Skip to comments.Republicans Shouldn't Run Away from Bush
Posted on 05/04/2006 8:59:18 AM PDT by MNJohnnie
RUSH: There are Republicans planning to abandon George W. Bush in droves, particularly during this election year. Bush has had it, a 36%, 33% approval rating. The guy's an albatross around their neck. "We've got to get out of there! We don't want Bush doing anything but raising money for this," blah, blah, blah, blah. There's precedent for this. By the way, a couple of pollsters saying it's a bad move for the Republicans. You know, Republicans, I'll just give you some advice right now. All of you Republicans in Congress -- including you, Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe and all the rest of them, McCain -- you want to win reelection in this year, if you're up?
You want the Republicans to hold the House? Unify behind George W. Bush. Just do it. Just do it. Don't try to please moderate or Democrat voters by showing your independence. Just go out there and unify and support the president on a number of issues that you can. Fred Barnes, who at the time was a senior editor of the New Republic, posted a piece in the LA Times December 9th, 1986, Ronald Reagan's sixth year. Conservatives in '86 were abandoning Reagan, the most important conservative in the history of the movement in America.
"A dozen or so conservative leaders met privately at a Washington hotel last week to discuss the future of their political movement. Edward Feulner of the Heritage Foundation was there. So were New Right strategist Paul Weyrich, several fund-raisers, two officials of the Reagan Administration and a few Capitol Hill aides. Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to President Reagan and the Iran arms scandal. Forget Reagan, they agreed. The President's a goner, his influence shattered forever. We've got to decide how to press our agenda without him. Only William Kristol, a top official of the Department of Education, dissented, insisting that Reagan should be defended.
"Thus, the Iran scandal has achieved what Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, the 1981-82 recession and the Marines debacle in Lebanon couldn't. It has caused the disintegration of the Reagan coalition, that blend of conservatives from fundamentalist Christians to libertarians that held together as the most unified single bloc in American politics for a decade. And even if the coalition is revived on an issue or two -- aid to the Nicaraguan contras, say, or funding the Strategic Defense Initiative -- as Reagan serves out his final two years in the White House, it won't be the dominant political force anymore.
"The matter can be put quite succinctly: Without Reagan the conservatives lack a popular leader, and without the conservatives Reagan lacks a broad ideological base. Both wind up losers, and the political balance of power tilts away from them. Sure, the conservatives are still sentimentally attached to Reagan, but he's no longer the same rallying point. Worse, there's no replacement in sight. Conservatives are fragmented on who should be the Republican presidential nominee in 1988. The gravity of the split is only now dawning on Reagan and his allies. Last Tuesday, Secretary of Education William J. Bennett denounced conservatives for ingratitude and political stupidity in abandoning Reagan.
"'There is no conservative agenda without Ronald Reagan,' Bennett said. 'He is the man who made whatever good has happened to this Administration happen, and people should be mindful of that.' Patrick J. Buchanan, the White House communications director, is even more blunt. 'There's an old saying that the major failing of American conservatives is they don't retrieve their wounded,' he said. 'Now's the time you take an inventory of your friends.' Not too many friends are turning up, however. Human Events, the weekly conservative publication that Reagan reads faithfully, has only half-heartedly defended him on the Iran arms deal.
"Linda Chavez, a White House aide until last winter, published a column in the Washington Post denouncing Lt. Col. Oliver North, the ousted National Security Council official blamed for diverting profits from the Iranian arms sales to the contras; she said that he was not a 'true conservative.' Bennett, who got Chavez her first job in the Administration, was so mad about this that he quickly spread the word that he was sorry he'd ever sponsored her. Why are conservatives so wary of supporting Reagan in his moment of greatest need?
