Saturday, September 20, 2008
More of the Same?
I was just thinking this morning how the problem with the Obama campaign's strategy of equating John McCain to President Bush is that it ignores the ways in which the last two years of Bush's presidency bear very little resemblance to the first six. Between the Democratic Congress, the ascendancy of the Condoleezza Rice-Bob Gates (ie. the sane) axis in foreign policy, and his lameduck status, Bush has managed if not to undo, at least to address and in some cases to mitigate a lot of the damage he did prior to the 2006 mid-term elections. It's a thought that's borne out by this Jonathan Rauch article (via Andrew Sullivan) in the National Journal:
Had Bush left office at the beginning of last year, his tenure might indeed have gone down as calamitous. Winding up in the middling ranks, then, would be no mean accomplishment. Far from being happenstance, such a finish would reflect an unusual period of course correction that might be thought of as Bush's third term.
What's more, I think the country, and even the most die-hard Democrats, are over Bush in a way that seemed unimaginable two years ago. So going after him neither motivates the base nor grabs the fence-sitters, many of whom might have voted for him in 2004 and won't appreciate being reminded of the fact. Obama should go after McCain, who makes a pretty easy target all by himself.