There’s a great line in ‘Enter The Dragon’ where Bruce Lee, at the island martial arts tournament that figures in the film, is preparing to fight the big, scarred, violent-looking martial artist (Bob Wall) who killed his sister.
Wall tosses a board up in the air, and shatters it midair with a blow.
Lee looks at him, smiles slightly, and says: “Boards don’t hit back” and then proceeds to do a martial arts clinic on Wall’s body.
I actually got to use a line like that once…
The first thought I had when I saw it was “Polls don’t pass laws.”
Yes, Bush and his administration are struggling with their popularity. But the Republican Party is likely to survive the mid-term elections with control of Congress (thanks in no small part to gerrymandering), and it is likely that the GOP will continue to control the apparatus of power until 2008.
Now polls do matter – just as breaking boards in midair matters in demonstrating martial arts expertise.
But the problem with approval/disapproval polls is that they don’t factor well for people like me – who didn’t approve much of what Bush had done in 2004, but when looking at who he was running against, approved even less.
As an example, Kaus points us at some recent California polls (where the Governator is doing about as badly as Bush in the polls) for two of his possible rivals -
They don’t like you! They really don’t like you! Warren Beatty and Rob Reiner aren’t nearly as popular as their backers thought they were, according to the latest Field Poll. Beatty’s rating is 40% unfavorable/27% favorable–among Democrats! Yikes. .. Reiner is at least more popular than unpopular within his own party, but overall his unfavorables outweigh his favorables among independents (34/24) and overall (41/25). …
So I keep bringing it home to two simple points:
# I’m not so convinced that “Not Bush” is a winning campaign strategy; can we possibly come up with some better ones?
# And I’m absolutely convinced that if we could win an election with this, it’d be a recipe for disaster as a strategy for governing.
Update: Actually, there’s a great article in the Bee by Dan Walters that amplifies Mickey’s point, and extends it to the Governor’s other two Democratic challengers, Phil Angelides and Steve Wesley:
And actor-directors Rob Reiner and Warren Beatty, who have been politically active of late and have been the subject of much speculation as potential Democratic challengers to Schwarzenegger, are also well-known, with roughly two-thirds of those surveyed holding opinions about them. But their images, if anything, are less favorable than Schwarzenegger’s with just 25 percent being positively disposed toward Reiner and 16 percent toward Beatty.
Angelides and the other Democrat who’s publicly announced for the governorship, Controller Steve Westly, generate name-identification levels at half, or less, of those held by Reiner and Beatty and positive ratings equally as low – substantially lower than Schwarzenegger’s. Just 23 percent of voters hold a positive opinion of Angelides and 18 percent of Westly.
As I said before…”polls don’t pass laws.”