Patterico's Pontifications


Who Cares About the GOP?

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:02 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Peggy Noonan explains Party loyalty to President Bush and his staff:

“The Bush people don’t seem to spend much time on loyalty to the party per se, only to their guy. Who after all is looking out for the Republican nominees, for the group of them? They are the future of the party.”

Noonan also speculates why they do this …

… and she believes it’s more than being loyal to their man Bush:

I am wondering if the Washington GOP establishment fails to look after these things because they don’t really think there’s life after Bush, or even care all that much. They think the next president is a Democrat. A lot of them will do lobbying for a living. Better learn to get along! And so the candidates swim with an anvil around their necks.

One of the few candidates Mr. Bartlett had nothing bad to say about was Rudy Giuliani, which suggests to me what I hear from those who visit the White House may be true: The president has decided it’s Rudy. He also told a friend that when the primary is over, he’ll campaign hard for the nominee. Here I imagine the candidates for once speaking in unison: Oh, please don’t!”

I’m not surprised Bush people don’t care about the Republican Party or its future. I don’t think Clinton people cared about the Democratic Party after Bill’s 8 years, except to the extent it could help Hillary. It may also be characteristic of all modern past Presidents but, if so, that’s a real shame.


14 Responses to “Who Cares About the GOP?”

  1. I think she has it wrong. Bush and the GOP have a dilemma. None of the candidates wants to tie themselves too closely to Bush. They see that as more harmful. Perhaps it will help the GOP unite, which it hasn’t so far.
    Gore was afraid he would lose moderate republicans by aligning too closely with Clinton. He put too much distance and it hurt him electorally. Bush is not a popular, charismatic politician like Clinton. If the GOP candidates distance themselves from Bush they have a better chance of pulling some moderate Dems to their side.
    I do think Bush would like to see the GOP win but I think he has reason to be frustrated with them on two issues; (1) social security privatization didn’t occur when the GOP had majority in both houses (2) the overreaction from the far right about the immigration bill

    Voice of Reason (10af7e)

  2. Noonan has become increasingly captured by the DC GOP establishment, and her dislike for the Bush Administration has grown since the 2004 election. Her talents are in being a speechwriter. I don’t put much stock in her political analysis.

    The 2006 election put the 2008 candidates in a box. The Admin. — and the GOP led Congress for that matter — was toxic with the electorate.

    No GOP candidate is a natural heir to the Admin’s legacy, because none are closely linked to the Admin. We’ve known this was going to be the case for 4 years. In that way the GOP is saved from the fate of Al Gore, who had to decide how much of the Clinton legacy he could safely embrace, and his campaign reflected one long miscalculation in that regard.

    So the result is that the Admin. has kept its distance from the candidates, and therefore from the GOP since the candidates and the party are really linked during a campaign. The Admin. shouldn’t be linked to either — it has a gov’t to run.

    WLS (bafbcb)

  3. Bush doesn’t give two craps about the GOP. All the “gains” he has made to shore up executive power and increase the secrecy of government will be transferred straight to Hillary.

    Good luck with that.

    Dude (ec7eb8)

  4. Apparently the GOP didn’t care much when Hoover’s term was up, but they seem to have been awakened from a drunken slumber when FDR took the reins. What comes around goes around, unfortunately.

    Semanticleo (1f31a4)

  5. Sorry Noonan but Bush is having to deal with a big problem that Reagan ran away from and Rudy is willing to take up the hard fight for defending America’s light on the shining hill.

    IF Republicans are going to join Democrats in defeating liberty then I’m not interested in either party’s issues.

    syn (7faf4d)

  6. Having dude and Miss Cleo attempt to analyze Republican politics is comical. We should make sure to pass along their suggestions to the RNC.

    JD (864bd2)

  7. I think Noonan is right to criticize some of the “Bush people.” Notably I do have to agree with her that there’s something a bit unseemly about Bartlett’s professional behavior from immediately after leaving the White House.

