Their Hero is Dead

Seeing how disastrous conservative policies have been over the last eight years*, it’s rather funny to see how far Republicans will run away from the specter of Bush. 

For the country as a whole, I think we saw to public mood towards Bush go negative in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  The conservatives still, desperately and hilariously illogically, defended the president — and they saw how much good that did them after the smackdown that was the 2006 Congressional elections.  

After this, conservatives finally recognized how screwed up the Bush administration was and started moving away from it.  I saw this movement prominently on display when I covered the 2007 CPAC conference for Raw Story.  The first panel discussion in the main ballroom feature conservative heavyweights Phyllis Schlafly and Richard Viguerie, who set the conference’s tone on how Bush would be regarded:

Bush has “made so many mistakes,” said the Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly.  “The war is a disaster and he flubbed the [immigration] issue.”

And the leading GOP contenders to succeed Bush? “They’re all equally unacceptable,” Schlafly said.  [tasnote: One button going around the conference said “No Rudy McRonmey” for President — just in case you’re wondering why McCain is trying to label Obama as Bush.  More on that later.]

Comparisons with the ultimate CPAC icon, Ronald Reagan, are, of course, inevitable in this crowd.  While Bush has never addressed the gathering, now in its 34th year, CPAC proudly posts on its Web site all the years that Reagan addressed the conference (12 times all told).  And as veteran activists recall, the Gipper did far more than give perfunctory after-dinner remarks.

“Reagan wasn’t just at the head table,” said a wistful Richard Viguerie, “he walked among us.” The direct mail guru said conservatives “are leaderless at this point in time.”

“They no longer look to Republican leaders, whether it’s President Bush or Republicans in Congress.”

With this conservative anti-Bush attitude in mind, let’s look at the latest talking point from the McCain campaign:

Swimming upstream, McCain policy advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin now argues that it is Senator Obama – not McCain – who wants to continue Bush’s fiscal policies. Obama’s budget “is dedicated to the recent Bush tradition of spending money on everything,” he said.

That’s a nice, steaming pile of BS right there.  To review, a McCain advisor claims that Obama will continue wrecking the economy with uncontrollable spending like Bush has.  And he delivers this statement with absolutely no irony despite the fact that McCain supports the biggest drain on the economy: Bush’s needless war in Iraq. 

Check out that Think Progress link for a bullet list of other Bush and McCain supported economic policies that I wouldn’t suspect to see in an Obama administration.  Separating Bush from McCain is laughable, but since even conservatives now agree that the Bush administration itself is laughable, expect more of this Obama is Bush crap for the next five months.  

They will also try to paint Obama as Bush by saying that Obama is too inexperienced and we need a president with more foreign policy and public service experience, yadda yadda BS yadda.  Their main point will be this: anybody not as experienced as McCain could be Bush!  Run for the hills!  And that’s a pretty flimsy point.  At least Obama doesn’t make up words and look like a fool 24/7.  Bush = inexperienced and inarticulate, while Obama is pretty damn intelligent and didn’t have to ride on his Daddy’s coattails to become president.  The differences between the two couldn’t be any more stark.  

All the Obama campaign really needs to do to deflect the Bush comparisons is remind everyone which candidate wants to continue “Bush’s War” for a hundred more years.  Iraq is Bush’s tragic legacy, and McCain should be shamed for wishing to continue it.  Last thing we need is four more years of McSame. 

* – To all the real rock-ribbed, red-blooded conservatives reading this: Yes, I know, I know you’re going to post a comment claiming that Dubya is not a true conservative; therefore my statement about conservative policies running this country for the past eight years is false.  So you’ll need a reminder that it’s your party which promoted him, and you guys who supported him.  That makes Bush a problem borne from conservative policy.  If you don’t like this fact, then, well..  Suck it.  Just suck it.

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