Namely, they need to get their act together and the only way to force that is to meaningfully threaten our withdrawal.

  2. It's not a matter of people being less gullible it's a matter of the results of the policy. People aren't turning against the war because of some inherent belief that it's wrong or even that it was a mistake originally, IMO. They are turning against it because things are going badly and they are seeing those things every night. The electorate turned against the Civil War until the North started winning. Once things started going badly and the media started coming down on Bush, the public started looking at things like WMD promises and democracy promotion and Abu Gharib in a different light. But if things had gone well–even if no WMD had been found–Bush's support would still be there.

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