    But I don’t see how Bush partisans acting in opposition to the interest of GOP candidates are to blame for whatever debate those same candidates have agreed to. etc. etc.

    I also don’t think the motivation of Bartlett et al is that, “if you are an absolute Bush partisan, you probably don’t really want a Republican to follow him and potentially, in decisions if not in words, rebuke him. That would be the worst thing, not being followed by Hillary or Obama.”

    Instead I think it’s more fatalism about the general election, and a desire to minimize the career downside from a Dem term.

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  8. People may need another Carter presidency to remind them how awful one-party Democrat rule is. Hillary will do nicely.

    V the K (51fb69)

  9. JD, Dude provided a more cogent analysis of the Bush legacy than you admit.

    That the Republican party as represented in office by GWB has jettisoned any pretense of a desire in limited government is plain to see – and that skid-greasing will be easily used by subsequent administrations which never expressed that pretext at all.

    I think it makes sense to put distance between the candidates and the administration’s legacy, particularly since no one really knows what GWBs’ legacy will be (or at least how it will be viewed) in Nov ’08.

    JSinAZ (e2c10c)

  10. Bush did two good things. One was the decision to cut the Gordian Knot with Iraq. The fact that the execution of the post-invasion phase was screwed up does not change the facts on the ground in 2002. The Army was not interested in COIN warfare and made the same mistake Westmoreland made in Vietnam. Petraeus has a chance to salvage it because Bush has been willing to take the hits to keep going and not give up as Johnson did. The argument for going into Vietnam was weaker than the one for invading Iraq.

    His second good decision was the reaction to 9/11 with tax cuts and easy money to counter the deflation effect of the attack. He had also to cope with the recession at the end of the Clinton bubble.

    His worst mistake was to allow Hastert (It now seems apparent) to to talk him into all that spending. That was Reagan’s mistake as well but he had the excuse of a Democratic Congress. Had they held the line on spending, we would be in surplus and the Congress would still be in our hands.

    The failure of SS reform could be blamed on the failure to control spending. Had they done so, the Congress would have a super majority and could do almost anything they wanted to do. The amnesty fiasco was not a “right wing” overreaction. The illegal immigration problem is real and there is strong support for getting control of the borders. The support for amnesty comes from the Democrats, who are convinced (probably correctly) that they will all vote D, and cynical business interests who will support either party if it gives them what they want, more room at the federal trough.

    Bush will look better in history, just as Truman has, but the weasels around Bush are now looking for the exits. They have no more sense of history than they have of economics. Wallace was right about all those bureaucrats hurrying around Washington. All they have in those briefcases are chicken sandwiches. They don’t know anymore than we do and often less since they have never run a business.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  11. #10. Mike K….

    Well said!

    Another Drew (a28ef4)

  12. I don’t want a President who’s loyal to the ‘party’, nor Congressmen and Senators who are loyal to the President. I want a President and a Congress who are loyal to conservative principles. Were they so, what is good for one would be good for the other and both would be good for us. Unfortunately, neither Bush nor the GOP representatives in Congress are conservative… and, to no surprise, as a result, us conservative voters aren’t loyal to them.

    stevesturm (d3e296)

  13. Had they held the line on spending, we would be in surplus and the Congress would still be in our hands.

    OK, give us dollar figures about “holding the line” on spending—don’t touch that half-trillion for the Iraq War, which you support—and show me the surplus.

    This is gonna be good.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (30b2b7)

  14. I agree with a lot of what Mike K. says, but I think the GOP consciously spent more than it failed to curb spending. All those earmarks, all those tax revenues…it’s just so easy, and so tempting, and you can call yourself “compassionate” to cadge a few extra voting blocs.

    I really don’t think there is any way back except total collapse, ala the Depression.

    But I also think a third party is forming, and it’s called “decline to state.”

    Patricia (4117a9)

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