Dubai, according to the conventional wisdom, is a bust. The International Monetary Fund predicts that economic growth in the United Arab Emirates as a whole will be lower in 2009 than in the last five years; the Dubai government has borrowed billions of dollars from Abu Dhabi to bail out its banks; the government of the Indian state of Kerala reports over 500,000 return migrants from Dubai due to the crisis; property prices have dropped faster than anywhere else in the world; and hotel rates have been slashed in order to lure tourists.
It is possible, in reviewing opinion polls, to pinpoint the incident that swung a divided US electorate firmly and permanently against President George W. Bush. That occurrence was not Hurricane Katrina—two weeks after the storm hit New Orleans, a CBS News poll found the country remained split on “Bush’s response,” with 44 percent approving of Bush’s job performance and 48 percent disapproving. Nor was it his admission in late 2005, after a fall filled with dire news, that the Iraq war was not proceeding according to plan. By the end of that year, nearly all the pollsters had his numbers in the mid-40s (after a dip into the high 30s in October).