Monday, August 08, 2005

Trust

     Trust is an interesting concept. In some ways, it's the glue that holds together modern society. We trust that the money in our bank accounts will be there when we ask for it. We trust that the water we drink isn't full of poisons and toxins. We trust that the toys we buy our children won't blow up in their faces. Of course, we don't really trust the companies that provide these things, but we do trust the government agencies assigned to check up on and regulate these companies. Of course we do - otherwise you'd be carrying all your money in cash instead of on a bank card. For that matter, you'd be carrying around gold pieces instead of promisary notes from the US Treasury. Maybe you've lost faith in your municipal water supply, but you still trust that Deer Park is safe. Without trust, we'd be primitive, hunting our own food, building our own homes, battling our neighbors.
     In 2000, George Bush ran for President on a platform of trust. The American people could trust him, he said. There would be no chubby intern sex in his White House. The American electorate bought it, of course, and Bush began his mission to restore the Presidency to its glory days before Nixon tarnished its reputation. But though this might mean increased transparency for another President, for Bush it meant increased secrecy. Meetings were held behind closed doors with unnamed people. Press conferences were held less and less frequently. The public was told that it just had to trust the President. This probably would not have worked with the suspicious press. This was not 1940 when the press was complicit in the coverup of Republican nominee Wendell Wilkie's affair or 1960 when the press ignored Democrat President John F. Kennedy's affairs. Who knows what would have happened if terrorists had not attacked in 2001. But when they did, Americans put their faith in Bush because they had to.
     It actually came as a surprise to Bush's opponents that he squandered this goodwill. Personally, I didn't expect the bitter partisanship that followed. I didn't expect him to use the opportunity to roll back environmental laws, privacy laws, church-and-state laws. But more importantly, I didn't expect him to blatantly tell falsehoods and not come clean when they were revealed to be untrue. And still Americans trusted the man, despite howls from frustrated Democrats that the lying was too obvious to ignore. Yet ignore they did. Why? My guess is that "trust" had nothing to do with lying or even perjury in front of a grand jury, as Republicans had proclaimed. "Trust" had to do with a promise Bush made to the social Right wing of the country - that he would restore their place of glory within America. That the churches and the libertarians and the downtrodden would once again sit on the top of the social ladder.
     Today's "news" is that the majority of Americans polled distrust Bush (Free Login required). The article attributes it to the quagmire of Iraq. But I think there's more going on. Democrats clearly lost faith with Bush years ago. Independents probably broke off in 2003 amid lies about Iraq. Plame-gate surely didn't help. But any Republicans losing their trust of Bush are probably doing so because of Bush's unkeepable "promise" made in 2000. After five years, the disaffecteds who helped push him into office still don't see the respect and admiration they crave. Dems have wondered aloud for years how the alliance between wealthy economic conservatives and poor social conservatives stood so solidly. Well, for years they have believed in the "promise", first made by Ronald Reagan. (It's interesting to note in "Christianity Today"'s article on Reagan, they commented how he "rarely delivered on [evangelicals'] issues) For 25 years Republicans have made this deal with the social conservatives, but were excused for failing to deliver because they never held enough power. Now Republicans solidly hold all three branches of government, and they've run out of excuses. Now we are starting to see some cracks in the alliance. Now the evangelicals are starting to realize that they've been used, to an extent. Oh sure, they may get some public funding for Christian schools. Sure, they could potentially get Roe v. Wade overturned. But those are longshots, and it's becoming clear to evangelicals that Bush and his Congress are not rushing to satisfy them.
     Will Trust be the thing that will sink this unflappable golden boy? Unless something changes in his favor between now and 2008, he probably won't see the love that he's used to. Bush is a lame duck, while members of Congress have re-elections to prepare for. Bush is finding out that getting to power and staying in power are two different beasts. And yet... it will be interesting to see how he responds to this challenge.

25 comments:

Ben said...

