Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's Worse For Republicans-- The GOP Brand Or George W. Bush?


Today's Bush/McCain Albuquerque fundraiser for Darren White, another in a long line of really terrible Republican congressional candidate, has stirred up a great deal of speculation about how badly Bush hurts McCain and the GOP congressional hopefuls. McCain is doing all he can to limit TV cameras and photographers when he's anywhere near Bush. Most congressional candidates-- except non-serious ones who have no chance to win anyway-- have been asking Bush and Cheney to keep out of their districts for the rest of the year.

But on CNN today, the usually misinformed and fairly clueless far right propagandist Michael Medved thinks Bush will be a valuable commodity for GOP candidates come November. Let's hope they take his advice and invite Bush to campaign for them because this is just the beginning of what will be on voters' minds this fall. "[Bush's] support is going to be important to John McCain. One of the things that happens with every president ... [is] towards the end of your presidency, there tends to be sort of a wave of sympathy and support. And I think that's going to be true for President Bush, too."

Oh, sure-- and inflation spiraling out of control is sure to proven Medved's unfaltering brilliance. Of course Medved also claimed that his hero is no "John McSame" and his differences with Bush are "profound." McCain, who rarely bothers coming to the Senate, didn't oppose Bush on one single substantive issue when he did, in the last year. Of course today he did make a big fuss about breaking with Bush over... North Korea. He claims Bush is too much of a dove and he and his prospective Secretary of State, Holy Joe Lieberman, want to get tough with the nuclear-armed Koreans. And his pronounced record of dishonesty speaks for itself-- and loudly. Even a kook like Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn recognizes that the little game is over. Now Coburn recognizes that the GOP has an illness that's killing it and he's grappling with what to prescribe. Unfortunately, he's even sicker than the average GOP member of Congress and is mostly-- like 75%-- lost in his analysis:

As congressional Republicans contemplate the prospect of an electoral disaster this November, much is being written about the supposed soul-searching in the Republican Party. A more accurate description of our state is paralysis and denial.

Many Republicans are waiting for a consultant or party elder to come down from the mountain and, in Moses-like fashion, deliver an agenda and talking points on stone tablets. But the burning bush, so to speak, is delivering a blindingly simple message: Behave like Republicans.

Unfortunately, too many in our party are not yet ready to return to the path of limited government. Instead, we are being told our message must be deficient because, after all, we should be winning in certain areas just by being Republicans. Yet being a Republican isn't good enough anymore. Voters are tired of buying a GOP package and finding a big-government liberal agenda inside. What we need is not new advertising, but truth in advertising.

Becoming Republicans again will require us to come to grips with what has ailed our party – namely, the triumph of big-government Republicanism and failed experiments like the K Street Project and "compassionate conservatism." If the goal of the K Street Project was to earmark and fund raise our way to a filibuster-proof "governing" majority, the goal of "compassionate conservatism" was to spend our way to a governing majority.

The fruit of these efforts is not the hoped-for Republican governing majority, but the real prospect of a filibuster-proof Democrat majority in 2009. While the K Street Project decimated our brand as the party of reform and limited government, compassionate conservatism convinced the American people to elect the party that was truly skilled at activist government: the Democrats.

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