Friday, May 16, 2008

Mississippi Loss: Who Should Take the Fall?


The Bush White House, faced with the series of losses from 2005 through '08, has long claimed the problem is Republicans on the Hill and running for office. They have scandals, bad personalities, don't stand for anything. That's why Republicans are losing: because they're losers.

All true enough!

But this week a House Republican said publicly what many say privately, that there is another truth. "Members and pundits . . . fail to understand the deep seated antipathy toward the president, the war, gas prices, the economy, foreclosures," said Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia in a 20-page memo to House GOP leaders.

Well, yah, sorta.

It is the height of irony that GWBush is being blasted, in a way. Think about it: we elect a "leader" (slim margins or thick) and he leads --spending money like a drunken sailor, aggrandizing the Federal Government, initiating Corn-A-Hole requirements, signing clearly questionable legislation (McPain-Feinie)...

And he gets blasted by a Lefty Republican like Davis.

Could Bush have changed the price of petroleum? Could Bush have eliminated the fraud and speculation driving the foreclosures? Be serious. Of course he couldn't have done that--at least, not single-handedly.

Rush Limbaugh and many others (Sykes, Sensenbrenner,) have hacked through the jungle and laid a nice roadway for a President who COULD have balanced the budget by spending less; who COULD have pushed back at Greenspan's monetary profligacy; who COULD have vetoed "No Child"; who COULD have better articulated an 'end game' for Iraq.

No, Ms. Noonan and Mr. Davis--it's not GWBush who should take the fall. Those who are culpable are the figures Ms. Noonan described earlier in her essay:

Most party leaders in Washington are stupid – detached, played out, stuck in the wisdom they learned when they were coming up, in '78 or '82 or '94. Whatever they learned then, they think pertains now. In politics especially, the first lesson sticks. For Richard Nixon, everything came back to Alger Hiss.

They are also – Hill leaders, lobbyists, party speakers – successful, well-connected, busy and rich. They never guessed, back in '86, how government would pay off! They didn't know they'd stay! They came to make a difference and wound up with their butts in the butter. But affluence detaches, and in time skews thinking. It gives you the illusion you're safe, and that everyone else is. A party can lose its gut this way.

Many are ambivalent, deep inside, about the decisions made the past seven years in the White House. But they've publicly supported it so long they think they . . . support it. They get confused. Late at night they toss and turn in the antique mahogany sleigh bed in the carpeted house in McLean and try to remember what it is they really do think, and what those thoughts imply.

One thinks of Hastert, Fred Barnes, Trent Lott...the folks who put the "stupid" in the Stupid Party.

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