Bush hits 70% disapproval.

President Bush has hit a 70% disapproval rating, making him the most unpopular president in the history of polling. 53% of those polled believe that Sen. John McCain would move the nation in the same direction that Bush has. The folks who I know who still support Bush seem to do so impishly, figuring that if the whole world dislikes him so much, he must be doing something right.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

51 replies on “Bush hits 70% disapproval.”

  1. …which gives him an approval rating about 4 times higher than the Democrat-controlled Congress, which fell to a jaw-dropping 9 percent last week.

  2. Yeah, it’s easy to disapprove of Congress as a broad entity no matter who you are. Republicans disapprove of the Democratic leadership in the House while Democrats disapprove of Republican obstructionists in the Senate. Meanwhile, if you disapprove of the President, that’s a pretty narrow beam of contempt focused entirely on one person.

  3. that’s a pretty narrow beam of contempt focused entirely on one person.

    Yes, yes it certainly is.

  4. I predict that IF Iraq turns into something of a stable democracy in the next 5-10 years and IF it becomes clear that Bush, Paulson, et al bailed the country out of the credit crisis largely created (I believe) by B. Frank, C. Dodd, and B. Obama (the 3 pols who received the most campaign cash from Freddie and Fannie), THEN history will be pretty kind to GWB.

    GWB and his folks warned years ago and that creditworthiness was not a civil right but Frank and Dodd and F. Raines said there was no problem. What we’ve got now is the disaster of that policy.

    Debate should be good tonight. Interested to see if Palin can improve on her shaky interviews of late or if she’s eviscerated by old Joe B.

  5. What is appalling is that Bush’s disapproval rating is not higher still.

    Nixon, despite being involved in criminal activity, also did a lot of good things in office (opening up dialogue/relations with China, getting us out of Vietnam); Bush can’t really point to anything good he’s done in office.

    Also, the crimes Nixon is associated with killed no one. The crimes Bush continues to narrowly escape association with are mass murder.

    Unhappy until Bush’s disapproval numbers are greater than 90%.

  6. You would think that if Bush really wants this bailout bill to pass then he would just shut up about it. Every time he comes out and makes some speech to the country about it, this makes it even more awkward for anyone in Congress to vote for it. America hates George W. Bush and anything that he is in favor of, most of us will automatically reject.


    You are literally blaming the credit crisis on Barack Obama? Are you out of your mind? Just saying that someone got recent campaign contributions from employees of Freddic Mac is a pretty weak argument for them having *caused* the current meltdown. You’ve got a White House that has pushed through deregulation on Wall Street for 8 years and failed to even pretend to enforce the Sherman anti-trust act that should have prevented anything from becoming ‘too big to fail’, and this is the fault of *Barack Obama*?!

    You’re going to have to substantiate your accusation a little more. Either that or withdraw it.

    Also note that the real estate bubble built up starting around 2000 and then popped back in 2006. The sub-prime crisis hit us before Dodd or Frank were chairmen of their respective banking committees. Prior to 2006, Tom Delay was ruling the House with an iron fist. Barney Frank had no real input on any banking legislation until last year.

  7. I don’t have time to do your homework for you. Everything I wrote is true in my insignificant opinion. You can look it up. B. Frank poured cold water on the notion there was a problem with Fred/Fan just a few yrs ago and stonewalled GOP oversight/reform efforts.

    You guys need to read more than the HuffPo and Mother Jones. Hell, check out nro.com or listen to Rush in the car for 15 mins. It won’t kill you and you might learn something.

  8. Everything I wrote is true in my insignificant opinion.

    My accusations speak for themselves.

  9. And another thing…We conservatives endure 1,000 tiny little indignities every day that we mostly take in stride since we’re used to unfair treatment from the media. The latest is that debate moderator Gwen Ifill has a + book on B Obama coming out on freaking INAUGURATION DAY. She never disclosed it to the debate cmte, but obviously stands to profit if he’s elected. How many of you guys even knew about that? A quick look at Drudge’s front page would have illustrated the absurd truth of it in seconds, but you have to want to know both sides. Do you?

  10. > B. Frank poured cold water on the notion there was a problem with Fred/Fan just a few yrs ago and stonewalled GOP oversight/reform efforts.

