Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bush: Clueless And Happy

Here's the link to a very interesting op-ed piece by Dan Froomkin from the Washington Post. He, along with Eugene Robinson, are two of my favorite contributors on the Washington Post web site.


Here's the first page:

President Bush last night delivered a buoyant campaign-style address to the 2008 Republican Governors Association Gala, once again raising the question of whether he has any idea what a drag he'll be on the Republican ticket.

Bush told big party donors that he is optimistic about the GOP's prospects -- as well as the verdict of history. "I don't know about you," he said, "but I'm confident we'll hold the White House in 2008. . . .

"Our ideas are those embraced by the American people. American people want strong national defense and they want the government to protect the people from further attack, and that's precisely what Republicans will give them. Americans want lower taxes and less government, and it's precisely what Republicans will give them. Americans want strong, principled leadership, and that is precisely what Republicans will give them.

"And so when I say I'm confident, I am so because I understand the mentality of the American people."

As for his own legacy, Bush said: "I believe 50 years from now, people will look back at this period of time, and say, thank God the United States of America did not lose its faith in the transformative power of liberty to bring the peace we want for our children and our grandchildren."

Does Bush not recognize what a mess he has created for his party? Is he unaware of the gulf between the "mentality of the American people" and his positions on the most important issues of the day? Americans overwhelmingly want to get out of Iraq and are overwhelmingly negative about his stewardship of the economy. Even on national security and the war on terror, traditionally winning issues for the GOP, Bush has driven the public into the arms of the Democrats.

Outwardly, Bush remains wildly upbeat -- see my Jan. 7 column, Bush's Messiah Complex. But inwardly? Who knows?

Who Likes Bush? Who's Like Bush?
Edwin Chen writes for Bloomberg: "Senator John McCain's battles with George W. Bush date back to the 2000 presidential campaign. That's a political strength these days, says Republican strategist John Feehery. If Democrats are able to portray a McCain presidency as a third Bush term, it would be a 'disaster,' Feehery said.

"One drawback for McCain: On three major issues -- Iraq, the economy and health care -- he has embraced Bush's unpopular policies.

"'Their positions are virtually indistinguishable,' said Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington research group. 'That makes him vulnerable to the charge that, 'If you liked President George Bush, you will love President John McCain.' . . .

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, the lowest blow seems to be calling your opponent Bush-like.

It's Still the War, Stupid
And Bush's war in Iraq will be a -- if not the -- defining issue of the 2008 election.

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