TAMPA — When Republicans, particularly of the Washington establishment variety, start talking about “electability,” it’s time to activate our nonsense filters.
Recall 1999 when establishment Republican types started whooping up a vote-getting machine named George W. Bush. Never mind that this guy was the son of a noblesse oblige, patrician of a president who, after eight years of tutelage under the Gipper, reverted to non-conservative form in office, in the process piddling away the largest favorability ratings in presidential history.
Pay no attention, the pooh-bahs crooned, to the fact that young W had no visible conservative bona-fides, and that his “compassionate conservatism” (as opposed to the mean old un-hyphenated variety) sounded a lot like liberalism. No, the little men behind the Republican establishment curtain insisted, just focus on the happy fact that this guy is a dead-bang winner, a vote-magnet of the first water.
So how did that work out? In 2000, Mr. Electability got more than a half million fewer votes than Al Gore, who needed Naomi Wolf to teach him how to dress in the morning, and who some of his own supporters described as a man-like creature. (Then in ’04 the vote-getting machine barely beat Jean-François Kennedy Heinz Fonda Kerry, who resembles E.T., and is even more foreign.) Only the peculiarities of our Electoral College system and Ralph Nader’s ego (remember the Florida 2000 results) put Mr. Electability in office.
W’s vote-getting prowess proved an illusion. But once in office, he did prove that he was better at spending tax-payers’ money than even Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter in a wind storm.
Read More at spectator.org. By Larry Thornberry.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)
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