Tuesday, November 08, 2005

George W. Bush, doing for Republicans what Bill Clinton did for the Democrats...

Granted, I am a bit ticked off, what with the Democrats winning the VA Governor's race. And, as readers know, I've soured on Bush and am counting the days until January 2009.

But the parallels between Bush and Clinton are there.

Clinton came into office riding a wave of optimism on the part of the Democrats. Clinton's Dick-Morris designed triangulation strategy allowed him to play to both sides, retaining his support on the left while dampening the effects of attacks from the right. Clinton was going to do all kinds of great things while President: reform health care, build the bridge to the 21st century and all that. The GOP opposition was demoralized and confused, with some blaming Bush I, and in particular his breaking of his no-new-taxes pledge, for Clinton's win, while others blamed Perot siphoning votes from Bush.

But while Clinton was winning elections, his party wasn't doing so well. The GOP took control of Congress in 1994 and, despite some monumentally stupid strategic and tactical decisions (complaining about seating on Air Force One!), managed to hold to most of their gains throughout Clinton's two terms. As a result, Clinton pretty much accomplished nothing of what he set out to do.

The GOP also made inroads elsewhere in the country during Clinton's time as Clinton was unable to extend his personal success to benefit the Democrats as a whole.

But Clinton's biggest failure was his failure to ensure that the Democrats held on to the White House... which meant that the little Clinton was able to accomplish would be swept aside by the incoming GOP Administration.

Even Clinton's one 'accomplishment', the balancing of the federal budget, wouldn't survive past the first year of Bush II's time in office... which pretty much guaranteed that, despite Clinton's efforts at building himself a legacy, historians in the future are pretty much guaranteed to view his time in office much of nothing.

Bush also came into office convinced that he had found the secret to election success, his mantra of the 'compassionate conservative'. Granted, the GOP was able to pick up ground elsewhere in the country during the 2002 and 2004 elections, but that had more to do with the dynamics of which seats were open and some ineptitute on the part of the Democrats (nominating Kerry!).

But now the tide is turning. Virginia is a state that the GOP ought to be able to win in their sleep. Bush is so unpopular that Kilgore kept his distance from Bush as long as possible; Bush showing up in Virginia just the other day wasn't a show of force, it was desperation on Kilgore's part ('A' isn't working, 'B' isn't working, let's go to Plan Q).

And Bush is doing nothing to pave the way for the GOP to retain control of the White House in three more years. Cheney has proclaimed to have no interest in running for President, and in any event, is just as unpopular as is Bush. Despite what some GOP bloggers might think, nobody from the Bush Administration, and this includes Rice, will be able to carry the day (just as Gore was never able to distance himself from Clinton to the extent he needed to, so too will Rice be unable to distance herself from the unpopular Bush).

And aside from the fact that Senators don't have a great track record in winning Presidential elections, not a single GOP Senator will be able to win. They're simply damaged goods; they've supported Bush and won't be able to create distance.

So, while I am counting the days until Bush is gone, I'm also dreading having to suffer through four years of a Democrat holding the White House.

And Bush, like Clinton, will have nothing to show for his time in office... at least nothing to write home about. His tax cuts will be history within the first six months of 2009. Our troops will be out of Iraq by the same time... regardless of what is going on in that sandtrap of a country. Our anti-terror efforts will be cut back, as Democrats will always choose to be liked by our enemies over protecting our citizens.

Thanks, Mr. President. Thanks a lot.