Americans Are a Bunch of Sheep

Monday, September 12, 2005
Not being a Bush fan, what I'm about to write is going to be very hard.

Four years ago today, in the wake of September 11th, Bush's approval rating was well over 80%. The United States rallied around its leader to form a united front against terrorism. At the time I thought Americans were a bunch of idiots, giving a president, who did little to stop the terrorism in the first place and even less to stop it after the fact, their overwhelming approval.

Now, in the aftermath of Katrina and the anger over soaring gas prices, America has turned the other way, Bush's approval rating has dipped to a low of 39%. And yet I still feel like Americans are a bunch of idiots, or at the very least a bunch of sheep, following whatever the latest trend may be. The latest trend is blaming Bush for every bad thing that happens.

Americans greatly overestimate the influence the President has on their lives. When things are going good, all the praise goes to the President. When things are bad, they all blame him too. The fact is, the President has very little influence on the day to day lives of most Americans. The President has very little influence on the overall direction of the economy. Certainly he sets policy, but he is just one voice, albeit a very loud one, in the very complex machinery that is the United States.

While the federal government has certainly made mistakes over the last few weeks, they can hardly be completely blamed for the devastation that has hit the South. They certainly can't be blamed for the spike in gasoline prices that followed. Yet Americans seem to look to their neighbors to figure out how they should feel. Post 9-11, America was great so Bush was great. Post Katrina, America not so great so Bush is the devil. Believe me, Bush did nothing fantastic that anyone else couldn't have done post 9-11 and he hasn't done anything so heinous recently to suggest the precipitous fall of his approval rating (other than be who he has always been).

Bush is Bush. I feel his policies and politics have remained fairly constant over the course of his Presidency. If you hated him before, you should probably hate him now. If you liked him before, you should probably still like him (but you may want to get your head checked).


John said...

I resent that remark. I do not follow the latest trend in forming my opinions. I carefully research several resources: Leno, Letterman and Stewart.

Kat said...

lead me to the sheep. i'll tell them how to feel. ;)

David Cho said...

There is always that 30-40% of Americans who will always drink the kool aid and love Bush and another 30-40% who will always hate Bush. I say that because a President's approval rating typically ranges from 40 to 60%.

So the "sheep" you are speakin of is really a swing of maybe 20% of the populace, which hardly amounts to the majority of Americans. The rest are pretty steady for the most part.

T said...


While I agree that in general many Americans fall into the buckets you described, that doesn't explain how Bush can obtain an approval rating of 92%.

Jen said...

I can explain it: fake polls.

David Cho said...

Well, that 92% rating was extremely short-lived. 9-11 was an extraordinary event which made people react with extraordinary emotions.

And the rating was only limited to how Bush stepped up to calm the unnerved nation, which most people have to admit that he did fine. But my point is that the criteria by which he was judged was very narrowly defined and short-lived and was exclusive of his subsequent actions to fight terror.

I seldom approved of Clinton's presidency. But he handled himself pretty well right after the Oklahoma bombing and I would have given him a thumbs up. Again, the criteria by which I judged him was very narrow.