Jumping the shark for Jesus (continued)
: Glenn Reynolds gets it right today in his analysis of Bush’s falling polls:
Mickey Kaus refers to “the semi-mysterious slump of President Bush in the polls.”
I don’t think it’s much of a mystery, and I agree with Bush pollster Matthew Dowd that it has something to do with Terri Schiavo. (“The country’s generally unhappy, and maybe they think the Terri Schiavo case is taking away from things that Congress or Washington ought to be working on.”) Only it’s broader than that.
The Democrats’ weakness is that people worry that they’re the party of Jane Fonda. They tried — but failed miserably — to convince people otherwise in the last election.
The Republicans’ weakness is that people worry that they’re the party of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They tried, successfully, to convince people otherwise in the last election, but they’re now acting in ways that are giving those fears new life. Add to this the fact that the war is going well, weakening the national security glue that holds Bush’s coalition together, and a drop is natural: People who reluctantly backed Bush because Kerry was just unacceptable on national security are now seeing their worries about domestic issues as more credible.
I think it’s more than that religion is a distraction from the nation’s business. I think Americans get scared when they confront people who are too religious — especially when they do that on the other side of the church/state wall. This doesn’t mean the Democrats should be godless; they should just be religously moderate (read: sane). In the primaries, we will find odd and new coalitions among conservative Catholics and born-agains pushing the Repubicans further to the religious right. But in the general election, a religious mainstreamer can win over a fringer.
: What should Bush do? I’ll say it again: Concentrate on energy and health care. Oh, but of course, those are not easy issues for Republicans with big biz interests at stake. So the same advice goes for the Democrats: Concentrate on energy and health care.