Funky USA Today has released a poll in which the American public is characterized as being in a funk. Are you in a funk? I'm not in a funk. Why does USA Today think we're in a funk? We don't know. What we do know is that they found someone to say that the results of the poll indicate that Americans are in fact in a funk. Which is not to say we're feeling funky, which would be something entirely different, yet more in line with the way I personally feel.
"On one hand, we have been lulled by the fact that there hasn't been an attack here since 2001," says Stephen Wayne, a political scientist at Georgetown University. "But on the other, we're generally in a funk about a lot of things — the economy and the war — and these numbers reflect it."
Despite this, the individuals being polled were not asked about the economy. In fact they weren't asked about "a lot of things" either. They were, however asked about the war and terrorism.
And what we learn is that
Fewer Americans fear a terrorist attack on the USA in the next several weeks than at any time since 9/11
Yes, but not significantly differently from last year.
Overall, 35% say another attack is likely soon, down from 39% in January
But up from the 34% who thought another attack was likely last August and the 30% who thought it was likely two years ago.
And I really like this next part
The public has lost confidence in the Bush administration's ability to protect the nation from terrorist attacks, the poll shows, but 61% are still confident it can.
Um, 61% of Americans are confident the Bush Administration can protect them from another terrorist attack, yet USA Today says America has lost confidence? Well, if you look at the numbers, it is true that fewer people are confident, but since most (65%) don't think it's likely to happen anyway, I guess it doesn't matter. I wonder what the response would have been if Gallup had asked if they had confidence that Democrats could protect them from future attacks. Senator Durbin. John Kerry.
Too bad they didn't ask, huh?
Anyway, I just don't get the funk remark. What is it about this poll that made this PoliSci Prof think we're in a funk (but not funky)?
It is true that the poll does reflect the new mantra that Americans are losing patience with the war in Iraq.
Thirty-nine percent of Americans, mostly Republicans, now say they favor the war in Iraq, down from a high of 72% in April 2003, the day after the statue of Saddam was pulled down in Baghdad.
But again, no one is asked about the consequences of abandoning Iraq and whether or not they think the consequences of that would be a good thing. I'd really like to see one poll that asked questions related to this. But I don't think most people are in a funk about Iraq. At least I don't know anyone who walks around feeling down because of Iraq. In fact, while it is a "thing" that's "out there", most people don't think much about it at all.
And I suspect that's a bigger problem then people being in a funk.
The biggest strategic problem America faces in the war against Terrorism is impatience. Of course without the press harping on it everyday, no one minded that we are still today in Germany. And remember when President Clinton told us we would be out of Bosnia in a year? News flash: We're still there. And strategically, the enemy knows very well that if they can just keep doing what they're doing long enough, and kill enough US Soldiers, the US will cave.
Sure, it was a whole lot easier to do when Clinton was President. But Bush will not be President forever, they know, and if they can just make it through his Presidency, who knows? Maybe they can eek out a victory after losing every battle.
Interestingly, despite everything
Fifty-eight percent say the United States should continue to operate the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and 52% approve of the way the United States is treating prisoners there.
Perhaps one reason why people feel safer with regards to a terrorist attack at home is because these folks are at Gitmo and not anywhere else. Someone tell Sen Durbin and Amnesty International. And 61% of Independents and 38% of the Democrats who responded approve of squirreling away terrorists at Gitmo.
I also found the "mostly Republican" remark interesting because according to the Gallup data, 40% of the Independents and 14% of Democrats who responded approve of the war in Iraq.
Anyway, if Americans are in fact in a funk, it;s more likely because they, and their sons and daughters, have been accused of being Nazi's and Stalinists by prominent politicians.
But more likely, they're just angry.
Sound of Silence Well it seems that the trips taken by Rep Tom DeLay, you know the ones that have Democrats in a tizzy, were approved by the House ethics committee. At least that's what's being claimed by the firm at the center of the controversy Preston Gates & Ellis (I wonder if that's Preston and Ellis Gates or if Ellis is just a name, like Madonna). And they say, they have proof.
Internal memorandums and e-mail messages from the Seattle firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, say that the firm contacted two lawyers on the House ethics committee in 1996, when it began organizing trips, and was told House rules allowed lobbyists to pay for a lawmaker's travel, as long as a client reimbursed the firm.
The memorandums and e-mail messages report that the ethics committee specifically addressed trips that the firm's chief lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, arranged for DeLay and other lawmakers to the Northern Mariana Islands, an American commonwealth in the Pacific that was among Abramoff's clients.
In 1997, a year after the firm's contact with the ethics committee, Abramoff arranged trips for DeLay to the Marianas and to Russia.
Rep DeLay, expectedly responded with "I told you so."
A while ago Republicans made concessions to Democrats that would allow Rep DeLay's situation to come before the ethics committee at the request of DeLay himself. But things did not proceed because Rep DeLay is tired of being a whipping boy and demanded that there be a broad based investigation into members who supposedly "broken" the very same rules of which Delay stands accused. Well, the mere suggestion brought things to a screeching halt.
DeLay's emerging strategy, other advisers said, is to argue that the ethics panel should not focus on him alone, but should conduct a broad investigation of members' compliance with travel rules, including the many Democrats who did not file required disclosure forms.
Democrats are hoping to gain political advantage from investigations into DeLay's activities and overseas travel and his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Yet, many Democratic lawmakers also benefited from Abramoff's political operations or took overseas trips that are now attracting media attention.
Certainly the allegations against Rep Delay are just that, while those against House Minority Leader Pelosi are more, um, substantial
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has resolved a number of allegations concerning contributions made and received by two affiliated committees, PAC to the Future and Team Majority, leadership PACs that are associated with Representative Nancy Pelosi (D ? CA). The FEC has entered into conciliation agreements with PAC to the Future and Team Majority, and & three campaigns that were recipients of excessive contributions.
I note that for the longest time you couldn't go a day without hearing the name of Tom DeLay from the mouths of various Democratic operatives. But once Republicans called the bluff and cleared the way for the hearings to convene, what do you hear?