    I’m not about to excuse Frank et al. for their 2004 actions, but the above assertion is a non sequitur.

    Those reform efforts were related to accounting/bookkeeping. The current global economic problem, however, is related to a systemic risk-management failure throughout our mortgage-underwriting system. Had Freddie Mac’s bookkeeping been perfectly clean in 2004, this risk-management failure would, in all likelihood, still have brought the system down.

  11. Will,

    So, I guess you don’t have any citations.

    (No, you don’t have to do my homework for me, but you certainly have to do your own.)

  12. Will,

    I don’t read something based on the label on it. I do not read something based on the name of the magazine or newspaper. I seek out and read the verifiable truth.

    The Gwen Ifill story has been all over the place, used as an excuse why she can’t do her job as a journalist and debate moderator. It is a ridiculous complaint.

    If the Republicans wish to cry over the situation they have found themselves in, they have only one person to blame really; the leader of their party, George W. Bush.

    Oh, and I definitely do not read Drudge. I value my independent choices of who to read, but that is not even faux-news. It is more like Perez Hilton does politics.

  13. Mark,

    C’mon, buddy. Are you telling me that if Brit Hume were the debate moderator tonight and he had a hagiography coming out he’d failed to mention titled “Era of McCain” or “Age of Pailin” set for pub on Inauguration Day that you and other libs would be just fine with that?

  14. Ben C.

    I don’t have time to play this game w/ you. I used to but not anynmore.

    Tell you what: I’ll appreciate it if you refrain from implying disengenuousness on my part b/c of lack of citations and I’ll extend you the same courtesy.

    If you post something interesting which I doubt the veracity of, I’ll look it up myself and vice versa. Deal?

  15. From the NYT Nine Years Ago to the Day: Sept 30, 1999…

    Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending


    Published: September 30, 1999

    In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

    The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

    Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

    [I’ve cut this off here—that’s surely about the limits of Fair Use. -Waldo]

  16. Will,
    Please do not ever use the phrases “listen to Rush” and “you might learn something” in the same sentence. Because, seriously.

  17. Gosh Will,

    That looks like to me to be a violation of copyright laws. Isn’t that a copyrighted piece from the NYT?

    As for your other smug foolishness, save it for the water cooler and your friends at the bowling alley. We insist on citation, because, as we all know, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    I do have evidence of your insistence that you are always right. I think you are a Republican.

  18. You guys have driven me to distraction. I fear I must retire to the downtown mall for a couple of whiskeys…nice ones! I might even stay long enough to take a cab home. Someone here owes me $30.

    I’ve never been a Republican. I prefer “conservative” if you must label me w/ a pretty wide Libertarian streak. Out.

  19. As I mentioned before, the now-YouTubed-to-death 2004 hearings referenced above were mostly a sideshow, hearings into matters such as possible accounting irregularities (e.g. intertemporal income shifting), which were financially *immaterial* in relation to this current crisis.

    The real show in 2004, however, was not a media event: it was an SEC meeting in which investment-banking brokerage-unit reserve requirements were effectively deregulated:


    The quiet deregulation of these reserve requirements by Cox et al. is what led to the overleveraging of much of the rest of our financial system, and the unwinding of that leverage is what’s causing the current liquidity pain.

  20. It’s a decent point you make. I just fundamentally disagree with you on what the “root cause” of this meltdown is. You think it’s Wall St and the GOP, and I think it’s the liberal grievance industry and the Dems. That’s why we’re gonna have an election in a month. In my view, it’s a choice between disaster and uncertainty, and I bet the people of America make the right choice.

  21. Will, I’m interested in the reasoning behind your assertion that Freddie Mac unilaterally managed to overleverage the global financial system in support of the “liberal grievance industry” and the Democratic party.

  22. “In my view, it’s a choice between disaster and uncertainty, and I bet the people of America make the right choice.”

    …so you’re betting on Obama to win?

  23. Zing.

    I don’t think the GOP is responsible per se for the lending crisis–I think the direct cause was the collapse in the sub-prime mortgage market, which took down the hedge funds that participate in that secondary mortgage market (Fannie and Freddie *do not* participate in sub-prime lending–more on that in a second). Once that caused people to doubt the housing market, the bubble burst, which allowed falling home prices to spill over into the mortgage market for the sort of home loans and Fannie and Freddie DO participate in.

