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Late Nite FDL: Petraeus, Polls, and the Art of Failing in Place

pew chartWell, the results are in. The non-partisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has released its polling data on American opinion of the Iraq War in the wake of the administration’s multi-million-dollar PR push last week. And what did the Bushies get for their (our) money?

Why, absolutely fucking nothing.

Last week’s congressional testimony by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, followed by President Bush’s address to the nation, has not changed bottom-line public attitudes toward the war in Iraq.


The mostly stable opinions about the war and U.S. policies toward Iraq are consistent with this assessment. In the current survey, a 47% plurality says the United States will probably or definitely fail to achieve its goals in Iraq, which is largely unchanged from July (49%). Most important, opinions about whether to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq have not changed at all over the past two months: 54% believe U.S. forces should be brought home as soon as possible while 39% say U.S. troops should remain in Iraq until the situation is stable.

In other words, public opinion has flatlined on the war. The people who are stupid enough to believe whatever the president tells them will continue to do exactly that. The people who know better aren’t going to be bought off by a bunch of bells and whistles from another Bush appointee, especially not this late in the execution of a policy that has categorically failed on all fronts.

To be fair, there were some very modest gains among Republicans, about 16% said that the Betray Us Report improved their opinion of the War. As I said last week regarding the Petraeus and Pony Show, it fooled the people who wanted to be fooled. And nobody else.

Included in the category of those easily gulled dead-enders who saw the Petraeus Report as a positive, of course, are the ever-credulous Beltway Bobblehead Gang, who apparently spend their lives like baby birds in a nest; heads back, beaks wide open, anxiously awaiting the next juicy morsel of propaganda that the Right doles out to them. Propaganda that they swallow whole, uncritically gorging, then turn around and regurgitate into the laps of an increasingly skeptical public.

Glenzilla is on the case:

Here is a review of what we learned last week from the right-wing noise machine and their enabling media puppets: Americans trust Gen. Petraeus and do not want his credibility questioned. The week was a big win for President Bush and his Iraq policy. The MoveOn newspaper ad, like 9/11, was Going to Change Everything — it was a devastating event for Democrats, a transformative moment that would embolden Republicans and revitalize support for the war.

A new CBS poll, comparing the views of Americans Before Petraues (B.P.) and After Petraeus (A.P.), demonstrates that all of that was completely wrong:

Another poll? And what, pray tell, did it find?

The same thing as the Pew Poll:

(CBS) Most Americans continue to want troops to start coming home from Iraq, and most say the plan President Bush announced last week for troop reductions doesn’t go far enough, according to a CBS News poll released Monday.


Sixty-eight percent of Americans say that U.S. troop levels in Iraq should either be reduced or that all troops should be removed – similar numbers to those before Mr. Bush’s speech.

Nearly half want Mr. Bush to remove even more troops by next summer than he proposed in his address. Forty-seven percent say the plan to bring troop numbers down to pre-surge levels next year should go even further.

The poll also found that despite optimistic assessments of the U.S. troop surge by Mr. Bush and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Americans are unconvinced that the surge is working.

Only about one in three (31 percent) said the surge has made things in Iraq better, while more than half (51 percent) say it’s had no impact. Eleven percent say it’s made things worse.

Overall, Americans remain pessimistic about the war. Just 34 percent think things are going well for the U.S. in Iraq, while 63 percent say things are going badly – about the same as before the president’s speech.

But what say the Talking Dogs of the Beltway Elite?


Most absurdly of all, Dean Broder — just weeks after the President announced he would escalate the war in Iraq despite overwhelming public opposition — wrote in the same column: “With the public eager for some bipartisan progress on all these fronts, Bush is signaling that he, at least, is ready to try.” The press corps has the Dean they deserve. The reason they are endlessly wrong is because their whole narrative is an insular Beltway narrative that could not have anything less to do with the country as a whole.

In their world, the Republicans are always ascendant, Bush is always the Strong Leader, Democrats are always the sorry losers captive to their destructive Leftist extremists, and Americans are aching to support the War. They have been predicting endlessly that, any day now, all of this will be true again.

They actually thought that a newspaper ad was going to transform deeply entrenched views about the Republicans and the War because their friends Ed Gillispie and Tony Snow and Sean Hannity told them it would. The Rise of Petraeus the Good and the unmasking of the Evil MoveOn Left was going to change everything, back to its rightful place. It changed nothing, including the media itself, which will seize on some other event a few weeks from now to declare yet again the latest surging comeback for the President, the war and the right-wing faction which has followed him.

But hey, in Conservative Woof-Woof Land, somehow we’re the “fascists” for criticizing Democrats (and their spouses) who continue mouth Right Wing talking points that demonize the majority of Americans and undermine the anti-war effort. Fucking get it right, people.

At this point I’m starting to believe that the Democrats deserve to get their noses bloodied and lips split by partisan brawlers from the other side of the aisle. As long as they keep getting led around by the Right-Wing Noise Machine, uncritically parroting the kind of things that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh get paid big bucks to say (and doing it for free), well, who the hell needs ’em?

DC Democrats, you can abandon the Netroots if you want, but bear in mind that you’ll be bidding farewell to the fund-raising power we have. Never mind that we’re right and that ending the war in as swift and decisive a manner as possible is The Right Thing to Do. Let me speak in a language that you people understand:

Throw the Netroots under the bus, and you’ll lose access to oceans and oceans of sweet, green money. You may as well kiss it goodbye. We don’t have any problem re-routing those contributions to primary challengers. And given the attitude of the public right now, it won’t take much persuading to convince them to throw you all out like yesterday’s trash.

Am I making myself clear?


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TRex is a 60-million-year-old theropod who enjoys terrorizing trailer parks, stomping his enemies, and eating things that get in his way or annoy him. He is single and looking for a new boyfriend. He's 60 feet tall, green, with delicate forelimbs, large, sharp teeth, and a lengthy tail. Turn-ons include political activism, bashing conservatives, and volcanoes. Turn-offs are vegetarians, right-wing blogs, and killer asteroids.