Just when you think it can't get worse, President George W. Bush's job approval rating sinks even lower. A Gallup poll conducted last week put it at 25 percent -- his lowest ever and Gallup's second-lowest presidential approval rating in history.
Granted, both of Bush's elections were contentious at best, but it's still shocking that a man whom half the country voted for is now supported by only a quarter of the nation.
But that's not saying his low rating is without reason. As arguably one of the most controversial presidents in American history, his time in office has been marred with terrorist attacks, hurricanes, economic failure and two Middle Eastern wars with no end in sight.
Under his leadership, or lack thereof, our country has become more divided, frightened and pessimistic than ever, and the world's opinion of us has fallen to seemingly irreparable lows.
In the past few weeks, we have watched our economy fall to its knees, taking with it our future, security and confidence.
We need a leader to reassure us, and Bush has tried to fill that role by speaking in nationally televised addresses. It's a position he seems to be most comfortable with -- a national cheerleader of sorts.
Think back to the days following Sept. 11, 2001, when he rolled up his sleeves and climbed atop a pile of burning rubble in New York to comfort panicking Americans. That was perhaps the only time we doubted our distrust in him; even Al Gore's supporters thought there may be hope for the babbling Texan after all.
But we've learned more about our president since then, and we can only hope he has learned more about us, too. Americans may have grown comfortable with their tumultuous relationship with their stumbling leader, but Bush's low approval rating shows they're warming up to the idea of finally being more critical.
Americans want someone who doesn't just put an arm around their shoulders and feel their pain. We want someone who is forward-thinking, someone who admits when he is wrong and tells us what he will do to fix his mistake.
Bush leaves office in 98 days. After that, his legacy is in history's hands, and nothing he does will change how his presidency is remembered. But it's not over yet -- he has 98 days to do something worthwhile. We just hope he'll make use of his time and finally be the leader we need and deserve.