    Here’s the thing about the NYT article you violated copyright regulations over, Will: the article wasn’t about lowering standards at Freddie and Fannie, it was about the Clinton administration’s concern that the subprime market was growing, particularly among lower-income buyers and minorities. Clinton responded by encouraging Freddie and Fannie to encourage approved lenders to make GSE-backed loans available to buyers who otherwise would be getting mortgages in the sub-prime market, drawing them into more-stable loans where, after a two-year probationary period if they made all of their monthly payments on time, the higher interest rates would be waived. That would allow GSE-approved lenders to increase the number of mortgages they’d be backing while decreasing the marketshare for the predatory sub-prime lenders.

    Fiscal conservatives call this sort of thing “competition.”

    In retrospect, I think Clinton should have coupled this with more-stringent regulations applied to sub-prime lenders and the secondary-mortgage market associated with these lenders–it was, after all, the sub-prime market’s collapse that brought down Bear Sterns and IndyMac before the mortgage crisis sparked the lending crisis that we find ourselves in now. The Bush administration and Republicans in Congress didn’t acknowledge a subprime crisis (John McCain said he was “surprised” by the crisis), while Democrats who wanted Freddie and Fannie to keep encouraging potential buyers out of the sub-prime market in some cases didn’t foresee how a collapse in the sub-prime market would spill over into a general credit crisis (neither did the Republicans, though, as they didn’t even see the first collapse coming).

  24. I just don’t know how else to read the following

    Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people…

    other than Clinton and his Dem allies in Congress forced the lowering of standards so Fan/Fred gave loans to people who weren’t credit-worthy thus precipitating a stampede by traditional banks to follow suit or find themselves left behind. This is the nut of the whole problem in my view. Of course, I could be wrong.

  25. Had deregulation of reserve requirements elsewhere not vastly expanded the market for mortgage-backed securities through overly-risky leverage, we would not have a systemic liquidity problem.

    And “…his Dem allies in Congress forced the lowering of standards…”?

    *Forced*? How so? The Republicans held a majority in both houses of Congress for 6 of the 8 years of Clinton’s presidency, from 1995 through the end of his administration.

  26. Just to jump in and get it on the record, this “Will” guy who’s popped up here is not me. (As if that weren’t already painfully obvious.) I’ll start using my full name around here just to distance myself from the Dittohead.

  27. Well I can see my good-faith effort at honest dialouge has gotten me nothing but snarky comments accusing me of being a dittohead and violating some esoteric copyright laws or some such.

    The hilarious thing about some of the people here is that you don’t realize how you’re your own worst enemy. It’s like Matt Damon or Babs Streisand out in hollywood – every time they open their mouths to put JM or SP down they shift like 1,000 or so votes into the GOP’s column.

    Likewise, the arrogance and condescension on display here is pretty breathtaking and is actually part of the reason Obama, like Gore and Kerry before him, will lose a month from now.

    Keep up the haughtiness and mockery and get ready for 4 years of McCain-Palin in the WH when you could have easily won this damn thing with Hillary.

    I’ll be back after the election for a brief I-told-you-so. Then maybe you guys can calm down early in ’09 and I’ll try this again.

  28. Will, in my case at least it got you a return good-faith effort at honest dialogue. I happen to be a near-lifetime Republican. I also happen to value competent governance, fiscal conservatism, and relatively limited government far above partisan politics.

    Unfortunately, neither party currently appears to share those same values with me, though the Republicans have been doing a much more cynical and disingenuous job of paying them lip-service lately.

  29. Will, I have to call “bullshit” on the idea that this was an attempt on your part at a good faith effort at honest dialogue. You found a NYT article off another blog–and I know you found it on another blog because the edits and emphasis points were all still in there, which wouldn’t have still been there if you’d just taken it directly off NYTimes.com. From there you focused on one incomplete sentence highlighted in your penultimate comment, divorced it from any context related to the history of the housing market and the subprime mortgage market, and warped it to say what you wanted it to say. At which point you got furious and indignant when other people (like me) came along and said, “well, I do think there’s some culpability from the Clinton administration as well as the Bush administration, but you’re misrepresenting the situation by ignoring the context of the rest of the article or the history of our national conversation about affordable housing.”

