Why Bush is vulnerable

December 09, 1991|By The Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.)

EVENTS IN the past few months have dissipated the aura of invincibility that once surrounded George Bush, and Democratic presidential contenders from Massachusetts to California are leading the chorus for his ouster.

At this point, however, the president should be more concerned with the other voices that are joining that chorus -- those of the increasing number of Americans who have fallen prey to a faltering economy.

It's not that Bush, who just a few months ago was riding an unprecedented wave of popularity in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf war, hasn't provided other reasons to ponder his ability to win re-election next year. His flip-flops on affirmative action, lower credit card interest rates and extending unemployment benefits have illuminated his indecisiveness, and the arrogant antics of his abrasive chief of staff, John Sununu, have caused even some GOP loyalists to question Bush's command of domestic policy.

But the worst blows to Bush have been delivered by the recession, and by the accurate perceptions that the president is too timid in trying to spark the economy and too isolated from the problems of middle-class and young Americans. Those are the people who have suffered the worst damage from the recession and from the fallout of Reaganomics, and it's painfully obvious that Bush has no understanding of their plight.

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