MoonDawg's Den: Is being pro-Bush a good strategy for Republicans?

MoonDawg's Den

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Is being pro-Bush a good strategy for Republicans?

I had a long drive this morning, and I listened to The Rachel Maddow Show on XM Radio. One of her guests was Bruce Bartlett, a former member of the Reagan White House, who was promoting his new book Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy. Written from a conservative point of view, Bartlett's book is a scathing attack of the Bush administration's economic and foreign policies (mostly economic). On Maddow's show he said that he wrote the book to warn conservatives that they need to seperate themselves from Bush or face dire political reprecussions. He also committed conservative blasphemy by saying that if Bill Clinton ran against George W. Bush in 2008, he would vote for Clinton.

So, is Bartlett right? Can conservatives win in 2006 and 2008 on pro-Bush platforms? Or, do they need to distance themselves from the President in order to win?

I say he's right. With waning popularity, the President has now become a political liability. But, don't believe me; believe Bartlett--he's a conservative.


GARRY REPLIES: I too heard Bartlett on the radio this week, on the Laura Ingraham show. I agreed with many of his criticisms on the administration's fiscal policy (during the interview he said his book does not address foreign policy at all), which he'd already laid out in an article based on his book that appeared earlier this year in the Cato Policy Report - especially the new Medicare drug entitlement, which he calls a "debacle".

The political questions are separate, however. How can Repubs in Congress distance themselves from Bush's budget excesses when many are themselves addicted to pork spending? Which Dems in Congress are going to stand up and demand that the new Medicare entitlement (or any other pork programs, for that matter), be cut back? Voters may grumble about out-of-control spending, but the grumbling turns to shrieks if you dare suggest cutting programs near & dear to their hearts. What Dem is going to suggest slashing entitlement programs? As disgraceful as the Repubs' spending record has been since 2002, they won't have much to fear on the issue if their opponents aren't going to call for meaningful spending restraint.


  • Garry--

    I think I got the foreign policy bit because Maddow and Bartlett talked about it, so I assumed some of that was in the book. He might have been singing a different tune to a liberal audience too.

    Anyway, spending restraint is one thing. I think that voters might have a "throw the bums out" mentality come November, regardless of who is running. The real issue is who is going to raise taxes to balance the budget (restraint is part of that, but we have to pay for the war too). Raising taxes is an evil thought in America, but I'm not sure we have another choice.

    I think Bush might have to do it before he leaves office; Bartlett thinks so too. Whoever does it will be comitting political suicide much like whoever cuts some of the near-and-dear programs like you are suggesting.


    By Blogger Jeff, At 5:33 PM, March 07, 2006  

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