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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Thursday, June 10, 2004

 

Desperation http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2004_06_06.php#003055

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, June 10, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
President Bush's campaign staffers believe that pushing their own guy isn't a particularly good political strategy and that bashing Kerry or grasping on to Reagan nostalgia is far preferable?

Now to a related point. I've got a number of notes from people (few of them Bush supporters in the first case, of course) who are outraged by the Bush campaign's unabashed exploitation of Reagan's passing as part of their reelection campaign effort --- the morphing of the Bush website into the Reagan tribute website being a key example.

Yes, it's crass and cynical. But it's also a tad desperate.


Josh Marshall's analysis here is quite cogent - Bush's problem is that he is a weak leader. There's simply nothing that his supporters can point to to make a case to the undecided moderate - it's a purely base-driven campaign, to whom adoring photos of Bush with halos around his head and Reagan-worship are simply red meat.

Case in point - allowing his foreign policy to be dictated by the very group of advisors who Reagan was wise enough to ignore. The neo-conservatives are now licking the wounds, having had their agenda nearly completely discredited:

Fourteen months ago, Kenneth Adelman was one of the prominent neoconservatives who took part in a now-storied victory celebration at the home of Vice President Dick Cheney that was described in Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack."

Since then, Adelman acknowledged, the group's influence has declined, because "Iraq didn't turn out to be as promising as it was billed."

Adelman, a former Reagan administration official, said that although he supported the rationale for the war, he was torn about what had happened since. "I still have to sort it all out. I'm just not settled yet," he said.

...."Bush could end up looking like the worst president since Jimmy Carter because of Iraq, and people are going to say, 'You got us into this mess,' " said one Washington source who considered himself a neoconservative and spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It's going to be nasty and bitter and brutal."


You almost have to feel sorry for Bush - a weak leader who bought into the plans and promises of these zealots - and when it all fell apart, is blamed by them for the failure of those policies. Well, Bush deserves blame, because the buck stops there (and Reagan was wise enough to steer clear - a fact to his immense credit that isn't mentioned on the Bush campaign website-shrine-diversion).

Bush is bleeding away any moderate support, leaving him only with his base. They alone cannot win him re-election.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.