"George Bush did not exist"
by Matt Stoller, Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 12:56:02 PM EST
Digby has an interesting catch on where the movement conservatives are going.
I've noticed something interesting among the family rightwingers lately: they have simply disappeared Bush and the Republican congress from their minds. It's the weirdest thing. You talk politics with them and they are already going on about how the Democrats are ruining the country with their big spending and high taxes. You ask about Bush and they look at you blankly and start talking about the Clintons.
Yup, that's about right. Here's Jon Henke, Mitch McConnell's new internet director, throwing Bush under the bus directly. Aside from Bush, McConnell is going to be the linchpin of power for the Republicans, since he's in charge of stopping legislation for Democrats (that's what the business lobbyists are saying, anyway). He'll be their leader and Congressional backstop, their Harry Reid from 2004-2006. So when Henke writes his rules for what to do in the wake of losses, we ought to listen. Here are rules 3-7, written in the context of Republican Congressional leadership elections.
3 - Voters have already made it clear that they want to throw the bums out. If the Republican Congressional leaders don't follow suit, I don't believe the voters will be done bum-throwing.
4- John Boehner may not have been The Problem, but it's not at all clear that he's The Solution, either. Appearances matter. Image is everything.
5- Most of the issues over which the Republican Party lost their majority -- scandals, Iraq, the 6-year itch -- are transitory. The one thing that will remain a problem is the dissolution of the Republican "Brand": "the limited government Daddy Party".
6- To rebuild that Brand, the GOP must have new leadership that doesn't bear the blame for past transgressions.
7- The Republican leadership must treat President Bush like the Big Government, nanny-state abomination that he is.
Henke is smart and got an upfront view of the Allen debacle as Allen's blogger. Unlike most of the wingnutosphere, Henke is a genuine strategic thinker who understands the dynamics of internet politics and the game of modern communications. He's not inward looking and he gets that the right has to seriously invest and change their institutional framework to catch up to us. This is an excellent hire by McConnell, and it suggests he will be a very formidable leader.
As for Bush, he's in very serious trouble. The talking points for Republican/conservative survival have been handed down - Bush is a weak, and pathetic lame-duck. As the economy cracks, I wouldn't be surprised if Bush heads to 1973 Nixon-level popularity.