April 29, 2010

A question

A question from a reader:
Q: if you were a Republican running against a conservative or moderate Dem – how much value do you think you’d get running not only against Obama, but Bush?  If the ad argued that the last, say, 4-6 years of BushObama rule has shown almost no differentiation between the high deficit spending, the wars and the bailouts – and you (the candidate) were the one to stand up and stay stop! – do you think that would be effective?  Forget the GOP leadership, and I don’t think we owe W much of anything.  A legit strategy or totally outrageous?  And do you think it would motivate the electorate, by saying – hey DC is broken, both parties offer little change in the status quo and I don’t believe either of what our leaders have offered since 2005?



dearieme said...

Why just Bush? Why not run against all three of the duds - Slick Willie, W and O.

Anonymous said...

The two things that Americans are maddest about, spending and illegal aliens, are the two things both BushObama have wrong. Illegal aliens contributed to 9/11, the housing crash, collapsing social safety net, state budgets devastated by medicare/prisons/education of illegals, the deficit, etc.

So running against BushObama is the perfect strategy.

70% of the country is pissed about spending and illegals.

Anonymous said...

A few years back I was reading the paper, Howard Dean was saying the Democrats were the party of fiscal responsibility. Now, politicians say a lot of dumb stuff, but that's pretty dumb. No, the Democrats are *not* the party of fiscal responsibility. They are the party of passing out fistfuls of cash to whoever will vote for you.

And the thought popped into my head- Bush is a conservative Democrat. Whatever you may call him, or whatever he may call himself that is what his policies amounted to. As was Tom DeLay, whose faction were all Democrats 20 years ago.

There is nothing left that dignifies the name of the Republican Party. Telling David Frum to take his ball and go home is not nearly enough. Actual officeholders need to be given the heave-ho before the last embers die.

ben g said...

Wouldn't work because Republican Americans support Bush and an interventionist military policy abroad.

Anonymous said...

Good idea. Some other good slogans: "[name]: S/he's as conservative with the spilling of our soldiers' blood as s/he is with the spending of our taxpayers' money."
"[name]: Because there's nothing conservative about occupying other peoples' countries."
"If you liked Iraq, you'll love Darfur!"

Fred said...

The problem with running against spending is that everyone is against it in the abstract and for it in the particular, when they benefit from it. And most of America is on the dole, one way or another. It's one thing to rage against the profligacy of Bush and Obama, but it's another to run on raising granny's Medicare premiums and cutting her Social Security.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Carter sort of tried that approach in 1976. The problem is an effective electoral coalition doesn't always make for a good governing coalition. As a result, you might not get much done...unless, that's what you want.

l said...

It would make more sense than trying to defend Bush's f-ups.

Geoff Matthews said...

I think this is the horse that Glen Beck has been riding, and it hasn't seemed to hurt him.

Here in Utah, Bob Bennett is going to lose his Senate seat because he was a Bush republican.

Whiskey said...

Run against Bush and you endorse Obama. No one is more anti-Bush than Obama.

So its a stupid strategy. While Bush was bad, Obama's opposition to stuff like some limits on Government take-overs of things, AA, Iran, and so on.

After all, Obama is the King of the Anti-Bush folks, and the Dems are running on ... being against Bush.

Smart move is to argue that Bush is not President, Obama is, and if you don't like what Obama is doing and his results on the economy and everything else, vote Rep.

Anonymous said...

Little value.

Americans don't like rehashing the past. It doesn't take long for the past to become past.

People who voted for Bush don't like being reminded they screwed up.

You'd want to focus on Obama and maybe throw out the Bush thing every now and again.

Better yet, focus on Congress.

Christopher Paul said...

Run against The One and leave Bush out of it. On the things that really matter in the long run, like nominating conservative judges, Bush was spot on. Why muddy the waters needlessly? Because Bush spent too much money (like every president) and didn't grasp HBD?

Focus on the clear and present danger, not the last war.

rast said...

As a vote-seeking strategy, it's terrible. Too bad. It's something most GOP voters need to hear, but aren't willing to listen to.

TCO said...

It's too mixed a message, I fear except for those already well defined like Rand and Ron Paul. I think Palin screwed herself with suppporting the bailouts and pretty much everything Bush and McCain. And a random Repuke is screwed as well. Bush has really muddled things and Rove traded the future of the party and conservative movement for a few minutes of power.

think the only way forward is for the party to suck it up, excise the RINOs, become a 30-40% party in both houses for a while. And let enought time go by. A decent conservative message can still win, especially when the Demos screw up or with some ad hoc RINOs. But for now...some wandering in the wilderness would be best.

adfafadfsdfs said...

GOP can't do this because it'll mean 8 yrs of Bush was shit, so why should the GOP be trusted again?

But the conservative media should do this over and over and over. Say Bush was for big government, and Obama is for even bigger government.

Anyway, the politician should try to come across as lofty and leave mudslinging to the underlings and media.
Obama is an anti-American leftist but he kept himself above the fray while having his friends in media and politics sling all the mud.

A politician must come to battle with a pail of mud but others must sling it while he himself acts like he's above all that partisan stuff.

adfafafdafd said...

In our media crazy nation, we need three things in a leader.

1. Good voice.
2. Height.
3. Solid stare.

Obama had the voice, the height, and the stare.

adfasfasfasf said...

A politician needs the look of danger and likable charm. 007, that's the magic.

Maybe GOP should set up an acting school for politicians, Hollywood factory style.

Pinchbeck said...

