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Bush, Johnson and the Tet Offensive (Why is this man running?)

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troublemaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:17 AM
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Bush, Johnson and the Tet Offensive (Why is this man running?)
Edited on Thu May-06-04 01:19 AM by troublemaker
Gallup is nice enough to give historical context to their polling sometimes, so I was interested to see that the last time a war was this 'popular' in May of an election year was 1968.

So it's instructive to see what lessons the Bush campaign can learn from history. Johnson was seeking reelection, having won the biggest landslide victory anyone had ever seen in 1964. As we entered May of 1968 do you know what the team at Johnson campaign headquarters was doing?

Nothing. There was no Johnson campaign headquarters because a few months earlier Johnson had concluded that the Vietnam war was so royally fucked up that if he ran for reelection it would tear the country apart to no purpose. (Johnson won the New Hampshire primary, but anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy did better than expected, and Johnson realized the jig was up.)

So why the Hell is Bush even running? Because he has no shame. I expect him to lose by 10%, but that happy result is far from certain because shamelessness is the most powerful political trait of all, right ahead of being too dumb to know when you're licked.
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blackcat77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:53 AM
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1. Iraq is nowhere near as unpopular as Vietnam was
And Bush has yet to catch the personal blame like LBJ did either.
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troublemaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 02:02 AM
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2. No, the numbers are the same today as Spring 1968
I wish I had a link handy, but the Gallup comparison was more than a week ago, so it's drifted into the pay area. Anyway, it was a striking comparison. The approval ratings for Iraq were exactly the same as Vietnam, Spring '68. (Anyone happen to bookmark that set of numbers?)

People today are more comfortable being negative with pollsters, so the underlying concern about Vietnam reflected was probably higher, but polling-wise they're the same. (In the new NBC/WSJ poll disapproval of the Iraq war is over 50%. By historical standards that incredible.)
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