I believe it was Chairman Mao who claimed he needed not win the hearts of the majority of his countrymen to rule them. It was possible to rule with the support of as little as third of the people, if: 1) the "Opposition" were disorganized enough and 2) there were enough apathy among the rest.
New polling results published recently show that, on average across polls, approximately 38% of USers now approve of the way the Gibbering Chimp is governing the country.
This figure has been greeted with some elation by folks on the (so-called) Left, who oppose the crypto-fascistic machinations fo the Busheviks: their callous disregard for common humanity in prosecuting the vicious, bloody, unnecessary ICORP* of Iraq, and their support for the Israeli 'incursion' (yes, Virginia, they're really calling it that) into Lebanon; their attacks on the Constitution and on the civil and political rights of USer citizens; their assault on the USer economy through tax-cuts for the rich, and their evident disregard for the good opinion of the rest of the world (among other things). The Left takes comfort in the fact that so apparently small a number of USers (between 36% and 39%, according to this week's polls) actually approve of the Busheviks' policies and activities.
But I believe that comfort is spurious, and in fact blind to certain, important realities. I shall explain:
The Gibbering Chimp (allegedly) "won" the 2004 'electile dysfunction' with the (alleged) votes on just over 51% of the ballots cast. The official tally counted somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 millions votes cast in the Presidential race. That is: around 60% of eligible voters (allegedly) cast ballots on Nov. 2, 2004.
The Chimperor (allegedly) garnered just over half of those (alleged) votes. He was credited with about 61.5 million votes; Kerry with about 58.5 million, for a gross margin of 3 million votes: 51.5% Bush versus a 49.5% Kerry.
This means, however, that the simpering, scampering, strutting, smirking pseudo-Simian now rules on the strength of the (alleged) "mandate" from just over 30% of the (eligible) electorate.
If his approval rating NOW is over that number--greater than 30.5-31%; and, at 38%, it is--this suggests Bush would 'win' yet again, and possibly by an even greater margin, if the election were held tomorrow--and the same proportion of the electorate 1) bothered to vote and 2) voted their approval poll rankings.
Fortunately (depending), this particular emanation of the USer proclivity for home-grown fascism is not eligible to run again (absent another serious, bloody 'terror' attack; in which case, all bets are off). But that does NOT mean that the way is cleared for an opponent from the (putative) opposition Party. The next 'pretender' on the Far Right need only capture the 38% of the populace which already approves the Chimp, ceteris paribus, to claim victory and the mandate to continue the disassembly of the Constitutional republic.
Of course, the only poll numbers that 'count' (to the extent that they are counted) are the ones that emerge from the polling booths on election day. But is useful to recall Stalin's (alleged) maxim in this matter: All that is needed is that the people believe there has been an election. It doesn't matter who votes; it matters who counts the votes.
(As an aside: it is both interesting and instructive to note how relevant are the observations of two of the 20th Century's least 'democratic' rulers to the politics in the 21st Century of the world's (putatively) foremost democracy.)
*ICORP: Invasion, Conquest, Occupation, Rape & Pillage
A Scintilla of Condemnation
1 day ago