That approach would not work. You would get the same treatment as Ron Paul got when he tried almost the approach you suggest.

The "mainstream" media would only show you if they got images of you picking your teeth or something, you would be labeled "non competitive" and that status would be assured by disinviting you from all "debates" and "forums," you would never be quoted, but ridiculous or hateful stuff you never said would be attributed to you frequently by talking heads who would explain what an insane racist and sexist bumpkin you are, and their bosses would refuse to run your political ads-- they learned their lesson during the Ross Perot debacle.

Anonymous said...

Run on policies that make sense. Be for your ideas, not against any particular personalities.

1. Immigration enforcement, moratorium until unemployment is ended, greatly reduced levels of legal immigration after jobs recover. Less people = higher wages and lower housing costs.
2. Non-Interventionist foreign policy. War on Al-Qaeda, peace and trade with everyone else. If your opponent wants to preserve $3billion/year aid to Israel, point out that hundreds of US counties have a lower GDP/capita than Israel. Why should we be taxed to support those more fortunate than ourselves?

A noted political thinker, in a similar vein, has been known to advocate "citizenist" thinking and an end to a policy of "invade the world, invite the world"

Mr. Anon said...

Sounds like a good idea to me. The Republicans will have to persuade me that they see the need to repudiate Bush's disastrous eight years in order to win my support.

And running againt your own party worked for Clinton, whose campaign in 92' was an implicit repudiation of Mondale and Dukakis.

But not just Bush - throw in Graham, McCain, Specter, Cheney, and the rest of 'em.

Mr. Anon said...

"Christopher Paul said...

Run against The One and leave Bush out of it. On the things that really matter in the long run, like nominating conservative judges, Bush was spot on."

Remember Harriet Myers?

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

how much value do you think you’d get running not only against Obama, but Bush?

I know I'm NOT an expert, but there are few things I feel more certain about than: 1) Bush was an absolute fragging disaster for America and the GOP, and that 2) any Republican candidate who criticized him directly would be making a great big huge fragging mistake.

Attack Bush and you attack the man who was the GOP's standard-bearer for 8 years. Attack Bush and you attack a man two-thirds of (a shrunken) GOP still approved of in December 2008.

Republicans are nothing if not loyal. They're conservatives - duh. Nip at the margins. Point out a few ways in which the GOP - the GOP, not Bush - went astray during the Bush Era, but don't attack the man. Maybe criticize a few marginal figures like Dick Armey.

That said - and I just realized you were talking about a general and not a primary election - I might attack him if you're in a district that traditionally leans a little liberal, in the right venues (realizing that in the modern era everything said anywhere gets replayed everywhere). But still be careful.

Here in Utah, Bob Bennett is going to lose his Senate seat because he was a Bush republican.

I've been watching that race, Geoff, and I have a few cousins in Utah, and it seems to me that the big difference is that...Bennett is not Bush. Bush was the standard-bearer. That brings a lot of loyalty with it. Bennett appears to actually be trailing not one but two of his convention opponents.

This week Arizona passed an awesome law. Next week Great Britain will toss out Labour. Two days after that Utah will can Bennett.

Ah, the salad days are here...

Christopher Paul said...

Mr. Anon said...

Remember Harriet Myers?

I do. Not sure what your point is.

Anonymous said...

The folks now known as neo-conservatives used to be called "Scoop Jackson Democrats".

Mr. Anon said...

"Christopher Paul said...

Mr. Anon said...

Remember Harriet Myers?

I do. Not sure what your point is."

She was Bush's first pick for the Supreme Court. A precious supreme court slot opened up, and she is the person that Bush thought would be best to put in there - another (at best) Sandra Day O'Connor liberal Republican. He was forced to dump her due to opposition from conservatives.

Bush only ever did anything right when he was relentlessly hounded by his own side. If he's your guy, he's already supposed to side with his own side.

Bush was (is) a stupid smug little jerk.

Aaron B. said...

I don't think you have to go after Bush preemptively, like you're trying to play the two parties against each other. That automatically makes you a third-party kook in many people's eyes. But you do have to be prepared to criticize Bush when asked about policies where he was wrong. After all, the voters just rejected him (by rejecting his successor) less than two years ago, and they're going to want to know how you're not going to repeat his mistakes. For that matter, if you're going to go after irresponsible borrowing and spending, you're going to have to criticize all the politicians of the last 50 years.

Fred is right: people are irritated about spending in the abstract, but not when it comes to specifics. The Economist recently did a poll where 2/3 of the people said we should cut spending, but when asked what specific areas they would cut, the only thing that got more than 30% yea was foreign aid, which is less than 1% of the budget. Even notorious boondoggles like education and ag couldn't get more than 20% or so to want to cut them at all. So everyone wants to cut foreign aid and maybe one other program that doesn't affect them or any of their cousins.

That's not nearly enough to get someone elected. We may have passed the point where it's possible to shrink the size of government by normal political means, to where the only hope is to starve it down through economic disaster. Oh well, as Rahm says, never let a crisis go to waste.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the salad days are here...

I keep dreaming of a recall campaign for Miss Grahamnesty, but then I start thinking of who that kook Sanford might appoint as a replacement [which I imagine is precisely why the SC-GOP hasn't pursued the idea].

Christopher Paul said...

Mr. Anon,

Whatever you think of Bush the man, it's irrelevant in this quasi-parliamentary system we've become.

Because Bush was president, we have Roberts and Alito on the court and not the picks of a President Gore/Kerry/Edwards.

Think about it the next time one of these razor-thin rulings is handed down.