I couldn't disagree more with so much of what you say, though I won't go in to details. I'll just say that the world through liberal colored glasses seems to really suck, and I wonder how you can ever be happy being such a pessimist and cynic. You might want to take off those glasses sometime and see what people who see things objectively think.

Mike said...

Nice, Ben!

sideshow bob said...

One thing you can always trust is that faith in elected officials is always misplaced.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike said...

haha. Scott got spammed. I got one too on my blog. But mine was forklifts.

Scott said...

I hope nobody's offended that I deleted the spam. If you were looking for the male infertility treatments, sorry.

Alisa said...

Hmmm All I have to say to the Democrats is "give me a better option"

The only reason I supported Bush (I voted Clinton, I voted Gore) in this last election was because the idea of Kerry in office scared me enough to vote for Bush.

scorcho said...

Apparently, Bush has the lowest approval ratings he's seen during the entire Presidency. But I think his dishonesty about the war is not being challenged, mostly because the Republicans are controlling everything right now, so there's no one there to challenge him. If the media does, than they're "the liberal media", and politicians that question it are "unpatriotic". I believe it was Socrates who spoke of the need of people to always question everything.

I can tell you that for once, I'm not worried anymore. I think the GOP has dissapointed America (those of us not blinded by tax cuts, religion, or the joys of murdering Arabs) so much that the Democratic candidate will be a shoo-in for the presidency.
Hillary '08.

MYOPINION said...

http://shudaknown.blogspot.com/

I don't fear all of the terrorists in the world (home grown and otherwise) as much as I fear my/our government. But we better be doing something to get back to the our glory days because this aint workin. I know I sound like a grumpy old man longing for "the good 'ol days". It aint over till it's over.

Ben said...

You people act like your family memebrs have been killed by Bush, your Aunt raped and drawn and quartered, your grandmother totured until she revealed her secret recipe.

There is a large group of people out there that want to kill you. They've said it a bunch of times, and they've proven it a bunch of times. They said it before Iraq, and they're still saying it after. They are the enemy, not Bush.

Sylvana said...

It may be true that there are people out there in the world that hate America and want to destroy America, but I have to tell you, I really don't think Bush is doing much to help those problems. If anything, I see that he is making it worse.

Shannon said...

"There's a large group of people out there that want to kill you."

Hmmm. I must have thought that email was just spam. I have yet to see "a large group" threaten my life or to destroy America. Seems like the insurgency is hell bent on destroying Iraq, not me. I have seen a number of individuals appear on TV and claim they'll produce more terrorist acts in order to force America to leave the Arab world. The funny thing about terrorism is that it doesn't require a large group of people, only about 4 or 5 in whose best interest it is to obfuscate their true numbers.

What would you say to a mother, Ben, who never supported the war but whose son was recently killed in Iraq? Would you simply dismiss her feeling that Bush was somehow implicit in her son's death?

Besides, I have yet to see how terrorism is linked to social conservative causes, such as the reversal of Roe V. Wade or libertarian issues, such as tax reduction. I'm not sure of how social conservatives truly feel, but libertarians are not exactly thrilled with Bush's performance- but they just trust the democrats less.

Ben said...

I'm not sure why you bring up taxes and Roe v Wade. I certianly never said they have a connection to terrorism. And I do wish Bush had done things a little differently in Iraq, but overall I approve of what he's trying to do.

Many Imams and other Muslim leaders have made speeches calling for the death of Americans, saying they will not stop until the whole world is under sharia law, until they have pushed Israel in to the sea, until the infidels fall under the bootheels of Muhammed. You've decided Bush is a liar, and apparantely you won't believe the terrorists, either. You give them more honor and integrity than they grant themselves. Why won't you believe them when they say they want you dead? Is it because it's in Arabic and you don't trust the translation, and they sound so much more peaceful when they are doing soundbites in English to manipulate you on the evening news?

