Rating Iraq Policy

I am always surprised when a WSJ poll appears to contradict the expected rightward tilt of its readership.

Today’s poll is no different.

The results are intriguing, and very divided: 69% of those who participated in the poll gave the President’s Iraq leadership a "D" or an "F." Only 12% gave his Iraq leadership an "A"  (hardcore partisans / delusional ), while another 12% give him a "B." Only 7% landed in the midpoint of "C."


Question of the Day: How do you grade Bush’s leadership of the Iraq war so far this year

click for larger graphic



Perhaps the readership of the WSJ is more pragmatic than idealogical — or maybe they are simply less conservative than I assumed.

UPDATE:  March 14, 2006  11:04am

Interesting comment from a friend at TIAA/Cref, who tells me I misunderstand the President as a Republican; She claims he is really a radical conservative, and Wall Street prefers gridlock/centrisim to anything radical.


Bush’s Approval Ratings Slip In the Latest Harris Poll
March 14, 2006

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. royce commented on Mar 14

    Barry, you have to remember that the “F” crew includes both anti-war folks and the “kill ’em all” crowd who think we aren’t being aggressive enough.

  2. BL commented on Mar 14

    I was surprised before the last election, how unenthusiastic the WSJ seemed to be about another Bush term. They didn’t come out and say they were for Kerry, but a surprising number of stories and editorials did not seem thrilled about the prospect of four more years of this. Far less conservative than I expected.

  3. trader75 commented on Mar 14

    “Perhaps the readership of the WSJ is more pragmatic than idealogical — or maybe they are simply less conservative than I assumed.”

    Another possibility is that many WSJ readers were previous supporters of Bush–and supporters of the war–now grown disgusted with this administration’s rampant incompetence.

    Like the CEO who promises a competent team and coherent strategy… and then proceeds to botch the execution again and again and again, and yet getting more arrogant as time goes on.

    The Dubai debacle is another extreme example of this. Dubai is one of the most capitalist countries on earth. They would not have been a hard sell, had the ports deal been properly vetted and prepped ahead of time instead of rammed through in the dead of night. Bush had the terrorism-fighting credibility and the responsibility to vet this deal before the public, and lay down political cover for his election-sensitive party members, well in advance of the backlash. Instead, he had no clue what was actually going on, as usual. The administration failed free trade by botching it once again.

    The MBA President has turned out to be a horrible disgrace to MBAs. In some ways this is more frustrating for those who share the conservative ideology than those who vehemently oppose it.

    Interesting too, though, how utterly incompetent Harry Reid, Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi are on the other side. It seems to be an epidemic in DC these days.

  4. JWC commented on Mar 14

    I’m surprised too. But my guess is it has to do with the word competence. Unfortunately, we have three more years of the same incompetence, and it is not limited to Iraq.

  5. Zuil commented on Mar 14

    While I would also have given him an “F”, let’s not forget that these results represent not the readership of the WSJ but merely those that chose to participate.

    I would expect that this would greatly over-represent those that feel strongly about the issue.

    It is hard to feel strongly about giving someone a “C” grade and it is not surprising that few remain that feel strongly about giving him an “A” in this area.

  6. B commented on Mar 14

    Strong leadership has inherent qualities. One of those qualities is to unite the team and provide a vision and plan which is to the betterment of everyone. ie, Everyone wants to know what’s in it for me. These skills are even more important when the leader is leading leaders in their own right.

    Doesn’t matter if it is a coach, a CEO or the President. Bush never reaches out to Democrats, seldom brings his won party’s Congresspeople into the inner sanctum and has a terrible flaw of publicly dressing down people over whom he has no control then expecting them to cooperate. ie, Korea, France, Germany, Iran, Congress, the UN, etc. Well, scratch that France comment. lol. Who the hell is going to cooperative when he has publicly humiliated them in front of the whole world? Any leader will loose face with his own constituency. I actually like Georgy as a person and I’m quite confident he is smart. But, is he a social misfit?

    Maybe the poll is a reflection that most WSJ readers know what talents a strong leader should have because many are leaders themselves.

    *Believe me, I understand there are other issues but this one sticks out like a sore thumb to me*

  7. DJM commented on Mar 14

    Bush has seriously deviated from the conservative base he was expected to adhere to. Bush has strayed quite far from traditional conservativism and seeme to be doing a pretty good job at alienating everyone…both “R” and “D” voters.

    The recent port scandal is just one example. I never would have dreamed that it would be Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton who would be talking sense when it came to national security. I have personally heard a handful of conservatives who voted for Bush in the last election simply for the Supreme Court nominations…they felt he sold out their party in his first term.

  8. M commented on Mar 14

    Arrogance. It’s Bush’s worst trait. He has to do it *his* way and is not very good at making corrections as needed.

  9. GRL commented on Mar 14

    It is also important to keep in mind that a substantial number of Republicans have “classical liberal” or “libertarian” leanings (as does the WSJ).

    For a libertarian (such as me), the Iraq war symbolizes everything that is wrong with our over-spending, over-taxing, over-regulating and out of control government.