    Like how you misrepresented Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s role in the marketplace when you said (once again in your penultimate comment) that the two GSEs initiated a “stampede” among lending institutions by “[giving] loans to people who weren’t credit-worthy.” It’s an interesting hypothesis complicated by the fact that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae don’t issue any loans or mortgages to individuals. Rather, they buy mortgages from approved lenders to help those lenders convert long-term investments into capital that they can use to make more loans. All the other flaws in your argument tend to fall out of this basic misstatement of what the two institutions you label as the culprits actually do.

    I wouldn’t say this was bullshit, I’d say it’s a simple misunderstanding, except you earlier got uppity when Ben C. pointed out you weren’t doing your own homework. If you’re demonstrably misinformed, and won’t bother to undertake the effort to learn how and why, how was this ever intended to be an honest discussion in good faith?

  30. Wow. Sam with a nice rebuttal. Have to say I enjoy Will’s comments and I’m sure he’s having a good time to boot.

    Back to the original topic: Guns, religion, fear of foreigners and gays, those who love a GOP based on wedge issues. That’s who still likes Bush. It’s not Bush himself, it’s the ideologue.

  31. Yeah, when you’re proudly hating on the immigrants, homosexuals, uppity brown people, and effete liberals it must creep you out to share a table with a Connecticut-born, spoiled-ass trust fund Son of a Bush sporting a fake drawl and a show ranch. And when he parks your country in a quagmire, reduces your income, blows up Granny’s retirement fund, and can’t bother himself to round up bin Laden – you either fold or bluff. Bush is down to a table of born losers.

    But look, the Maverick has started a new game, same rules, higher stakes, better looking women.

  32. I find myself somewhat curious as to what Frank should have done “a few years ago,” since the Democrats were the minority party until last January, when he assumed a committee chairmanship.

  33. Sam, you should stop posting on this subject, and just watch the news or read some articles. You don’t understand it, but you’re trying like to sound like you do.

    Bottom line — the mortgage/credit crisis was caused by unqualified home buyers getting loans they never should have gotten, and by qualified home buyers buying more than they could afford. The lenders are to blame for giving the loans, and liberals in Congress — like Barney Frank and his ilk — are to blame for pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to encourage those types of loans. Those Democrats behaved the way they did because they wanted to make sure that EVERY American was able to buy a home

  34. As I understand it, Fannie and Freddie don’t lend. They buy the already lent loans from people who do. They aren’t directly responsible for the mess, but the people who gave the loans to the unqualified more than likely are. That way they could turn a fast buck, then sell the mortgages to someone else, and not be liable for the losses when they come around. Support for Americans being able to buy a home doesn’t mandate loaning money to people who can’t pay it back. That’s just silly to say.

    Apparently, some of you honestly think that the Democratic party (who couldn’t get jack done in the first six years of Bush’s administration since they were a minority and a weak one at that, then couldn’t accomplish jack the last 2 years because the Republican minority used the tactics to stall much of Congress that they cried foul about if the Democrats tried to use them during the previous six years) was magically able to thwart the best efforts of the poor, forward thinking Republicans during this time and put in place and defend the worst of lending practices because they got 100 grand from a couple of private companies who don’t actually lend money to home buyers.

    And by the way, those lists with Dodd at the top of the Fannie/Feddie money getting list ignore McCain’s acceptance of cash for his campaign in excess of Dodd’s.

  35. Sorry IP, but you don’t get it. Fannie and Freddie never had a hand in the lending selection or process. They bought mortgages and sold them as securities. They only bought approved loans. And guess who let the standards for loans degrade through deregulation? It’s clear that YOU don’t understand and are just looking for a way to pin this solely on Democrats.

  36. Uh, yup, Sam’s right, IP, you are partially correct to blame the Democrats, but not quite entirely correct. IRC § 121, to pick one of the more obvious sections of the Code that served as an incentive for people to start buying homes they couldn’t afford, passed the Republican Congress in 1997, during the Clinton administration.

