The backlash against Bush has long been brewing. Compassionate conservatism was a product of the moment when Bush began to run for president in the late 1990s. The congressional wing of the party had immolated itself in the government-shutdown fights and then the impeachment of Bill Clinton. A rebranding was in order, and Bush wanted to signal to general-election voters that they needn’t fear him.
Bush-style conservatism never really took with the broader party, although it gained acquiescence. The president usually gets his way with his congressional majority, so Bush could push through No Child Left Behind and the prescription-drug benefit. The war on terror and the Left’s hatred for him bonded conservatives to Bush whatever their misgivings. The nomination of John McCain — himself no down-the-line conservative — obscured the anti-Bush feeling.
Now, it’s in full flower and evident on all fronts, from spending and immigration to foreign policy, as Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns point out in Politico. Running on his message circa 1999, George W. Bush would be hard-pressed to gain traction in the current Republican party. Running on his record circa 2008 — the spending programs, the bailouts, the attempted amnesty and the two ongoing “hearts and minds” wars of counterinsurgency — he’d be booed from the stage. If Michele Bachmann didn’t drop-kick him off it first.
But Lowry then notes that we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The Bush Republican party had grown flaccid and deserved to be trounced and built anew. But Bush had two insights. He realized that the party had to win over the center as well as the right, and that unadulterated doctrine would appeal most only to the doctrinaire. If Rick Perry thinks the 10th Amendment is going to have cachet with voters worried about their jobs, their wages, and the value of their homes, he’s been spending too much time at Federalist Society seminars.
On top of everything else, compassionate conservatism reflected the prosperity of the 1990s. As a candidate, Bush sometimes seemed to forget that economic self-interest trumps all else. In this economy, Republicans would be suicidal ever to forget that. Even as he preaches the old-time religion, Perry in his proto–stump speech returns again and again to a highly practical theme: his success in fostering a pro-jobs environment in Texas. Republicans may feel no need to be “compassionate” in the Bush sense — defensively vouching for their own good intentions — but they need to connect their agenda to their solicitude for the livelihoods of voters.
The GOP should remember that the incredibly obtuse moronic Gore-bot threw out his almost insurmountable advantages in the 2000 election by NOT concentrating on the Clinton economic feat of no deficits and a thriving economy---though the deficit diminishment was forced on the big-spending Clinton by a Republican Congress & Senate. The second-term Obama, uninspiring though he may be, is not an obtuse fool like the Gore-bot. The lamestream MSM will react predictably, Lowry notes, by trying to tout GWB's record as POTUS, just as they touted John McCain as a possible GOP nominee in 2008 before trying to destroy him like the NYT did with a smutty innuendo about an affair with a woman named Iseman just after his nomination was assured. The Gray Lady is still a slut with nary a journalistic bone in her ancient body:
As the press clues into the new anti-Bush drift of the GOP, we can expect a revival in Bush’s reputation. He will be portrayed as more reasonable, more internationalist, and altogether more statesmanlike than his benighted compatriots. If only it were still the party of George W. Bush will be the lament. And it will make the party even more glad that it’s not.
GWB was a busted flsh, as was BJ Clinton & to a lesser extent GHWB before Clinton. Reagan was the ONLY authentic POTUS since Eisenhower and America's dearth of leadership has made our great country suffer in the era after the two greatest wars in human history.