"'Nobody believes in the issue, giving arms to Iran,' says Allan Ryskind, the editor of Human Events. 'Nobody's persuaded by the arguments. And while conservatives love the contras, they think that aiding them has now been jeopardized.' (Military aid was only narrowly approved by Congress this year, and the scandal over diverted funds makes renewal of aid less than likely.) Another source of wariness by most conservatives was the firing of North. 'Was North scapegoated or did he deserve to be fired?' asks Jeffrey Bell, an adviser to Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.). 'Until conservatives know that, they'll be on hold. They love North.' And though many conservatives may be inclined to stand with Reagan, they're unsure where to do that. With new revelations in the Iran scandal occurring daily, 'they don't know what ground to stand on,' says Bell.
"Complains Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus: 'The nature of the issue keeps changing.' Finally, there are conservatives like Phillips who always regarded Reagan as too moderate for their taste. 'We wish the best for him, but we're going to focus more on the 1988 presidential race than on helping his cause,' Phillips says. 'Reagan has turned over the substance of policy to people in fundamental disagreement with the policies he's rhetorically espoused.' Phillips is resistant to lobbying. His friend Buchanan pleaded with him over dinner last Wednesday to come to the President's defense. Afterwards, Phillips went on ABC-TV's 'Nightline' and trashed Reagan."
Is it not interesting? It seems like history is repeating. Now, I know Bush is no Reagan (don't misunderstand) in the sense of leading a movement, and I've been the first to say this. But what's interesting is they just want to abandon him, and I'll tell you, there is something in here that's really true: Conservatives do not retrieve their "wounded" from the battlefield; they abandon them. There is so much -- especially more so today than ever before, there's so much -- competition out there. Conservatism has gotten so big; it has so many people who want to claim to be the leader, claim to be the definers, that if anybody takes a hit, they're happy to let them fade away because of the competition.
You know, conservatives do have competitors within the ranks. When the competitors bite the bullet, bite the dust, they're only too willing to let them, some of them them are, just fade away. There is not a whole lot of public defense, including of the president. Now, it's true the president is not defending himself, either. But I'll tell you something, I remember this period. I was working in Sacramento at the time, and I was wondering during this whole Iran Contra stuff, where's Reagan? He was being trashed every day in the media. "Where's Reagan? Why didn't he get up there and answer this stuff?"
Some people were saying, "Because he can't! Because he can't. Because it's true," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They say the same thing about Bush. "Why doesn't he go out there and defend himself?" Well Bush's answer is he doesn't care. He's got his job to do and he doesn't think it's PR spin. It's the same thing with Cheney. Cheney's got a piece coming out in Vanity Fair, I guess, or an interview with him, and they ask him (summarized): "What about your horrible public image?" He said, "I'm not in the public image business. I guess I could improve it if I went out there and tried to improve it, but that's not what my job is. My job is not public spin. My job is not my public image," and so it's amazing, these parallels.
Yet when Ronald Reagan died, all these people who abandoned him (those still around) were muscling trying to get in the front row, trying to make sure they were all over the place to be seen as loyal, never-wavering supporters. The '86 midterm elections, you know, these defections, and people who said, "We can't run with Reagan! Why, Reagan is destroying us." There's always been this tendency on the conservative side to, when there's trouble, split the scene and run away -- and, you know, Reagan did some things to irritate conservatives. While he cut taxes he also raised them at times. You know, abandoning Lebanon after the Marine barracks was hit, that wasn't popular with people. But look how time changes things. When you go back and you look at the totality of a period of time, I don't remember during the funeral week of Ronald Reagan, other than his son and maybe a couple Democrats, but even they were pretty quiet. I don't remember any of these conservatives stepping forward to remind everybody how effectiveless and worthless and pointless the last two or three years of Reagan's term were, do you?
Countdown to HSW trolls... 5...4...3...2...1.......
"There are Republicans planning to abandon George W. Bush in droves, particularly during this election year."
Will someone tell everyone that President Bush is not running for any office.
Hey, Bush could always try reducing the size and scope of government!
ONce again the media is trying to "shape" public opinion rather than just report it.
Very good. Rush knows exactly what he's talking about.
