January 25th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
7 years ago

Raw Politics: Tearing the other side down carries a price

 A group plans to spend $8.5 million in hopes of making sure the president's approval rating does not rise before he leaves the White House.
A group plans to spend $8.5 million in hopes of making sure the president's approval rating does not rise before he leaves the White House.

From CNN's Tom Foreman

(CNN)– Lily Tomlin had a great line. Actually, she had several, but the one I'm thinking of went something like this: "No matter how cynical you get, you just can't keep up."

I hear her saying it in my head every few days as I work here in Washington. I also hear voices telling me to make a baseball diamond in a cornfield, and occasionally I hear old radio shows through my fillings, but that's a different matter.

Anyway, Tomlin's words came to me again when I ran into this little item of Raw Politics. A liberal group is launching an $8.5 million campaign against President Bush. Mind you, he's not running for anything, but they are running against them anyway; trying to keep his approval rating from rising before his term in office ends.

The group is Americans United for Change, and their reasoning goes like this: Presidents often become more popular when they are closer to leaving office, and then they can influence congressional elections in favor of their party, and raise more money to fight the opposition, and yadda yadda. So this group wants to prevent that, by taking out ads saying the president has been a failure in pretty much all of his policies.

I understand the strategy. I know politics is a dirty business.

But wow. Is this what we've come to? Are we a nation where tearing the other side down, is so much more important than building your side up? Think of what could be accomplished with $8.5 million: in your neighborhood, at your kids' school, at a local clinic, shelter, or library. I'm not trying to be a sap about this. I know not every dollar can or will go to great ends, but the idea that so much would be raised just to make sure any president's legacy is doomed. And by the way, this president's legacy is in pretty rough shape as it is.

Lily was right. I'm trying to keep up. But it's hard.

What do you think: Should Americans United for Change go ahead with this plan?

CNN's Tom Foreman delivers the latest political news with a wry sense of a humor and no spin every weekday in his "Raw Politics" segment on "Anderson Cooper 360."


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