Sidney Blumenthal, Salon:
In his semiretirement, Bush engaged in appeals to history, which he now says on nearly every occasion will absolve him. Early on and riding high, he expressed contempt for history. "History, we'll all be dead," he sneered to Bob Woodward in an interview for "Bush at War," a panegyric to Bush the triumphant after the Afghanistan invasion and before Iraq. Now Bush cites history as justification for everything he does. "You can't possibly figure out the history of the Bush presidency -- until I'm dead," he told Robert Draper, his authorized biographer, in an interview for "Dead Certain." The use of the words "history" and "dead" between the Woodward and Draper interviews makes for a world of difference -- the difference between a president who couldn't care less and one who cares desperately but can't admit it.
Without a doubt, history will remember Bush. But, like Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy, historical redemption is not in the cards. Which is probably good news for Democrats this year, as Bush will likely be remembered as the president who destroyed his party for a generation. The Republicans followed Bush straight off the cliff and are now on their way to the ground. An underreported fact in the Iowa Caucuses is that there is no excitement for the GOP candidates. Democrats are the ones drawing the huge crowds. The L.A. Times foretells doom:
The long-standing coalition of social, economic and national security conservatives that elevated the Republican Party to political dominance has become so splintered by the presidential primary campaign that some party leaders fear a protracted nomination fight that could hobble the eventual nominee.
Fiscal conservatives probably feel left out in the cold. Bush has been spending money like a drunk in a strip club and has very little to show for it other than massive deficits and a skyrocketing debt. It's not much of a stretch to imagine them looking at the religious right and their simplistic wedge issues and wondering why the hell these loons get to suck up all the oxygen in their party. They also can't be happy with a war that's costing billions and delivering zero results.
Republicans all started their campaigns the same way -- "I'm Ronald Reagan." But people took a look at them and answered, "Yeah, I don't think so." The candidates, having been kicked out of the Reagan club, had nothing but themselves to offer and it wasn't pretty. Campaign messages have been confused, with hopefuls being the anti-immigration candidate at one minute and the security candidate at another. Most of the Republicans don't really seem to stand for anything. They're both for and against the status quo, straddling each issue. Like the war? Hey, I'm all for it. Don't like the war? Well, we're going about it all wrong.
The only thing they've really offered as a reason they should be president is that they all pray. Fiscal conservatives and security voters couldn't care less, while their party has become home to those who question whether a Mormon is "Christian enough." This is what President Bush's and Karl Rove's style of campaigning has brought their party -- it's become weighed down with crazy people and bullshit issues. And candidates who are more than happy to embrace the nuts.
So they watch as Mike Huckabee, a man who's proven more than once that he doesn't know jack, rises to prominence based only on the fact that preachers like the former preacher. They watch Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani get yanked right by lunatics who worry that they don't hate gays enough. They watch John McCain try to be both pro- and anti-war at once.
When conservatives don't like their candidates, they stay home. That's why the Democrats have been drawing big crowds. A CBS News/New York Times poll shows that 57% of Democrats are satisfied with their candidates, while the same percentage of Republicans say they "Want more choices."
"Conservative primary voters are more likely to want more choices than moderates, and 62 percent of white evangelical primary voters also say they want more choices," CBS reported. "Historically, Republicans have been more satisfied with their candidates than Democrats. But that's not true this year. A majority of Democratic primary voters say they are satisfied with their options for the nomination."
The GOP has picked up an addiction to the religious right and it's killing them. The "values voters" have become accustomed to a president who's basically their slave. While President Bush couldn't be bothered to cut short his vacation and deal with hurricane Katrina, he dropped all that brush clearing to run back to DC and sign a law to "save" Terri Schiavo. When most Americans wanted to fund embryonic stem cell research, Bush vetoed it, because the nuts didn't like it. And they've managed to scare off enough voters with this sort of thing that they absolutely need the nuts.
That's Bush's legacy for his party. That's where he's led his faithful -- straight into ruin. A splintered party that's so desperate for voters that it has to kiss lunatic ass to have any hope at all.
Technorati tags: politics; war; Iraq; religious right; morons; 2008; elections; Iowa; Bush has screwed the Republican party