Did they ask, "what's combat"?
Will someone please tell the people who keep repeating this that the president's public support impacts his leadership, which impacts his ability to get things done, which impacts the public support of the GOP in Congress, which impacts their ability to get things done.
The Dems unified behind Clinton!!
We need a strategy to counter all the gates, the Dems have fabricated. (The latest is the other terrorist we have in custody can't testify because their torture will be exposed.)
CIA secret European prisons
Abu Ghraib photos
Katrina federal rescue efforts
9/11 was an inside job
White phosporus and depleted uranium munitions violating the Geneva convention
Cheney still receiving Halliburton dividends
They-promised-to-leave-if-bush won-but- didnt-gate
Mysterious-bump-under-the-jacket at the Kerry debate being a radio transmitter.
Iraq war was "illegal"
Neocons poisoned the Arafart
Republican SUV's caused Katrina et al.
Koran abuse at Gitmo
US submarines created the Tsunami
Preparing to wage intergalactic war
Bush killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi babies.
Bush Bombed the Levys-gate
The Economy is Awful-gate
Bush made zillions in EnronGate.
Not enough troops in Iraq
US military burning dead Taliban fighters
'100,000 daed in Iraq'
Body Armor -Gate
Bush is a Leaker -Gate
Junta-Gate (the 6 Generals)
"Outsourcing" Tora Bora
Missing weapons at the QaQaa site
Bombing Shiite Mosques
Shooting up Guilianna Sgrena's getaway car with tanks
Bush broke the law with wire taps
Bush is drinking again
It's all about oil
There is no connection between Saddam Hussein and terrorists
Bush dodged service in Vietnam gate.
Bush's continued drinking/cocain use
Bush knew about steroids while owner of the Texas Rangers
Florida minorities not permitted to vote in 2000
White House press corp credentials gate
Pillaging of the Baghdad museum - gate
Saddam's head-lice inspection gate
Stem Cells will save humanity! gate
Chimpy McFlightsuit "Mission Accomplished" USS Lincoln aircraft carrier "debacle".
GOP Schiavo memo-gate
Won't meet the ditch witch at the...gate
Falling off a bicycle and getting bandaid on the face gate!
Holding old half dead saudi koranimal hand and helping him out of the car gate!
Secretly plotting to enforce a Military Draft gate
NASA releasing the embarrassing photos of John Kerry crawling on all fours in the cleanroom suit - gate.
Hacked into DNC computers gate
Supreme Court nominees are only White Men-gate.
Bush referred to the WOT as a crusade-gate
No "W"s missing from keyboards gate
Dissed the World's Most Powerful Communist -Gate.
Bounced the She-rag from the State of Union speech
Bush wastes too much time exercising gate
Reading to kindergartners too long gate
Bush can't pronounce "nuclear"-gate
Fines from Religious Zealots in the FCC
Rove was the leak gate
Bush is homosexual
Bush won't address NAACP audience
Refusal to close the illegal alien gate?
Refusal to party in DC gate
Refusal to stay up beyond 9pm gate
Refusal to take away his Twins' ciggies & drinks gate
First Inauguration ballroom strap accident gate
Firing the White House chef gate
Fumigating the Oval Office gate
Redecorating the Oval Office gate
Revamping the White House Intern program gate
Bush and Cheney met with the 9-11 Commission together, Gate.
Miers Supreme Court nomination gate
This ia a wonderful piece. The key here is like Rush says " look for the things that you an back Bush on and go for it"
They just thought I was nuts.
Republicans aren't running away from Bush, Conservatives are... ;-)
I am amazed at the number of self professed Conservatives that say they'll vote for a Dem, a third party candidate who doesn't have a chance of winning or will not vote at all because they disagree with some of President Bush's and other moderate Repubs positions.
It's almost as if they think the Dems would do a better job, unbelievable to me.
"Will someone tell everyone that President Bush is not running for any office."
Nobody said he was.
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