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Zogby Poll: Bush Job Approval Lags, 'Shame' Quotient Rises

President Bush's job approval rating still hovers at 49 percent, and that's the good news for the white house, according to a new Zogby America Poll conducted January 18-21. The poll also found that 31 percent of respondents said they were "ashamed that Mr. Bush is their President," a substantial increase from 26 percent a month earlier.

Yee-Ha Is Not A Foreign Policy

Bush's increasingly negative image appears to be driven in large part by eroding confidence in the Administration's foreign policy. A majority of respondents in the aforementioned Zogby Poll, 52 percent, now agree that the results of the war in Iraq have "not been worth the lost lives," up from 50 percent in the previous Zogby Poll, and 55 percent of Americans are "not confident about democracy's prospects" in Iraq. Looking ahead. 76 percent of the respondents said they were "opposed to the U.S. trying to bring about regime change in Iran" and only 19 percent favored some form of military action to compel Iran's cooperation in nuclear disarmamment, while 68 percent favored some form of diplomacy.

“Public opinion has been turning against the Iraq war and our continued presence there,” said pollster John Zogby. “Americans continue to support the January 30th elections, but that support is half-hearted—only one-in-three still believe a democratic Iraq is a strong likelihood. And they certainly have no stomach for military action against Iran.”

Comments

Interesting numbers. Especially the findings that 31% are ashamed of Bush, is that the progressive core? A conservative who didn't like Bush would never call him or herself "ashamed".

Moderator:

Could someone please check the link to the '31% of Americans say they are ashamed?' line. Probably it is my browser losing it, but I don't see such a statement in the Zogby location I reach.

Please keep up the good work. I much enjoyed the book.
George Phillies

Michael Tomasky has a good piece on The American Prospect Online, "Spirit of '48." He seeks to draw lessons from the architects of the containment doctrine, NATO, the Marshall Plan, etc. for our time.

Several key distinctions separating the Republican from what I am coming to think should be the Democratic approach to foreign policy:

-Democrats at our best use superior US power to form international institutions which effectively solve, or at least ameliorate, international problems. The period of 1948 and thereabouts is the best example--the containment policy in the end is what put us in a position so that when Gorbachev came to power Reagan and Bush I were in a position to end the Cold War. Republican unilateralism by contrast is creating new problems.

-Democrats are hard-headed, seek to learn from rather than ignore history, and are more respectful of evidence. That must not keep us from articulating our foreign policy vision more effectively. If you ask me how any of what I'm writing differs from Kerry's approach I'd emphasize articulating more powerfully and compellingly the "Why?" and "What for?" in his defense of multilateralism. Republicans under this Administration by contrast have made decision after decision characterized by intellectual sloppiness, ignorance of history, and contempt for evidence which points in directions contrary to their dispositions.

-The evolution of the Republican foreign policy from the War on Terror to, now, ending global tyranny literally lacks any implementing strategy other than presidential rhetoric. As implied above, a Democratic foreign policy can emphasize the use of US strength to lead in developing collaborative approaches to tackle global and regional problems, a hard-headed approach that has led to outstanding successes in the past.

-I really do not see isolationism as a viable foreign policy option for our party, either from a political strategy standpoint or from a policy standpoint. There is simply far too much interdependence between nations and peoples for that to be a viable approach in this era. And I think the American people are going to need to be reassured that our party is engaged in the world and has a coherent approach that can lead somewhere good. BTW I do not see a stance such as the one Howard Dean offered in opposing the Iraq war as an isolationist stance at all. He got a bum rap, I think, for taking a stance that now as well as in the longer run will likely prove to be the right one.

Some reading I've been doing lately that is pointing me towards these observations are G. John Ikenberry's 2001 book After Victory, Zbig's The Choice, and John Judis' book on Empire. All recommended for Dems (or others, of course) trying to think through where we should be on foreign policy. I am not suggesting any of the above is either fleshed out or wordsmithed into campaign-speak; I believe in clarifying or formulating the basic orientation of our approach first and then figuring out how to both develop the specifics and sell it.

So, where were these people on election day, and what were they thinking?

I think we need to be careful with historical analogs in searching out a "Democratic" foreign policy. It is too-slick a reading of history to claim Democrats have turned to international institutions to ameliorate conflict, exemplified by the "Spirit of '48."

The Truman Doctrine was promulgated in March 1947, long before any international institutions existed, promising immediate (and unilateral) aid to anti-communist forces in Greece and Turkey. The European Recovery Act (Marshall Plan) was proposed after the Truman Doctrine but didn't become law for over a year and was also unilateral.

We should also bear in mind, the Truman Doctrine first formalized the domino theory. Arguably, Republicans could claim that Bush's foreign policy builds on Truman's precedent -- taking immediate, aggressive (or "decisive," depending on who's talking) action to nip a gathering storm in the bud before other dominoes start to fall.

It will serve no purpose for Democrats to take past Democratic practice out of historical context and try to juxtapose it against current Republican practice. We'll find, much to our discomfort, that as shocking as it seems Bush's foreign policy is a difference of degree, not of kind. And the sooner we get our minds around that, we can begin to formulate alternatives.