Clark Judge in the Washington Times predicts that President Bush’s approval rating will rebound next year. He cites three developments that could fuel such a rebound: (1) the improved situation in Iraq, (2) scientific breakthroughs that vindicate Bush’s restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, and (3) the likelihood that the economic doom and gloom predicted by many will fail to materialize.
I certainly don’t discount the prospect for improvement in Bush’s standing with the public. However, I question whether, in short term, he’ll be forgiven for taking us to war in Iraq It is this problem that, in my view, tends undercuts Clark’s analogy to 1988, when Reagan began the year with low ratings only to see them rise to the point that his vice president easily became the first President Bush.
The good news, though, is that the current president’s vice president won’t be running next year. Thus, improvements in Iraq, coupled by a solid economy, could reverse the headwinds that have been blowing against the Republican party, even if they don’t make Bush himself significantly more popular.
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