July 26, 2011


Unfortunately for Rick Perry, He's No George W. Bush (Paul Waldman, 07/26/2011, American Prospect)

It's easy to forget that when he ran, Bush was touted as "a different kind of Republican," with the hard edges smoothed down. He talked about education, he reached out to minorities, he was a "compassionate conservative." Perry, in contrast, has no problem with his hard edges. Take religion: While we remember Bush as an extremely religious president, when he ran, his outreach to the religious right was subtle and quiet, as an article in the Deseret News explains, with a quote from Shaun Casey, a professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary:

"Bush's brilliance with the religious right was that he did everything behind closed doors. There were no photo-ops, there were no press releases saying I met reverend so and so today. Bush did everything through intermediaries, and so there was no public trail of him reaching out to the religious right. The irony is that here comes along Perry, the dollar-general-store version of Bush, and here he is meeting with these people in public and you start looking at the line up of the people he's cozying up to in public and all he is doing is setting himself up for trouble later on if by some miracle he actually wins the nomination ... Some of these guys are really beyond the fringe -- folks who George Bush would have never been caught dead with within a hundred miles of."

That's a bit of an exaggeration -- it wasn't exactly a secret that Bush was courting religious leaders. But it's true that he would never have appeared at a sectarian event like Perry's ginormous pray-in "The Response," which takes place on August 6. And while Bush wasn't shy about his affection for Jesus, he actually did make an effort to show respect to those of other faiths. Just one example: In the single most awesome quote in a presidency full of them, Bush said, "I can't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah." Indeed. [...]

The George W. Bush of 2000 probably couldn't get the nomination of today's Republican Party. All his talk of how he had worked with Democrats in the Texas Legislature and how he wanted to end Washington's partisan rancor would have gotten him branded a squish who couldn't be trusted.

Do you suppose the folks on the Left who are writing these paeans to W ever regret the vehement hatred with which they met his success over Al Gore? The current Republican hysteria about President Obama is nothing compared to the post-Florida psychosis of the Democrats, who forbade anyone from the party to join the Administration (which is why he ended up having to just keep Minetta on).

Posted by at July 26, 2011 3:53 PM

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