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March 15, 2006

Coming Around to My Way of Thinking

An interesting datum from a new and largely disastrous new poll for President Bush:

President Bush's declining image also is reflected in the single-word descriptions people use to describe their impression of the president. Three years ago, positive one-word descriptions of Bush far outnumbered negative ones. Over the past two years, the positive-negative balance has been roughly equal. But the one-word characterizations have turned decidedly negative since last July.
Currently, 48% use a negative word to describe Bush compared with just 28% who use a positive term, and 10% who use neutral language.
The changing impressions of the president can best be viewed by tracking over time how often words come up in these top-of-the-mind associations. Until now, the most frequently offered word to describe the president was "honest," but this comes up far less often today than in the past. Other positive traits such as "integrity" are also cited less, and virtually no respondent used superlatives such as "excellent" or "great" ­ terms that came up fairly often in previous surveys.
The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.

I just want you all to remember that I was calling him incompetent before calling him incompetent was cool.

Posted by john at March 15, 2006 04:30 PM

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Martin Wagner | March 15, 2006 07:27 PM

And I was calling him "idiot" and "liar" back when he was governing my fine state.

John Scalzi | March 15, 2006 07:41 PM

You're kickin' it old school, Martin. Word up!

Scott | March 15, 2006 08:25 PM

I was calling him, "Auggh, shutupshutupshutUPSHUTUP!" all this time...

So I guess I'm still in the minority there.

Bob Westbrook | March 15, 2006 09:19 PM

It always feels good to know you have company. As I read this I was thinking about what words I would use to describe BUUsh. Idiot came first followed closely by liar. I am bummed I didn't come up with incompetent. Got to study that dictionary more

Jimmy | March 15, 2006 09:44 PM

I'd like to see a graph not of positive vs negative responses but printable vs unprintable, using the family newspaper standard. Although if you asked me in the mood I'm in I'd be tempted to go Shakespearian which would probably slip through. Fishmonger?

joshua corning | March 16, 2006 12:36 AM

First, when it happens that the administration is right, as it is in wanting Saddam removed at the earliest available opportunity, it blunders about being right in such a way that others would prefer to be wrong rather than to be in its company.

wow...you supported the invasion of Iraq?

I have only been reading your blog for a week or two and I have to say i did not expect that.

John Scalzi | March 16, 2006 12:49 AM

I am full of surprises, Joshua.

It is more accurate to say I did not oppose the invasion of Iraq, for reasons that had little to do with the Administration's reasons for wanting to invade. Also, I would have been perfectly content not to have invaded, provided we had actually put some spine into UN weapons inspections.

I wrote about all of it at the time, here.

John H | March 16, 2006 12:51 AM

I used to think of him as little more than a sock puppet, but that would suggest a blamelessness that I'm no longer willing to allow. At some point his willful ignorance became spiteful mendacity - he may still be a buffoon, but he should have to answer for the sins committed in his name.

doubt | March 16, 2006 01:07 AM

Martin -- you live in Texas? Somehow I figured you were somewhere else, but not really sure why.

Anyway, I had the misfortune of having both Bush AND Ashcroft as governors. How's that for luck? (I swear, I just can't escape, no matter where I move to.)

Soni | March 16, 2006 01:28 AM

Bush - great president or the greatest president? Discuss.

Ah...nothing like the smell of Colbert in the morning.

Burns! | March 16, 2006 03:09 AM

No, I'd call Bush an incompetant failure.

"Okay, I'll just put you down for 'great'."

Stephen | March 16, 2006 10:58 AM

I'd like to suggest a new word: foob.

Bobarino | March 16, 2006 02:39 PM

What's really fascinating to me is the way Bush's supporters are forced to use more and more generic terms to describe their hero, as more specific terms (e.g., honest) become tougher and tougher to say with a straight face. Note, for example, how the word "Christian" has moved up the list over the last year.

By the time the next poll comes out, I expect the word "biped" to make an appearance.

Anonymous | March 17, 2006 11:10 AM

Are you allowed two words? Reckless fool.

Jane | March 20, 2006 06:14 AM

There was an interesting piece in the UK Sunday Times yesterday with views on one possible reason for this incompetence. To quote
"Bush is not stupid. But his administration is reeling from one mishap to another. So let me proffer another explanation for the sometimes comically inept gang that cannot shoot straight, unless it’s at an elderly lawyer mistaken for a duck.
They’re tired. Not just tired, actually, but exhausted. They can barely keep their eyes open. They’re sleepwalking through their second term. And you cannot really blame them."

You can read the rest here

Note that might be an explanation but it isn't an excuse...

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