Once again, the Democrats are counting on the unpopularity of the George W. Bush administration to help them win an election. Republicans "don't have a single idea that's different than George Bush's ideas," President Barack Obama said at a recent fundraiser. "Instead, they're betting on amnesia." Bad tactic, say some commentators, who argue that the Dems better find a new talking point fast: (Watch a Fox News discussion about the anti-Bush tactic)
"Blame Bush"? I think not: The key problem with this strategy, says Frank Rich in The New York Times, is that "betting on amnesia is almost always a winning, not a losing, wager in America." And given the "radical" ideas the post-Bush GOP plans to institute if they win, the Democrats are actually "flattering the current GOP by accusing it of being a carbon copy of Bush."
"How to lose an election without really trying"
Nothing can help the Democrats now: It's true, says Rick Richman in Commentary: Trying "to bring back the bogeyman to scare the kids" won't work in 2010 — because nothing can hide the Democrats' terrible track-record. Unemployment remains astonishingly high. Two "prominent" Congressional Democrats are facing ethics charges, and Obama "is suing a state for trying to enforce existing immigration law." If they want to win elections, the Democrats must first learn how to govern.
"If you cannot bring back hope and change, bring back Bush"
Still, it's a timeless tactic: Blaming an unpopular president has worked well in the past, says the University of Virginia's Larry J. Sabato in The Hill. "Every Democratic national campaign from 1932 through 1952 prominently featured attacks on Herbert Hoover." And Republicans bashed Jimmy Carter "consistently from 1980 through 1988." Even if targeting Bush has "little real effect" this fall, it still "makes sense" as a tactic.
"Is it smart for Dems to use Bush in '10 campaign?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Rise of the machines
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- It's time to kill school picture day
- 10 things you need to know today: October 19, 2014
- Is Amazon a monopoly?
Subscribe to the Week