On the blog Think Progress it has been noted that Bush and his inner sanctum of neocon lackeys are predicting that this last year of his presidency will ultimately become his "legacy year", and that he will manage to leave office with an astounding 45% approval rating, up from the low 30's that has been his dwelling place for some time now.
Talk about setting the bar low, I mean thinking that 45% is somehow an awe inspiring achievement is like demanding a gold medal because you are really skilled at breathing oxygen on a regular basis. Personally, I am still waiting for my award of excellence for the mere fact that I show up to work everyday.
Lets put this in perspective and look at some other recent two term presidents and their approval rating towards the end of their final terms;
Bill Clinton - (Democrat, 2001) 65%
Ronald Reagan - (Republican, 1989) 64%
Dwight Eisenhower (Republican, 1961) 59%
Perhaps I have missed something. Maybe in terms of approval ratings "45 is the new 65". Are collective expectations really that low and so mired in discouragement and hopelessness that somehow Bush getting in the mid 40's is tantamount to a vindication of sorts for him?
My ever hopeful outlook would lead me to believe that no, this has more to do with the wishful thinking of a man who somewhere in the deeply hidden and rarely examined portion of his psyche must have at least some minuscule shred of knowledge regarding how disastrous his presidency has become. Admittedly, this may be a stretch.
Perhaps a suitable comparison would be like that disastrous semi-alcoholic middle aged uncle you have, still waiting for his "big break", thinking that the next big pyramid scheme he is involved in will be the vehicle to finally affirm his predestined greatness and show the rest of the family once and for all. Either way it involves one part desperation mixed with a heaping table spoon of cognitive dissonance thrown in for good measure.
So here you have it, my hope for this new year and for this fledgling new century is that once again we will raise the bar REALLY HIGH. Let's dream BIG, and expect nothing short of the highest standards possible from those we entrust with a great amount of power. We need to flip things around, making "65% the new 45%", and this is the bare minimum.