The Bush program gets a pass
by David Atkins
Oh boy. Think Progress has a great find today, quoting RNC Special Media Press Secretary Alexandra Franceschi, on the Fernando Espuelas radio show:
ESPUELAS: What do you mean by economic security? Regardless of who the ultimate nominee is, what’s the general idea that the RNC, or the Republican party in general, has in terms of this message?
FRANCESCHI: Well, it’s a message of being able to attain the American dream. It’s less government spending, which a Tarrance Group poll, came out last week actually, shows that the majority of Hispanics believe that less government spending is the way out of this deficit crisis. It’s lowering taxes so small businesses can grow and they can employ more people, because we understand that the private sector is the engine of the economy. It’s not the government. [...]
ESPUELAS: Now, how different is that concept from what were the policies of the Bush administration? And the reason I ask that is because there’s some analysis now that is being published talking about the Bush years being the slowest period of job creation since those statistics were created. Is this a different program or is this that program just updated?
FRANCESCHI: I think it’s that program, just updated.
One of the many messaging problems of the Obama Administration has been the failure to continually remind Americans of the Bush Administration and its failures. One can argue endlessly about why the Administration has been almost as keen to put the Bush Administration down the memory hole as the Republicans have been, but whatever its causes, it has helped allow the Republican Party to rebrand itself under the Tea Party logo, and to crawl out from what should have been a decades-long political hole after the Bush Administration's domestic and foreign policy disasters.
And it's not even as if the Republicans have moderated or altered their economic program since 2008. In fact, they've doubled down on it and made it worse. Not even the Bush-Cheney team would have dared put forward the Paul Ryan budget.
FDR was able to win four terms in office, essentially running against Hooverism every time. The Republicans are still running against Jimmy Carter. The Bush Administration should hang as an albatross around the necks of Republicans for decades. Instead, they've both been allowed to rebrand themselves. RNC communications flacks are openly saying the Republicans would continue Bush policies. And Jeb Bush is seriously considering a run for office.
Can you imagine if Republicans were running against FDR in 1936 suggesting that they would pursue the same policies as Hoover, and seriously promoting Hoover's brother as a 1940 presidential candidate? Or the Democrats doubling down on cardigan sweaters and another scion of the Carter family in 1984 and 1988? It's sheer madness.
And yet modern Republicans are allowed to get away with it.