With his approval rating hovering around 30 percent, Vice President Cheney nevertheless went to Virginia yesterday to rally conservatives around the Bush administration. The Virginian-Pilot reports that he urged state Republican activists “to promote the Bush administration’s policies during campaigns for this fall’s presidential and congressional elections.” Some highlights from his speech:
On the economy: “Republicans believe that when Americans are facing tough times, the first thing we should do is let them keep more of their own money. That is why the President proposed and signed a stimulus package with immediate, direct relief to the American taxpayer.”
On energy: “Our administration has worked with the Congress and the private sector to try to increase the efficiency of cars and trucks, to promote alternative fuels.”
On Iraq: “The work goes on — and our strategy in Iraq, with a surge of operations that began more than a year ago, is succeeding. The only way to lose this fight is to quit.”
Cheney is grasping at his last straws. Although he said, “President Bush and I look forward to helping our candidates, up and down the ticket, throughout this very important election year,” it’s not clear that conservatives really want their help. Both Cheney and Bush have been raising less money and attracting smaller crowds than they used to.
There’s good reason for conservatives to reject Bush and Cheney’s advice. After all, 75 percent of the American public disapproves of how Bush is handling the economy. Twenty-three percent of the public blames Bush for high gas prices — putting him just behind the top culprit — oil companies, at 35 percent. And on Iraq, which Cheney also touted, 67 percent disapprove of the way the Bush administration is handling the war.