Heads up, America. Some good things have happened in Iraq.
I recently had the occasion to drop the spouse and offspring at Tahoe International Airport for their semi-routine pilgrimage to see the in-laws in warmer climates. I decided to celebrate my momentary bachelorhood at the airport bar with an overpriced glass of my favorite single-malt scotch, until I was certain they didn’t miss the flight or get hung up in security. The bartender informed me that the airlines will provide security passes for “helpers” to those who request such a pass when checking their luggage. (I filed this information under “next time,” since I couldn’t have made it to the terminal counter and back to the gate in time. In any event, I also place this in the “look at what happens when you don’t pay attention” category.)
While sipping contently, I happened upon this article in the Wall Street Journal, which someone had abandoned on the seat next to me. Seems the WSJ, in conjunction with NBC News, conducted a poll between March 10-13. Apparently among those who were polled, 58 percent disapprove of President Bush’s job performance as compared to the 37 percent who approve of it. And 57 percent are less confident that the war in Iraq will end successfully as compared to 32 percent who are more confident that it will.
Now before the conservatively challenged folks break out the champagne and party favors for their 2008 White House win, let’s remember a few things. First, this isn’t exactly “news.”
As is often cited here, 38 percent of the population identify themselves as conservative. (As opposed to the 22 percent who call themselves liberal.) Therefore, the president’s numbers aren’t exactly dire. If you believe they are, then perhaps a recent history lesson is in order. Former President Bill Clinton, at best, received 42 percent and 49 percent of the vote in his two presidential elections. W took 51 percent in his last one. (And that was after being labeled as the imbecile president who stole the election from Al “I invented everything” Gore in 2000.)
Add to this mix the fact that the media constantly suggests that Nothing (with a capital N) has gone right in Iraq. As a matter of fact, I barely recall seeing anything positive reported about Iraq since the whole thing started. This is because A) absolutely nothing has gone right in Iraq (which is doubtful) or B) perhaps the mainstream media has an agenda.
So let’s recap. Other than the body count of soldiers that gets replayed every evening, what did the media report when the Iraqi parliament met for the first time? CNN’s headline was “U.S., Iraqi forces launch anti-insurgent campaign; More bodies found in Baghdad” and, oh yes, “Parliament meets, briefly.” NPR had this: “Iraqi Parliament Meets for First Time Amid Blasts.” This coverage is hardly conducive to the president’s popularity polls.
Maybe MSM should consider that Iraq has gone from a dictator to a constitution and government in less than three years. It took the United States 13 years to develop our Constitution. And the fact that the Iraq Parliament met at all in the face of suicide bombers is not cause for disappointment, but praise, especially when you consider the whole of Congress empties Capitol Hill faster than an Olympic sprinter at the mere hint of an anthrax threat.
Which begs the question: Is it any wonder that people with a 60-second attention span respond to polls the way they do? Or why I’m glad the president doesn’t act according to them?