Bush fighting a two-front war

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 23, 2003

President Bush has his work cut out for him in the week ahead.

While it appears Saddam Hussein and pending war with Iraq weigh most heavily on the president’s mind, it’s the economy about which most Americans are concerned.

According to a new poll released Thursday by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, the public is skeptical about whether President Bush’s new economic stimulus plan will do much to help grow the economy.

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Their concern is not unwarranted.

It’s consumer spending – specifically middle class consumer spending – that is the driving force in our nation’s economy. The president’s plan will put no additional money in middle class pockets in the short-term, and likely little if any in the long-term.

Consequently, several other recent polls have shown the president’s job approval rating slipping at a fast pace. Thursday’s poll showed his approval at 54 percent, down from 62 percent a month ago. Other polls show the rating slipping into the low 50s as well.

In addition to problems on the homefront, the president also faces trouble on the international scene in terms of rallying support for his plans to invade Iraq.

While the world claims the onus is on the U.S. and U.N. inspectors to provide proof of Saddam’s Shenanigans, administration officials claim the ball is in Saddam’s court to prove that he is in compliance with U.N. guidelines. Officials have undertaken an aggressive public relations offensive to win world opinion.

National Security advisor Condoleeza Rice outlined the case for war against Saddam Thursday in the New York Times. She convincingly demonstrates how Saddam’s every action and inaction regarding inspections are contradictory to any real intention to disarm.

Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday lashed out at European critics of plans for war and began plotting strategy with the British to get the rest of Europe on Board.

The case against Iraq is strong and the failure of the UN to enforce its resolutions will be devastating to its future effectiveness.

The president, in effect, is fighting a war on two fronts to win support. But it’s a war that’s winnable. By presenting clear, strong evidence of Iraqi misdeeds, resistance to war can be effectively silenced. To regain confidence and support on the homefront, he needs to do more than pay lip service to the economic fears of average Americans. If in his state of the union address he does not outline specific proposals for such, his popularity and support is likely to continue to erode.