That mother's son chose to join the military. It's not my job to comfort her, so I don't know what I'd say, but when you join the military, and a war happens... Of course some people are going to die. That's what happens in war. Thankfully the 1800 Americans dead are no where near the numbers the left wing was predicting before the war. Three years ago you would have said 1800 dead is a pipe dream and spouted out tens or hundreds of thousands. You would have been wrong then, and you are wrong now.

Scott said...

Well, the war's not exactly over, Ben, so I wouldn't be so loud crowing about "only" 1800 dead. Yesterday, the President of Venezuela said he'd "crush America" if we invaded his country. Somehow, I'm not worried about him either.
I don't need Bush to "kill my family members" or "rape my Aunt" to want to be rid of him, any more than you needed Kerry to do likewise or Saddam Hussein to do so.
Hey look - I was just reporting that in polls, less than half of Americans still think he's trustworthy. You can argue about how wonderful he is until you turn blue. But my post was about why the majority of Americans no longer trust the man. The lack of trust in him as of last week is a fact (+- 3 points). Stop arguing with facts like Republicans love to do - we're just discussing the reasons why.

sideshow bob said...

My grandmother would never crack, no matter what you capitalist dogs throw at her.

Ben said...

What facts was I arguing with? I looked back and don't see anywhere where I denied a fact, or argued that a fact wasn't true. You, on the other hand, are making things up, like the idea that I argued against a fact. What a great debate technique, taken right from Howard Dean's playbook. Make up lies, and keep your fingers crossed that only a few conservatives will call you on it, but the vast majority of people that hear you will believe despite truth to the contrary.

Mike said...

Don't waste your breath, Ben. It's just more of the same. America sucks. We can't share our plan to fix it. Just elect a Democrat and "trust us."

So the poll numbers are slipping. Who cares. Big news flash. Half of America doesn't like Bush. See if it stops him. He just got an energy and transportation bill passed. CAFTA got passed. He's about to get one of his guys on the Supreme Court. He's far from a lame duck as much as they might hope so.

Scott said...

America doesn't suck. Bush sucks.

I noticed that the energy bill didn't mention anything about the Alaska wildlife refuge. But a big kudos to the non-lame duck who extended Daylight Savings to include Halloween.
So the poll numbers are slipping. Who cares
If you don't care about the issues I'm posting, why are you commenting? To tell me "sour grapes"? Or that the "world through liberal colored glasses seems to really suck"? The post was about Bush's trust numbers dropping, even among the "social conservatives". If you don't care, don't post. You're worse than spam. At least they're somewhat honest about their agenda.

Ben said...

Why do you have comments if you don't want to discuss, or have different viewpoints? Can you only handle viewpoints that are similar to yours, and you insult anyone else's point of view with irrelevent nonsense like, "you don't have an agenda." Anyway, your post was about FAR more than poll numbers. That little excuse of yours is another example of you twisting the truth to suit your needs. You mention the polls in one short part of one paragraph, and the rest is about trust, which is a FAR bigger issue than one poll. After all, if everything in a poll is true, then Kerry would be president, because he "won" the exit polls.

And no, the energy bill didn't have the Alaska stuff on it. Your point? Obviously Bush decided to get what he could pass easily passed, and then work on the tougher stuff. Does not getting 100% of what you want mean you failed everything?

Sylvana said...

Mike, what do you hate most about this country? Is it the freedom?

Mike said...

Ok Scott. You win. I used to like coming here and debating the issues. But my Christian Conservative point of view has made you hostile toward me. I can see it makes you angry. I don't want to take away from you enjoying your blog. So this will be my last comment here. Please save your applause to the end.

I'm not leaving angry. Just disappointed that somewhere along the way we lost the ability to have an intelligent discussion. I share part of the blame, I suppose. I hope there are no hard feelings.

Before I go I just want to say I never said I didn't care about the topic you posted on. I just said who cares about poll numbers. As in Bush doesn't care what the polls say, he's going to do what's right. The sour grapes comment was directed at someone else on a different blog. Not at you. For some reason I was in a gloating mood that day. I didn't make the "liberal colored glasses" comment, Ben did. So with that I bid you adieu, mon ami.

