From Editor & Publisher:
NEW YORK For almost two years, President Bush has been threatening to unseat Richard M. Nixon as the most unpopular president in the history of the Gallup poll, and it finally happened this week.
The latest USA TODAY/Gallup survey finds Bush with a 31% approval rating — and for the first time ever in the polling history, 50% say they “strongly disapprove” of a president.
The previous high (or low?) was a 48% strong disapproval rating for Nixon at the worst moments of Watergate in 1974.
But does it matter?
From Spiegel Online:
He may be America’s most unpopular politician, but George W. Bush is no lame duck. As a wartime president, Bush dominates the political agenda. He is discreetly influencing his party’s choice of presidential candidate while committing his country to an aggressive foreign policy, the effects of which are likely to continue well beyond his term in office.
Instead of destroying the president, the ongoing public hostility has only made him stronger. Bush, the man who has become firmly ensconced as a wartime president, has scored three successes recently. One can either welcome them or feel threatened by them, but to ignore them would be a mistake.
I don’t agree with most of the article, so I will allow you to read it yourself and see what you think.
Now, how is the country doing in the eyes of the world? From the Turkish Press:
The United States needs to shift from muscle-flexing to alliance-building when it seeks to wield power in the world if it wants to patch up its battered global image, said a report on Tuesday.
“America’s reputation, standing and influence are at all-time lows, and possibly sinking further,” the report by a 20-member think-tank commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said, citing half a dozen opinion polls from around the world.
[The report] called on the next US president to chart a new course towards a “smarter” foreign policy that balances hard power — “wielding carrots and sticks to get what you want” — and soft power — “the ability to attract people to our side without coercion.”
By shifting its foreign policy focus from the war on terror to championing the global good, the United States will not only defeat terrorism but will also restore its greatness, the report said.
The commission included former military commander in Iraq Anthony Zinni; ex-US ambassador to the United Nations, Russia and Israel Thomas Pickering; former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor; members of congress; business leaders and the heads of non-profit organizations.
Before the United States seeks to redress its global image, it has to tidy up its own back garden, the report said.
“One of the terrible lasting impressions of Hurricane Katrina is that the US government is both unfair and inept in the face of real challenges that impact people’s lives.
“This perception of an uncaring, ineffective US government is even more pronounced abroad among non-US citizens.”
Among recommendations the commission gave to help restore the good image of the United States were a renewed commitment to international treaties and institutions, and reinvigorated alliances.
The United States must also not have double standards in terms of international legal norms, the report said.
“The images of prisoner abuse from Abu Ghraib … seemed emblematic of this double standard.”
“America has the capacity to be a smart power,” the report concluded.
“It is the most important mandate for our next president.”