The latest poll on the presidential approval ratings comes from USA Today/Gallup. In this poll, taken over 6/23-25/06, shows approval at 37% and disapproval at 60%. The last poll by the same group over 6/9-11/06 showed approval at 36% and disapproval at 56%. Bush backers and detractors both may claim gains, but the truth is that, when you figure in the margin for error, these polls represent no real change.
Looking at the news, you've got to wonder who it is that still supports Bush. Given the headlines, you'd think Bush would poll well only with people who owe him money. But I have a theory - the remaining Bush supporters are freakin' crazy. Take the rightwing, Redstatistan stronghold of FreeRepublic.com. Raw Story reports that posters over there have lost it a little bit over the news that the New York Times has reported on government spying on bank transactions.
Raw Story supplies us with freeper (what readers of FreeRepublic.com call themselves) comments. According to Raw Story:
The thread which followed this provocative statement was almost entirely devoted to imagining ever-more-extreme ways to get back at the Times for what the posters widely considered to be an act of treason. Their recommended responses started out with the relatively mild and legal:
"Sic the AG on the NYT!!!!!"
"Can we have a class action lawsuit against the Slimes [sic] for endangering American lives?"
However, they soon became increasingly vindictive:
"Whoever it is, needs to spend the rest of his pathetic life in the slammer."
"Indictments, arrests and imprisonments are very much in order here. Not to put too fine a point on it, but just how much treason is our president prepared to tolerate?"
The thread quickly took on the quality of a lynch mob, with posters attempting to outdo one another in their level of imaginary violence:
"I can only hope I get to see the video of Sulzberger's beheading! :)"
"If the government won't act, perhaps some private citizens will."
"Tar, feathers? You are the very definition of the term 'restraint'. I was thinking more along the lines of the Muslim solution."
"String em up, right next to Murtha's sad carcass."
"They need to hang for this, but it's not PC for me to type this in RESPONSE to their treason."
The inevitable climax of this rhetoric of hatred was a post declaring the Times to be THE ENEMY, followed by additional responses in which they were described as fair game for private vengeance:
"The Slimes [sic] and its puppets in the MSM ARE THE ENEMY. They simply hate America as it is. They want a socialist-homosexual utopia. Thus, they are simply aiding and abetting their faithful followers abroad and here. They are giving intel to their friends of gee-had. They are the enemy. Problem is, many Americans simply do not know or care."
"Any retired snipers out there?"
"They are, without a doubt our enemy. We need to treat them as such."
"I think it will be dangerous for a Slimes [sic] reporter to step foot out of Manhattan."
"WooHoo! Break out them brown shirts!"
Actually, I posted that last one myself. So far, a grand total of one poster got it.
In related news, Editor & Publisher reprints a portion of a letter to the editor from The Denver Post that's just chockfull of constructive ideas:
The letter was written, ironically, by a resident of Littleton, Colo., site of the bloody Columbine High School shootings in 1999. It appeared to be in reaction to coverage of the recent kidnapping and murder of two U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
"Why have those who have continually howled at our treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo met the recent kidnapping and sadistic and brutal murders of our two young soldiers with deafening silence?" the letter began. "Where is your outrage now?" It then stated that the U.S. "should" behead 100 prisoners in retaliation, as well as " editors, commentators, college professors and left-wing congressmen who would suddenly break their silence to come out in support of these enemy jihadists. We need to stop listening to these sanctimonious hypocrites who apply the rules of war only to our side."
According to E&P, "[Post Editorial Page Editor Jon] Wolman would not specifically state the paper's standards for publishing letters, but said, 'the decision to publish a letter like that reflects the realization that those feelings are running very high. Readers benefit from an exchange of views that touch a full range.'
"He then hinted that printing the letter might help temper the discussion by showing how extreme some views are getting. 'If a person takes from that a step back and says, "Holy cow, let's bring this down to Earth" that would be a good thing.'" No kidding.
Just don't expect the terrorism-minded far right to take that step back. On the other hand, a few of these morons showing up at campaign rallies with signs calling for a jihad on the left can only help dems in november.