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A Lasting Synonym for Disaster

It’s always gratifying to hear from a Bush supporter who realizes that Saddam and Osama aren’t the same person, but I doubt that this year’s elections will be decided by these documents. Bush and his base are doing their utmost to deliver the broad middle, who reelected Bush and the GOP in 2004, to the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. And maybe beyond.

Anything can happen in politics, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Bush becomes the new Herbert Hoover — another conscientious Republican president whose name became a lasting synonym for disaster. Hoover didn’t actually cause the Great Depression, but he might as well have. His memory ensured Democratic hegemony for more than half a century, until Ronald Reagan exorcised it (largely by playing a sunny FDR to Jimmy Carter’s inept Hoover).

Bush asked to be judged by his conduct of the War on Terror, and he is getting his wish. If he has made an unholy mess of that war, and wants to keep doing it in Iran, the public (minus 38 per cent) has lost faith in his competence, and this applies to other matters too, such as immigration reform. Even Republicans are asking what kind of “conservative” would spend money and expand Federal powers and programs to the tune of trillions of dollars as he has.

If his party isn’t ruined, it’s not his fault. The most diabolical Democrat — and the Democrats are nothing if not diabolical — couldn’t have dreamed up an opponent so destructive to their foes. Bill Clinton held his own, but he didn’t weaken the Republicans permanently. It has taken Bush to achieve the reversal of the Republican Revolution. ~Joseph Sobran

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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