November 8, 2004


The political genius of George W. Bush: Democrats have much to weigh as they look to 2008 (Carlos Watson, November 8, 2004, CNN)

Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an independent, it is hard not to look at President Bush's re-election victory last week and conclude that he is probably one of the three or four most talented politicians of the last half of a century.

Why do I write that? Think about it. In 10 short years, George Walker Bush has won not just one but three high-profile political races that most able politicians would have lost.

In 1994, with no real previous political experience, he beat a popular incumbent governor in the nation's second most populous state. Six years later, he beat a sitting vice president during a time of peace and prosperity. And last week, with a mediocre economy, an unpopular war and a well-funded and unified opposition, he not only won his race but also helped increase Republican majorities in the House and Senate. [...]

Instead of just crediting his family name or Rove, Bush's extraordinary political success is probably owed to at least five key things: (1) great political fundamentals, including an ability and willingness to raise large sums of money; (2) an ability to propose a clear, coherent and easily understandable policy agenda (e.g., "compassionate conservatism"); (3) an ability to attract, manage and retain a strong team of advisers (e.g., Rove, Ken Mehlman, Ed Gillespie, Karen Hughes, Matthew Dowd and others); (4) a willingness to go for the jugular -- repeatedly and without remorse (e.g., the "flip-flopper" label, gay marriage issue, South Carolina primary in 2000); and perhaps most important (5) a willingness to take a risk repeatedly (e.g., targeting Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle for defeat, offering a Social Security overhaul plan proposal, relying and counting on an evangelical turnout plan).

And not only added seats in both houses in the '02 midterm but is extremely likely to do so again in '06. The only president who even remotely compares to him in terms of realigning the electorate is FDR, but he had the benefit of the Great Depression--Mr. Bush has done all this after eight years of unprecedented peace and prosperity under a Democratic administration.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 8, 2004 4:57 PM

Liberals pretty much held their tounges during the Reagan funeral and didn't mention that they still thought the man was an idiot (though there was a rogue reference here and there to Alzheimer's during his presidency). Asking them to reassess Bush when so much of their own self-worth it tied up in claiming he's a moron controlled by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney is probably far too much to ask for in a span of less than six months.

Posted by: John at November 8, 2004 5:12 PM

And don't forget what W overcame in this win, as articulated by Ann Coulter on her website:

"The Democrats threw everything they had at this election. They ran a phony Vietnam War hero and a phony Southerner. They had middle-aged women executives at MTV hawking "Rock the Vote" to entice the most uninformed young people to vote for Kerry. They had Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and New York Times darling Eminem. They had documentaries, books, the universities, Hollywood (and the French!) on their side.

"They had liberal thugs ransacking Bush-Cheney headquarters, stealing Bush-Cheney signs and slashing the tires of Bush-Cheney get-out-the-vote vans on Election Day. [In Oregon, computers were stolen, and in the south, shots were fired through the window of a Bush-Cheney office]. In Colorado, they traded voter registrations for crack cocaine. In Ohio, they registered Mary Poppins and Dick Tracy. In South Carolina, Emily's List called Republican households and gave them incorrect information about the location of polling places.

"The media campaigned heavily for Kerry with endless Abu Ghraib coverage, phony National Guard documents and, days before the election, false news reports that hundreds of tons of munitions had been looted in Iraq.

"The Democrats' cheating never stopped. The big story of this election is the fraudulent exit polls on Election Day. Strange as it seems to me, it is well acknowledged that people are more likely to come out and vote for a winner. Early exit polls showing Kerry the clear winner could be expected to depress the vote for Bush...The exit polls were absurd...

"But for all their chicanery, vote-stealing, Hollywood starlets, fake polls and faux patriotism, the Democrats were wiped out on Election Day."

And this from some days ago:

The Mandate Grows

Several readers have pointed out that as the vote-counting process is completed, President Bush's margin of victory continues to grow. His popular vote advantage is now 52% to 47%, and he won by a whopping 4.7 million votes! The election wasn't close after all.

I'm a happy voter. The people CAN still be heard in our country. Oh yea.

Posted by: DL Meadows at November 8, 2004 6:32 PM

Speaking of political geniuses, I assume many here have seen the new article by occasional commenter Rick Perlstein and friends that the Democrats could become the majority party again if only they would craft a message based on how awful WalMart is, because Middle America HATES WalMart?

Posted by: brian at November 8, 2004 6:48 PM

if FDR had the 'benefit' of the Great Depression, then GWB had the 'benefit' of 9/11

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at November 9, 2004 10:59 AM

Which, JonofAtlanta, he was supposed to squander just as Kerry would have, after he 'benefited' from it.

And, of course, 9/11 occurred before Bush was elected? Just as the Great Depression occurred after FDR was elected?

Posted by: Uncle Bill at November 9, 2004 11:32 AM


FDR only prolonged the Depression, it didn't start on his watch. In '42, after Pearl happened on his watch, he got waxed in the mid-term, losing control of Congress.

If 9-11 mattered Bush should have been wiped out in the '02 midterm and certainly been voted out in /04.

Posted by: oj at November 9, 2004 11:48 AM
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