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Polls show growing anger with Bush's right-wing agenda
The emperor has no clothes

July 6, 2001 | Page 3

MAYBE PRESIDENT Bush's handlers really thought they could pull a fast one. After stealing the White House and pushing one attack after another, maybe they thought that people would just get used to it.

Lo and behold, they're finding out what most Americans knew all along--that Bush's agenda isn't popular.

Only a few months after his bootlickers in the media proclaimed the Bush administration a stunning success, a series of opinion polls have shown that Bush's popularity is plummeting. Barely one-half of the population approves of his performance in office, and the numbers are even worse for his stands on the issues.

Bush's plunge in the polls came after Congress passed his single biggest domestic initiative--a $1.35 trillion tax giveaway to the super-rich. The White House tried to spin the tax package as a popular "refund" of "the people's money." But ordinary people know that the majority of the tax cut will flow into the pockets of the wealthy.

The rest of Bush's agenda is even more unpopular.

After releasing its "energy plan" to much fanfare in May, the administration found the public overwhelmingly opposed to it. Even worse for Dubya, two-thirds of Americans think his talk about an "energy crisis" is phony--and that energy companies are manipulating supplies to rip off consumers.

This dovetails with an increasingly clear image of Bush in the public mind--as a servant of Corporate America who looks out for the rich.

All the president's men and women are struggling to put Dubya back together again. But spin doctoring won't change the fact that Bush is an illegitimate president who does the bidding of big business.

What's most amazing about Bush's decline in popularity is that it's happened with virtually no opposition from Democrats or liberals. For months, Democrats retreated in the face of administration attacks--even as Bush drove one of his own, Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), out of the Republican Party, throwing the Senate into Democratic hands.

Bush's sag in the polls shows how much his earlier "strength" was based on smoke and mirrors--and on the failure of Democrats and liberals to mount an opposition.

And Bush has had it easy so far. The economy is on the verge of recession. And most of the budget surplus that the politicians are vying to spend is disappearing, according to Bush's own economic adviser.

These factors will increasingly lay bare the war on workers and the poor that Bush and his cronies have launched.

Tens of millions of Americans can't stand Bush and what he represents. Yet this growing anti-Bush sentiment remains unfocused--above all, because unions and liberal organizations that could mobilize a real fight remain in retreat mode.

A grassroots opposition to Bush's attacks will have to be built from the ground up. Such an opposition may start small, but it's the only kind that can push back the Bush gang--and force all the politicians to think twice before they attack us again.

It's time to get started.

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