Bush's Approval Rating Increase On Homeland Security. Why?
A new poll from Newsweek finds that 55% of Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling homeland security.
The approval rating is up 11% from May. The big question is: why?
The poll was taken on Thursday and Friday, after British authorities foiled a plot to use chemical bombs to bring down as many as 10 airliners flying from Britain to the United States.
Are Americans confused about the U.S. roll in thwarting the plot? We had no role in monitoring or capturing the 23 plotters -- other than to push Britain to make the arrests now, vs. a week or so later, as Britain had wanted.
Maybe 55% of Americans said they were pleased with the Bush Administration because they were relieved that the country had escaped another Sept. 11-like tragedy. But if the average American knew that for seven months, the Department of Homeland Security had sat on technology that could detect liquid explosives, would they be as pleased?
It would be unfortunate if Americans, unaware of the details, made voting decisions based primarily on administration spin, such as that we're "fighting them there so you don't have to fight them here." The baseline for approval can't simply be that we haven't been struck again; it should be that we're confident our government is doing all it can.
We're not doing all we can. Not when we sit on technology rather than aggressively determine whether it can strengthen airport security. Not when the Transportation Security Agency in March went an incredible 0 for 21 in finding bomb-making materials snuck onto airplanes by the GAO, it would be less likely to endorse the administration. Now when DHS consistently misses deadlines for such things as determining gameplans for deploying bomb-detection machines at airports, they'd have a different opinion of the administration.
Over the past few days, Bush and DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff have been front and center on the television, and maybe that gave Bush an artificial boost. Once the dust clears and people have a chance to consider the big picture, I'm guessing Bush's approval rating will drop again.