    Of course, if we really wanted to go back and play the blame game, I seem to recall taking an economic history class (and one on the origins of the American Dream) that, if I had my book still or wasn’t, y’know, lazy, would help me prove what year the whole “American Dream = house + white picket fence” thing got started. Having yanked my final exam from my files, (which I got an A on, thankyouverymuch), it seems that housing is one of those terrific things, that, due to the ancillary and derived demand effects that flow from owning a home, stimulates the economy like mad. Which is really fun to watch after, say, a Depression and a World War. Really gets people’s juices flowing. It’s really fun to watch when you have some Americans who won’t say they think the Depression is never going to end/come back, but really do, and then see the economy explode into a sea of awesome.

    Now, housing is great, but you gotta get people to buy it. So, some smart marketing people with a little lobbying thrown in, managed to whip up this whole “House + white picket fence = American Dream” idea. Pretty easy, post-WWII- troops coming home, patriotism is high, kids everywhere, we’re kicking ass with the atomic bomb but starting to get concerned/interested in futuristic living/new technologies, living that whole 1950s Eisenhower era lifestyle… realters started promoting living in the suburbs as healthier, cleaner and “more American.” The truth? It was also a hella lot cheaper to buy land out there and build on it further from cities. Makes sense- even today, a lot of land in the middle of no where is cheaper than an apt in NYC.

    Anyways, (and I apologize for not being able/not being patient enough to source other than my memory of this class and my tax law classes… Take it with a grain of salt, if you must), from there, our tax code and other laws started pushing more towards having houses for everyone, which eventually spun us towards the whole deregulate the loan standards so more people can live the American Dream ™.

    I’m not saying blame Eisenhower or marketers or the Depression (although that would be a great paper to write and an even greater t-shirt…)- but I think it’s a mistake to say that this mess just arose out of nowhere during Clinton’s administration, or from loan deregulation alone. We set the seeds for this the minute we said everyone in America should aspire to own a home, and wrote our tax code so it was more beneficial to own a home, tax wise. Which, if I might again point out one recent example that’s on the top of my mind- IRC 121, which was passed in ’97 by the Republican Congress during a Democratic Executive administration. BOTH parties are to blame. And outside of politics, it’s all of us who let this “House = American Dream” meme spin out of control.

  37. So, this all has to do with Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac deciding loan terms and handing out loans to unqualified borrowers?

    It has nothing to do with the unregulated credit default swap market where companies would effectively sell insurance on debt they have no hopes of covering if it goes under?

    It has nothing to do with the ridiculous collateralized debt obligations making securities out of bad loans, where through shell games, those bad, terrible loans that Freddie and Fannie apparently originated get insured by AIG and then given AAA bond ratings?

    It has nothing to do with the fact that those ratings agencies weren’t evaluating the risk of these securities properly?

    Sorry, in your rush to blame Democrats, you’ve made a ludicrously simplistic argument. I can’t claim that Democrats are entirely blameless in all this, but to blame our problems on bad lending practices alone–not to mention to blame the Democrats for those practices–is to fundamentally misunderstand the function of markets to guard against risk.

    The short version: the bad loans were a problem, but the much, much bigger problem was that banks and investment firms placed bets on those loans they had no hope of covering if they lost, and we sat idly by, enjoying the upswing granted by that leverage.

  38. Ben C.: I dunno…Occam’s Razor says Barney Frank managed to crash the entire global economy. The other details are extraneous arm flaps that serve little purpose other than to dull the razor.

  39. I find it interesting that nobody here has yet mentioned that the current banking and liquidity crisis also exists in Europe, that it is being driven there largely by the collapse of real-estate bubbles local to Europe, and that U.S. government policy toward home-ownership had nothing at all to do with the regionalized European booms/busts.

  40. Honestly, Jeff, I assumed that it was driven partly by our bizarre credit problems and had no idea it was related to a similar housing problem in Europe.

    Got some reading to do, I guess.

  41. Here’s a fun one to mull: “Iceland’s GDP amounts to less than one-tenth of the total assets of its three biggest banks, all of which are in trouble.”

    (Background: banks carry outstanding loans due them as assets on their balance sheets.)

  42. Jeff Uphoff:

    It’s obviously Barney Frank’s doing. We’re just lucky he didn’t Tandava dance and end the world.

    Yes, that’s right. Barney Frank is secretly Shiva.

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