    For the neoconservative wing of the party (the intellectual heirs to those who got us into Vietnam), the Iraq war is the next logical step in their long-term project to “make the world safe for democracy,” a project which is fundamentally incompatible with, and lethal to, the preservation of liberty at home.

  10. B commented on Mar 14


  11. Patrick (G) commented on Mar 14

    Isn’t a ‘radical conservative’ a contradiction in terms ?

  12. Barry 2.0 commented on Mar 14

    I don’t know anyone who is really thrilled with Bush. Even the people who voted for him were really just fearful that John Kerry would impose gay marriage on them or that he’d let the French manage our national security (as opposed to Dubai managing our ports).

    Since when were Repuglican presidents every good with spending and taxes?

    Look, it’s a statiscal fact – the economy and stock market do better under Democratic presidents.

    Democrats actually spend less and have more common sensed budgets. They have a long standing history
    of cutting taxes on the middle class and enacting sensible tax legislation on businesses so growth isn’t stifled.

    BTW- for those nuckleheads who want to point out the Gip for me, here are some facts that you will never be able to come to terms with:

    – Jimmy Carter is responsible for breaking the back of stagflation. Paul Volcker was his appointee and Carter
    was given the option of hiking interest rates early on to fix the economy before the election and he did the responsible thing and said “No, do it when you think it
    is your only option.”
    – Every budget the Democrats put together under Reagan had less spending than the Gipper wanted

    And blah, blah, blah about communism. It was dying out before Reagan got into office.

    Repulicans suck ass. They wreck the economy and the stock market time and time again.

    They have a history of sucking that blows the mind.

    Care to guess which party was in power when the 1929 stock market crash happened?

    Yes- those horrible Repuglicans who hate capitalism and destroy wealth and oppurtunity every chance
    they get.

    I say we ship them all to Iraq. I hear Baghdad has a flat tax.

  13. Anon commented on Mar 14

    Hardly. I think most really fringe right wingers are super radical. Timothy McVey? You know the slave owners were conservatives. It was them thar northern liberals that want to give these subhumans their freedom. I could go on and on and on.

    You think those God fearing, Bible thumping conservatives who were noosing up minorities on Friday night as recently as forty years ago then turned around to go to church on Sunday morning were liberals? Or how about those dragging gay people behind their truck for giggles and grins a few years ago. You think they were liberals? How about Osama Bin Laden? He liberal? The mullahs in the Wahabi sect of Islam? They liberals?

    I grew up in a very conservative, Bible thumping area. Do you know what many macho, Sunday-go-to-meetin conservative young men liked to do on Saturday night? Go to known establishments where gay men frequented and get a gay guy to offer them money for favors, get him out alone, beat him up, take his money and go buy some beer. Let’s party! Yee hah!

    There are many radical liberals doing their own destructive duty but radicalism is on both sides of the spectrum.

  14. Robert Cote commented on Mar 14

    Bush is failing? Well there’s only one thing to do. No President Left Behind. Let us suspend Aritlce II the 22nd Amendment and make him stay in office until he gets it right. Personally I’d prefer to keep the Constitution intact so that I might, no matter how unlikely, get to see a Republican on the ballot unlike these last few.

  15. Roberto commented on Mar 14

    I my opinion Bush has become irrelevant. I don’t know anyone (with a noodle) who thought he would do a good job from the day he was elected. Wasn’t Texas enough of an indicator? His dad should be embarrassed (not like his dad was much better). When will this country figure out that until we get third party candidates (maybe a liber) we will continue to have more of the same (Dems or Reps same party same crap same people same lies same BS same old boys network not worth the paper they print). Will the real third party candiate with no conflicts of interest, a noodle, and a plan to better this country please stand up!!!!

  16. anna commented on Mar 14

    A lot of conservatives are writing articles explaining why Bush isn’t really a conservative. The neoconservatives blame him for losing the war.

    I would guess WSJ conservatives have some pragmatism, but overall Bush is primarily keeping the Rush folks, they can say 3 contradictory things before breakfast while hectoring the other side because one Democrat says one thing and another another. They really are unaware how much criticism is coming out of the Republican party of the “blame Bush” variety, they assume only Jane Fonda is critical and they have no idea how fierce the split is likely to be as the mess endangers political careeers and the thug power of enforcement is weakened.

    This is while most Republicans still think the economy is robust and sound. When it starts hitting bumps the Bush approval rate will fall further. He always wanted to accomplish something, looks like it’s going to be going down as the worst president in history.

  17. lola commented on Mar 14

    Bush attends church the LEAST of any president. He’s a rich, spoiled nasty overgrown child who cares little for human life.

  18. B commented on Mar 14

    My God,
    Listen to you people. Personal attacks galore on Bush. It appears Jesus Christ is posting on this board under many aliases because the final judgement is upon us. Vitriolic spewing of Democrats and Republicans alike. Carter this, Reagan that, Republican this, Democrat that. Don’t you see that they win by manipulating you into such commentary? YOU ARE SLAVES THE THE MANIPULATORS IN WASHINGTON IF YOU ARE PARTISAN AS THEY ARE. They have you right where they want you. Firmly entrenched in a party line vote. Believing the other side is always wrong. The Republican party is no more lost than the Democratic party. And that is very lost. Then when a third party rears its head, they tell you it’s a wasted vote and most believe it THUS WASTING THEIR VOTE ON THE STATUS QUO.


    Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” That defines American’s views on our political leaders. INSANITY ROCKS!

  19. xdcdx commented on Mar 14

    bush is the WPE, an utter disaster on all fronts. What’s funny is I actually support the neo-conservative aims but I knew the criminally inept Bush and his criminally inept crew would fail them utterly. Of course pointing this fact out is “helping the enemy” according to the wannabe facists.

    But one question, how are the results of the poll “divided”? 69% seems pretty clear to me.

  20. Patrick (G) commented on Mar 14

    How’s that quote go again ?

    “Success has 100 parents, failure is an orphan”

    Well in the 21st Century, we have DNA testing.

  21. Barry 2.0 commented on Mar 14

    Bush rapes little girls and has black slaves.

    There – we’ve hit the epoch of shrill.

    Next topic, please?

  22. angryinch commented on Mar 14

    If Bush’s poll numbers were a stock, they have essentially been in a bear market for 3 1/2 years after peaking subsequent to 9/11. Is this the nadir? Possibly. Though it’s hard to say whether we get a spike off the bottom or we just languish here at the lows for a while. My guess is the latter.

    A certain percentage (like the 12% who believe he deserves an “A” for Iraq) will always be in Bush’s corner—even if pictures were published of him having carnal knowledge with a barnyard animal.

    Given the persistent decline in his popularity, it certainly begs the question how he ever got re-elected. Certainly the constant drumbeat of “terra” was helpful, culminating in the oh-so-convenient Bin Laden tape right before the election.

    If there is a spike off his lows, no doubt it will again be “terra”, perhaps another nicely-timed wave of fear or perhaps even a small attack just to keep folks thinking about how dangerous the li’l ol’ world can be.

    The other scenario might be that his popularity simply remains in the low 30% range until the Dems take back the House in Nov. Then in 2007, he is forced from office and it will be “morning again in America”.

    If I were a trad Republican—not one of the lonely 12%—I think I’d be rooting for the latter scenario. The best chance the Repubs have of winning in 2008 is to remove (one way or t’other) Bush in 2007.

  23. lola commented on Mar 14

    gee barry 2.0 you sound really rich and bored….

  24. Jordan commented on Mar 14

    Emphatically agree with “GRL.”

    The neo-con agenda completely contradicts the values and intentions of our founding fathers. The American empire is on the road to hyperinflation and theres no turning back. Hopefully after that the country will turn to liberty and libertarianism rather than these two awful parties. I dont want a republican police state or a democratic socialist republic. I want liberty. And Bush is a facist and a socialist at the same time.

  25. Mike S. commented on Mar 14

    I wouldn’t read too much into this; after all, fully 24% of the respondents graded Bush’s Iraq policies as either “A” or “B”. When a quarter of those polled by the WSJ support our Iraq policies, that means someone who reads the WSJ is making BIG $$$ on the blood and limbs of our troops. I guess all the marketing done to sell Americans on ourselves is finally paying off. What a sad state of affairs it is when we begin to believe our own hype.

  26. Bobby commented on Mar 14

    They should do a study do determine whether the 12% who voted “A” actually understood the question.

  27. Fred commented on Mar 14

    How people vote in this poll depends on where they get their information and the quality of their criitical thinking.

  28. areyburn commented on Mar 14

    Wait a bloody minute! You’re friend at TIAA/CREF thinks Bush is a radical conservative???? The man doesn’t know what conservative is. Or maybe I don’t. He deficit spends beyond wild extremes. Tries to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes on the wealthy. And he spends most of his time courting the religious right. Gee, I guess I’m a libertarian after all. Which is why I’d prefer having someone with a social conscious than an radical whatever-he-is.

  29. todd commented on Mar 14

    well, the WSJ isn’t exactly breaking new ground here… we all know the poll numbers.

    I enjoy Kudlow trying to call a “Bush poll #’s” bottom every other day on his show. My thought… low numbers can always go lower.

  30. brian commented on Mar 15

    Ah yes. The Bush years. I’m 47. I’ve read about awful in American history but there really is nothing like living through it. Bush is simply the worst president in Amerikan history. He’s the propaganda President and Conservatives….He’s ALL yours. Suck America dry while you can because in 3 years there may not be much left but a wasteland of debt, division, wreckage, paranoia and shattered national pride. (but then, that was the plan all along wasn’t it?)

  31. Hans Suter commented on Mar 15

    back to the WSJ readers: I believe many readers use the Journal as a tool, a great tool. Period.
    (Speaking of myself: I hardly ever read an op ed there, they are mustly nutty.)

  32. Sandy commented on Oct 25

    The only differeance between Clinton and Bush is that Clinton screwed people one person at a time.

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