Ben said...

Sylvana, where exactly did you get the idea that Mike hates America in any way? Mike has done nothing but stand up for America and what it has done. You and Scott are the ones criticizing everything that America does. I don't think that constitutes hate at all, but it comes a lot closer than Mike supporting American action. It's that sort of overblown, ridiculous rhetoric that you condemn on the right and supprt when someone on the left says it.

It sort fo reminds me of race-baiters who call the Republicans racist bastards in one breath, and then call any black people that disagree with them Uncle Toms. That is racism and intolerance. The left, and I include you and Scott in this, are intolerant of anyone whose opinion differs from yours, calling them hateful or racist or whatever. "We tolerate anyone who agrees with us, and condemn anyone who doesn't."

scorcho said...

"So the poll numbers are slipping. Who cares. Big news flash. Half of America doesn't like Bush. See if it stops him."

It should stop him. The President is supposed to serve the needs of the country, not the needs of himself or his interest groups.

"He just got an energy and transportation bill passed. CAFTA got passed. He's about to get one of his guys on the Supreme Court."

The energy bill makes it easier for companies to pollute and dictates that Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant, even though it's causing global warming (unless those scientists are liberal-biased too). The guy he wants on the Supreme Court is not very well liked by the Senate or House Democrats, and the only reason they're letting him in is because THE REPUBLICANS WANTED TO GET RID OF THE FILIBUSTER.

Wake up, people. Bush is a liar, and does not play fair. You cannot prove his intentions for the war in Iraq BECAUSE THEY KEEP CHANGING.

And I love America, too, but Bush is a criminal and a liar, and thanks to him, over 1800 lives were lost for a war we're not winning and we don't know the point of.

ORF said...

"I'll just say that the world through liberal colored glasses seems to really suck..."
I suppose the adage that ignorance is bliss is true, then? If you choose to ignore certain truths about the orchestration of Bush's campaigns and subsequent administration then a lot more about American politics would be hunky-dory.

As for the large group of people that want to kill me, Ben. Well, they tried. About four years ago to the day and if you've noticed, my city has bounced back just fine and we're all busy telling each other to go f*ck ourselves once again. It's not ME personally that extremists have anything against, it's the entire way of life that our country inhabits. But be serious, do you honestly think that there's a snowball's chance they could EVER take on 200 million people successfully? And win them over to an Islamic extremist viewpoint? Just look at how staunchly Democratic and Republican we all are. We'll never ever concede and that is one thing that makes this country fantastic. I don't hate America in the least, but I DO feel that there are more tactful ways in which we could go about handling ourselves on an international stage when it comes to naming sworn enemies. We've dignified the terrorists efforts in a very self-conscious way by behaving the way we have in Iraq (even tho the conflict there has very little to do with what happened on September 11).

And aside about the energy bill, Scott: it does not enforce any policies for industry to reduce greenhouse gas admissions nor does it encourage the auto industry to improve emissions standards on cars. It will also be giving the energy industry more autonomy instead of restricting it (hello, ENRON!?), and it doesn't mention ANWAR b/c that is getting porkbarreled into a budget bill, which cannot be filibustered.

Mike, I am sorry to see you go. I really don't see how Scott's comments in this particular post were directed at you any more than Ben, but I do hope you'll reconsider.

Sylvana said...

I was trying out a trick I learned from the right-wing propaganda machine. The one where you take some part of what a person said out of context and misconstrue the meaning to make the person look bad and try to prove some ficticious point.

Mike said, "America sucks." Therefore he must hate America.

And the comment that I made is actually a quote (except I substituted Mike for Bart) from a TV interview in The Simpsons episode "Bart-mangled Banner" in which Marge's words are taken out of context to make her look bad and try to prove some ficticious point. So it was also somewhat a test of your sense of humor.

I would also at this time like to point out that Bush is NOT America! You can be against Bush and his crappy policies and still be for AMERICA! Those two entities are definitionally isolated, NOT one in the same.