Somebody's Got a Bad Case of the Second-Term Bushitis

At National Journal, Ron Fournier lays out nine
analogues between George W. Bush’s generally disastrous second term
and Barack Obama’s. From the top:

Bush wasted no time plotting an expansive vision for his second
term, ordering speechwriters to produce an Inaugural Address that
made “ending tyranny in our world” official U.S. policy. His
domestic agenda included changes to Social Security, immigration,
the tax code, and court-clogging litigation rules. Obama unleashed
an aggressively liberal agenda in his second Inaugural Address,
promising to combat climate change, loosen immigration
restrictions, curb gun violence, and expand human and civil

Bush and Obama made the same mistake. Both men convinced
themselves that they were reelected because of their agendas,
rather than because of negative campaign strategies that
essentially disqualified their rivals—Democrat John Kerry and
Republican Mitt Romney. In fact, many of the issues claimed as
presidential mandates in 2005 and 2013 actually received relatively
little attention from the candidates and from the media in 2004 and

This is Fournier’s most-interesting point (IMO):

3. First-term success haunted the second
The increasingly unpopular Iraq war Was an
issue in 2004, even after Saddam Hussein’s capture, but Bush had
managed to finesse it for reelection. Obama’s white whale was the
Affordable Care Act. In both cases, luck ran out after Election
Day. The death toll rose in Iraq during Bush’s fifth year. For
Obama, the federal health insurance website didn’t work, and
millions of Americans lost their insurance policies despite his
promises to the contrary.

Both presidents deceived the public about their signature
policies, and their credibility crumbled. Insularity hurt both
teams. Vice President Dick Cheney famously said the Iraq insurgency
was in its “last throes.” Obama and his advisers characterized
catastrophic flaws with the ACA website as “glitches.”

Read the whole thing.

Of course, history doesn’t have to repeat itself but there’s a
lot of reasons to believe that Obama will start becoming less
relevant to his own party any second now, especially given that the
Dems need to figure out who will be their standard-bearer in 2016
and beyond.

For all the legitimate yapping about internecine battles within
the GOP, at least the Republicans have a pulse and a bench of
people jockeying for power, status, and the future of the party.
Where is the next generation of Democratic leaders? The
vice-president is not just a joke but at the twilight of a career;
Hilary Clinton represents a bridge to the past, not a superhighway
to the future. And that’s about it. There are no Democratic
governorns with much to tout and the congressional folks are with
ancient or invisible. In a Young Republicans poll of Millennials of
all political persuasions, the only name under-30 Dems tossed out
was Cory Booker, who is now a do-nothing senator from New

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.