Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bob Dole revisited

David Brooks looks at the Republican candidates and, most of the time, sees Bob Dole. If HRC’s negatives diminish--and he argues that they are going away--Republicans are in deep trouble unless "they reshape the battleground under everyone’s feet." Whatever that means.

Discussions - 9 Comments

We have to run against the Bush second term. We have to explain why Bush was a failure, we have to explain that he governed in many ways like a liberal, like a Democrat. We have to remind people that the legislation that most outraged them, was part and parcel of the Democrat agenda.

We have to brand his "compassionate conservatism" a fraudulent sellout to the Democrat leadership.

The American people are livid with Bush, and rightly so.

That means our party leadership had better damn well understand that anger, share that anger, properly direct and channel that anger. If they fail to do so, we'll get hammered in '08.

But if we try to delude ourselves that '06 was merely a kicked up version of the "six year itch," if we try to delude ourselves that the American people don't really detest Bush, if we try to delude ourselves that the American people are ready to embrace four more years of Bush style governance, then we'll get annihilated. Absolutely annihilated.

Our party has to repudiate Bush, root and branch. We have to repudiate the appointment of cronies. We have to repudiate the Arab narrative. We have to repudiate channeling American foreign policy through the UN. We have to repudiate a fraudulent and gimmick ridden energy policy. We have to repudiate big government, we have to repudiate the growth, the cancerous growth of that big government. We have to repudiate political correctness, in all its forms. We have to repudiate, in short, most things Bush. We have to apologize for a war effort that has heretofore failed. We have to apologize to the American people for allowing the Iranians and the Syrians to continue to kill and target Americans. We have to apologize for allowing the State Department to continue to be dominated by Arabists, EVEN AFTER 9/11. We have to apologize, AS A PARTY, for allowing Bush to get away with open borders policy, again, EVEN AFTER 9/11.

We have to apologize for Gonzales, we have to admit to the American people that Bush appointed him because he had the right colour skin. We have to apologize for Powell and Rice, who were also appointed because of their skin colour. We have to admit that Bush selected people not for talent, but for skin colour, for political correctness and on whether or not they were a "Bushie."

We have to admit that Bush screwed up Katrina royally. Yes, Nagin and Blanco were disasters too. But so what, the American people aren't focusing their anger at Nagin and Blanco, but at Bush. We have to admit that the clean up after Katrina, which is still ongoing, has been insufficient.

Bush has not governed like a conservative. He's been a disgrace to our party. This second term has been a disaster, a flat out disaster.

We have to admit it. We have to stop trying to defend him. We have to come clean with the American people. Only then we will find traction with the electorate.

Mostly true, and well-said. I think we can just leave Katrina alone. To apologize for it buys into the big-government narrative and undercuts our "federalism" issue. I also think Bush deserves some credit in addition to a great deal of blame, credit for his conservative actions and his character. Generally speaking, though, Dan and Newt Gingrich are right: Let's put the Bush era behind us.

The apology needn't be explicit. It just needs to be an issue where the current candidates SHARPLY distinguish themselves from the style, the policies of Bush and his administration.

It's still stunning how fast this administration fell off the tracks. This guy won a DECISIVE reelection. He was well positioned to be one of America's truly great Presidents. All he needed to do was completely neutralize the Iranians, pass a GENUINE energy bill, and govern consistent with the platform of the GOP. That was it. That's all he had to do. The rest, he could have left to his successors.

But instead he went out there and wasted time trying to pass some sham reform of Social Security. He wasted time by allowing the Europeans to take the lead with the Iranians, he wasted more time constantly begging the UN to do something, anything about the Iranians.

It was all so easy.
All he had to do was remain consistent with our platform. Which meant no Meirs, no Dubai Ports deals, no open borders policy, no politically correct comments about our enemies, about islam, no defense of inept cronies. It was all so simple.

Good God, they've screwed up so bad, so royally, we can't even describe it.

Don't get the Dole. I even think Dole's virtues of fiscal responsibility and prudence might play well now. There are some folks who want CHANGE in the sense of INSPIRATIONAL, TRANSFORMATIONAL rhetoric. But the truth is that more people feel insecure in the face of the perception that government is clueless and has been screwing up. A Republican will have to inspire CONFIDENCE, otherwise Hillary! will get the opportunity to be more competent.

Nice to see others flogging the beast. The clarity and accuracy and irrefutability of this position is so obvious that only a presidential candidate could resist. From a conservative perspective, an H. Clinton administration would be MORE of what Bush has wrought, with probably slow and drawn-out changes in practical policy where Iraq is concerned. This should be enough of a handle to shift the ground beneath her feet...and everyone else's as well. C'mon, guys. Repudiate this President: this is our last chance until it's too late.

To make his point, Brooks cites two "flashes", McKain and Romney.I just don't agree that these incidents should be given any great credence. If the GOP is serious about making a winning run in 2008, it had better become more practical. We can argue the purity of Republican and conservative principles all day long, but that's not going to persuade many,beyond the (shrinking) base, to vote Republican. Rudi Guiliani anyone? But I guess that's too much to ask of the purists. So we may as well get used to offering up our "ideals" to Hillary and eight years of pure socialism.

6: Instead of saying "we may as well," say "the purists are willing to accept the utter defeat of our ideals and eight years of pure socialism." Which is true.

Peter's right. The change has to be real, it can't be mere rhetoric. The fella to inspire that true confidence is Giuliani. If Giuliani made the Big Apple work, he has what it takes to handle Washington.

I'm more conservative than Giuliani. But I support him. I'm not about to make a fetish of political purity.

What I really don't understand though, is why no conservative got in the face of this President. That's what bothers me the most. That Bush screwed up was not wholly unexpected. BUT THAT THE PARTY should have failed, miserably failed to snap him the hell out of it, that's the truly troubling thing about this second term. Because it demonstrates that the problem isn't simply localized to Bush, to all things Bush and to his groupies, "the Bushies." What it tells us is that the problem is a cancerous growth within the Party, that somehow survived the many treatments meted out by Reagan and Gingrich.

There is indeed a sickness in the GOP, a lack of leadership that extends all the way down to the precinct level.

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