Jump to content

Dems still taking aim at Bush


Recommended Posts


Dems still taking aim at Bush

The agenda is rooted in results from several internal Democratic polls that suggest the mere mention of George W. Bush is enough to flip voters' preferences.

One of the most potent arguments Democrats used to capture seats in the past two election cycles can be summed up in two words: President Bush.

Now, they are being urged to ride George W. Bush’s continued unpopularity one more time in hopes of stemming losses in November.

It’s a risky gambit since that very strategy fell flat last year in the 2009 governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey. Still, armed with some promising polling data, some Democrats remain convinced that Bush-bashing is electoral gold.

“The central challenge for Republicans heading into November is to shed the Bush economic legacy, and so far they are doing that,” said Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, a moderate think tank. “Democrats have to show they have a plan for private-sector-led economic growth, and they must tie Republicans to Bush. There is still time to make that case, but it is running short.”

Cowan isn’t the only one advocating a revival of anti-Bush rhetoric.

“Bush is powerful shorthand. It’s not enough in a race, but it’s a pretty good way to frame their opponent,” said Jim Jordan, a Democratic strategist. “They should be asking their opponents to give three areas in which they disagree with George Bush.”

The advice is rooted in the results from several internal Democratic polls that suggest the mere mention of Bush is enough to flip voters’ preferences. Third Way released one such poll last week.

When voters were asked if they would back a candidate who would stick with President Barack Obama’s economic plan or a generic Republican opponent “who will start from scratch with new ideas to shrink government, cut taxes and grow the economy,” Obama’s team lost 30 percent to 64 percent.

But when the same question was rephrased to pit an Obama stalwart against a candidate “who will go back to President Bush’s economic policies,” the result flipped: The Obama ally was the choice of 49 percent of respondents compared with 34 percent for the Bush backer.

The takeaway, said Jim Kessler, Third Way’s vice president for policy, is that Democrats need to be specific. They should not criticize their opponent’s economic ideas as being “bad ideas” or “corporatist ideas,” he said, adding that “they must be ‘going back to Bush economic ideas.’”

Thus far, Democratic candidates have been inconsistent on the Bush messaging.

Obama has begun framing the midterms as a choice between moving forward or returning to the policies that brought the nation to the brink of another Great Depression. But rather than uttering Bush’s name, he often refers to Republicans as “the same people” or “the other side.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in a press conference defending the Democratic majority, left no ambiguity when she accused the Republicans of promoting the “exact agenda of the Bush administration, which they think people will look on with more fondness.”

In January, not long after Democrats lost the New Jersey and Virginia governorships, the consensus among many party insiders was that voters no longer wanted to hear about the Bush years and that such attacks would be effective only when used against candidates with direct ties to the prior administration’s policies.snip
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 1701869811
  • Create New...