ABC News wonders why, in spite of the deluge of bad news coming from Iraq, the president continues to enjoy a slight lead in the polls. They suggest the following reasons:
1. Hes keeping the conservative and Republican base happy — and were making the necessary distinction between the roots of the grass and its tippy-tops. The Presidents support among the faithful remains quite strong.
2. A gradual, inarticulatable, unpollable sentiment among most Americans that enjoys the feeling of being at the top of the heap, disregards potshots, favors the exercise of unilateral power, distrusts entangling institutions, and isnt quite sure what the alternatives are. American exceptionalism is still a fundamental creed — and this President embodies it.
3. The failure of President Bushs opposition to come up with a credible alternative to Iraq. By credible, we mean widely accepted and comfortable to the masses. This tracks with a general and enduring split among Democrats and left/liberal progressives about the nature and aims of American power.
4. Wars (in Iraq and versus terror) provide for now a floor and a ceiling on the presidents numbers. And no domestic terror attack since 9/11 is arguably the administrations largest unalloyed, if untrumpeted, success.
5. An unvetted (bubble-benefited) Democratic nominee who has yet to find a voice that comforts while it enervates. And who may, by dint of the possible death of the jobless recovery (see the WSJs ed page) have lost his best issue. Lets see how the national and local breakthrough on his health care message goes this week.
6. Masterful message massaging and communications work by the Bush-Cheney re-election team.
7. A country that views political developments through two increasingly sharp cultural lenses — perhaps (checking the back of the envelope here … ) 42% Red to 39% Blue.
8. News cycles that speed up, chew over, and swallow both the good and the bad and then take a bite of something else — leaving little time for reflection or news to "sink" in to the national consciousness. And then theres the general disconnect between what the media wants (i.e., a Bush apology during the press conference) versus what the public seems to want (reassurance that things are going to get better and the course were taking is the right one).
9. The First Lady, the personal likeability, and the Bush Brand in times of adversity.