It is remarkable to read pieces like these.
Time after time moderate Republicanism loses the presidency or wins by the skin of the Supreme Court’s teeth or 100,000 votes in Ohio – and this is held up as a successful way to run a political party.
The latest two pieces are here from ex-Bush 43 aide Michael Gerson and here from ex-Bush 43 aide Pete Wehner.
Gerson, who holds the distinction of boasting that “the Bush (2000) campaign was purposely attempting to alter the image of the Republican Party. And the party — rendered more open to change by eight years in the presidential wilderness — gave Bush the leeway to make necessary ideological adjustments.”
So again: How exactly did this disavowal of Reagan and conservatism work out for the Republican Party? Obviously, to say not well is a laughable understatement. Bush’s own narrow re-election in 2004 over John Kerry, his departure from the White House with an approval rating hovering in the frigid 30’s, and his inability to elect his successor—the similarly moderate John McCain—should in fact serve as an object lesson of what the GOP should not do.
Yet here is Gerson blithely saying that “the GOP needs its own Bill Clinton or Tony Blair — a leader to reposition the party and reinvigorate its political appeal.” He adds that the GOP should resist what he strangely calls “an oversimplified Reaganism.”
What needs to be said here is that, when all is said and done, Gerson is busy advocating the same old moderate Republicanism that has been losing elections since the Days of Dewey. In point of fact, were time travel available, we could pack Michael Gerson off to 1948 and he could write the same things for Dewey that he wrote for Bush and now writes for the Washington Post, and no one would notice the difference.
Read the whole thing here.