Other campus: Bush’s numbers in trouble (UCLA)

By Daily Bruin

(U-WIRE) LOS ANGELES – Today marks the one-year anniversary of the night President Bush won the re-election, capturing not only the necessary electoral votes, but the popular vote as well.

Bush, who won 51 percent of the popular vote and 286 electoral votes, pointed to those numbers as his reason for claiming a political mandate for his second term. But now, Bush has many more numbers associated with his administration.

The death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq reached 2,000 a week ago, and has since climbed to 2,024, according to the Department of Defense. While people look at that number as an ominous milestone, it is worth noting that 2,271 U.S. soldiers have been killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Earlier this year, the Bush administration sorely mishandled the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region, a disaster that killed at least 1,200 Americans and displaced over 1 million more. Estimates of the repair costs range from $70 to $130 billion, a bill the federal government has largely agreed to foot.

Then add one failed Supreme Court nomination, when Harriet Miers – a Bush confidant who was less-than-qualified to sit on the high court – withdrew from the running.

That came just before the first indictment of a Bush administration official. I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, resigned from his post Friday after being indicted under suspicion of perjury and obstruction of justice in an investigation into the leak of an undercover CIA operative’s name. More indictments could follow, adding further tallies to Bush’s growing woes.

All of these numbers add up to an approval rate hovering near the freezing point: 40 percent, the lowest of Bush’s time in the White House. Clearly, the idea of any sort of Bush “mandate” is gone.

This doesn’t necessarily mean his number is up. Bush still has three years in the Oval Office, and previous presidents, such as Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, have faced abysmal approval numbers in their second terms and found ways to rebound. But that isn’t a good excuse for why Bush has recently left Americans — on both sides of the political divide — with more questions than answers.

You don’t have to be a die-hard liberal to realize that not everything is as it should be in the White House.

As the future policy-makers of this country, the burden falls partly on us, the university students, to be a part of the change. Even students who are not aggravated into action now would do well to remember the president’s actions in the first year of his second term, so that when they run for political office – or maybe just check boxes on the ballot – they know what mistakes not to repeat.

Now is not the time for those who take issue with the Bush administration to stay quiet. If enough voices are raised, people will stand up and take notice.

Numbers can work in our favor, too.

Staff Editorial

Daily Bruin (UCLA)