Friday, February 03, 2006

Bush Can’t Buy Bill Clinton’s Approval Ratings

I have a Friday present for you.

If you’re a Democrat of any political shade, you have undoubtedly been in a situation where you’ve had a Republican backed into a corner on the hideous government being run by George W. Bush and the GOP-dominated Congress and they inevitably start grasping at straws by starting a sentence like this: “Yeah, but Clinton…”

They always want to bring up Bill Clinton’s presidency and it’s never in the context that most Americans knew it – you know, the biggest economic expansion in U.S. history, 23 million jobs created, a massive budget surplus, six million more Americans with health insurance and the rest of the world not hating our guts.

Yeah, tough times, tough times.

You want to poke a sharp stick in their eye next time one of them does that? I’m here to help.

Their hero, George W. Bush, has spent most of his second term mired in sub-40- percent approval ratings which, no matter how much the GOP sycophants adore him, makes Bush one of the most unpopular presidents in the country’s history.

Here comes the good part. Bill Clinton, the man Republicans and neocons love to hate, left office with a 65 percent approval rating. And even with the constant right-wing witch hunt against him and Clinton doing a good job of hurting himself politically with the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the GOP got ulcers over how popular he remained with the American people.

Take a look at Clinton’s average approval rating in 11 major polls across his entire second term.


* Numbers are an average within each organization of every approval-rating poll taken during Clinton’s second term.

But every president has low points and one would expect that his would have come in mid-to-late 1998 with the Lewinsky situation, right? This absolutely kills conservatives, but bad times sometimes made President Clinton even more popular. Take a look at what the major polls looked like after August 17,1998, the day Clinton testified before the grand jury and went on national television to admit “I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate.”


Then, on December 16, 1998, The House of Representatives approved two impeachment articles, alleging that Clinton gave false and misleading testimony to the grand jury in the Paula Jones case and on his relationship with Lewinsky. Imagine the GOP meltdown when, just days later, the Gallup/CNN/USA Today and CBS News polls each had the Big Dog at an amazing 73 percent approval, with most other polls about as high.


Apparently, the American people didn’t think some oral sex in the Oval Office, between consenting adults, was worse than lying our country into a war if you compare those numbers to the nation’s view of Bush.

So the next time a Republican – assuming there’s one you can still even have a conversation with -- says “Yeah, But Clinton…” just hit them with these numbers and remind them that, even at the lowest moments of his presidency, Bill Clinton had 20 approval-rating points on their boy.

I love the smell of steamed Republican in the morning.