Why are conservatives and Republicans enamored with George W. Bush?

With the release of his new book, Decision Points, many conservatives and Republicans are making a big deal over George W. Bush’s return from political exile. While I understand that they may be looking at Barack Obama’s presidency, where we’ve seen out of control spending and the Constitution often ignored. It doesn’t make much sense to look back longingly at Bush, who spent like a drunken sailor and treated the Constitution and Bill of Rights like an afterthought.

While I’m not a fan of Michelle Malkin, she is cautioning Republicans not to get too nostalgistic over the return of the Big Spender from Crawford:

The problem, of course, is that Bush nostalgia is indelibly marred by his disastrous domestic policy legacy of big government, big spending, and betrayal of core fiscal principles — the very impetus for the Tea Party movement upon which he now heaps glowing praise.

Take yourselves back to 2007. The headline on my blog on December 3, 2007:

Hillary and Bush agree: Government should bail out homeowners.

Infirmityville Horror

Mary Katharine Ham brings us the “Infirmityville Horror,” the tried and true tactic of scaring seniors into believing that Republicans will take away their Social Security (even though they won’t because they’re a bunch of pansies).

Quote of the Day: Don’t misjudge this victory

“Please don’t misjudge the reason for your coming victories. The Tea Party common folk understand the two-party system. If you let us down this time, we’ll remake the two-party system in the image of real conservatives verses the liberal-progressives.- James Michael Pratt, on Republicans’ likely electoral victory

Note to President Obama: We only fear you

President Obama, who was supposedly the best communicator since the late President Ronald Reagan, has shown that not only can he not communicate effectively, but he doesn’t even understand what he needs to communicate. In recent comments reported by Politico, the president claimed that because people are scared, they’re not embracing his policies.

From Politico:

“Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared,” Obama said Saturday evening in remarks at a small Democratic fundraiser Saturday evening. “And the country’s scared.”

Obama told the several dozen donors that he was offering them his “view from the Oval Office.” He faulted the economic downturn for Americans’ inability to “think clearly” and said the burden is on Democrats “to break through the fear and the frustration people are feeling.”

“You can respond in a couple of ways to a trauma like this,” Obama said, referring to the economy. “One is to pull back, retrench and respond to your fears by pushing away challenges, looking backwards. Another is to say we can meet these challenges and we are going to move forward. And that’s what this election is about.”

What President Obama misses is that it’s not an inability to “break through the fear and the frustration” that is the root of his problems, but that he is ignoring that same fear and frustration. He sees it as an obstacle that must be overcome, rather than as a result of his agenda not being what many people thought they were getting. He believes that fear is making it impossible for people to see how great his policies are, but people are more afraid of those policies than anything else.

Republican Congressman: GOP Is Getting A Second Chance, But We Don’t Deserve It

California Republican Tom McClintock isn’t among those who believes that his party has learned their lesson yet:

Speaking at an event last week in Orange County, CA, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said he expected big gains for his party at this year’s election, but said he worried that Republicans would squander the victory, as they had in the past, by nominating a slew of “bad candidates” and having a lackluster commitment to conservative principles:

The American people are about to give Republicans a second chance that we know we don’t deserve, that we haven’t earned. … The American people have every right, and every reason, to blame a Republican president and a Republican Congress for the mess that confronted the Obama administration on January 20, 2009 — let us be honest be about this.


McClintock — a tea party favorite with a strong libertarian streak — had particularly hash words for his party’s nominee for governor, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Asked about Whitman following his remarks, McClintock suggested she is not loyal to the “principles of the American Founders,” and said he agrees with her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown as much as he agrees with Whitman:

Orange You Glad We’re Not Democrats?

See Video

Even as a Republican, I had to find this pretty funny.

Generic congressional ballot narrows, GOP remains in the lead

You may have heard about a new poll conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post showing Democrats gaining ground on Republicans in the generic congressional ballot. Is this evidence that Democrats aren’t in as much trouble as we thought? Not necessarily, though things are certainly getting interesting. As Ed Morrissy points out, the poll has a flaw:

[H]ow did the Democrats manage this rather remarkable comeback?  Well, the WaPo/ABC pollster managed to find their usual sample gap.  They went from a 31/25/39 D/R/I split in September in the general sample and 31/26/37 among registered voters, to 33/23/29 in the general sample and 34/25/37 among registered voters.  That nine-point advantage to Democrats among RVs is almost twice what it was in the previous sample.

To believe that this represents the electorate, we would have to believe that (a) Democrats have had a big month in attracting voters to their banner, (b) Republicans somehow lost a bunch of voters in the same period, and (c) Democrats now have an advantage outstripping their 2008 situation when they won the presidency by seven points in the popular vote.  Not even their own poll supports any of those conclusions, and both Gallup and Rasmussen this year put the partisan ID split among the general population at between 1.5 and 3 points.

GOP Hypocrisy On Medicare

Let’s take a look at this ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee that’s running in West Virginia:

In case you missed it, Alex Knepper points out the problem with this ad:

“Manchin supports Barack Obama’s big government agenda…Manchin supported the government takeover of healthcare that cuts Medicare…”

The words “Government takeover of healthcare” are actually juxtaposed with “Cuts Medicare” on the screen.


Do these newfound entitlement-lovers think that these cuts were made because Nancy Pelosi enjoys watching old people suffer?

It reminds me of the protesters against ObamaCare that were showing up at Town Hall’s in the Summer of 2009 saying that they opposed a government take over of health care because they didn’t want the government touching their Medicare, or the poll numbers showing that 25% of Republicans didn’t know that Medicare was a government program.

Campaigning against one government program by saying it will make cuts in another government program is not limited government, people.

Podcast: Discussing 2010 and the libertarian vote with David Boaz

In 2006, David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer, along with David Kirby published a study showing that libertarians make up around 13% of the electorate and are a large swing vote in any given election.

According to the study, libertarians voters preferred George W. Bush over Al Gore, 72 to 20 percent. But after a disasterous foreign policy, a war on civil liberties and spending on par with Lyndon Johnson, Bush’s support among libertarian voters dropped in 2004 to 59 percent to 38 percent over John Kerry.

A follow up to the study earlier this year showed that libertarians backed John McCain over Barack Obama, 71 to 27 percent, showing a skepticism of his agenda.

In this podcast, David Boaz and I discuss the libertarian vote, the tea party movement and how they will impact the 2010 mid-term election.

You can download the podcast here (16:20/14.9MB).

Democrats Close Gap in Generic Ballot

In just one week the Democrats have closed a ten point gap on a generic ballot according to a Gallup Poll released yesterday:

The latest Gallup update on 2010 voting preferences marks the first time in over a month at which Republicans have not held an advantage among registered voters on Gallup’s weekly generic ballot update. This shift, coupled with the fact that Democrats led on the measure earlier in the summer, shows that voter sentiments are not immune to change. Hoping to prove this, Democrats from the president on down are gearing up to maximize their chances of keeping party control of the House, just as voter attention to the campaign is increasing after the Labor Day weekend.

While the Republicans are seemingly distracted by rabbit holes, as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour called it, they have not seized the opportunity to clearly set an agenda to deal with the number one issue facing the American Voter this year; jobs, jobs, jobs.

Hoping to win by default just isn’t going to cut it.  And playing on biases and cultural differences to score cheap political points will only work for so long.  It is time for the Republicans to clearly articulate a plan for economic recovery.

Perhaps this poll can serve as the wakeup call the Republicans so desperately need. If they choose to stay on the path they are on, their wins will not be as great as they could be.

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