When I last used the above graphic, George Bush had just been re-elected (or finally won without an assist depending upon your frame of reference) and things looked awful bleak for the reality-based community which would be the people who expect a minimum of competence and truth out of their elected officials. I don’t usually reprint old posts, but at the time I wrote:
Four more years of American soldiers being used as cannon fodder.
Four more years of scientific decisions being made by people who believe in a ghost in the clouds.
Four more years of debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.
Four more years of racists and lunatics for judicial appointments
Four more years of looting the treasury and squandering it on corporate cronies.
Four more years of making enemies faster than we can kill them.
Four more years of fear and darkness and racism and hatred and stupidity and guns and bad country music.
I look at the big map and all of the red in flyover country and I feel like I’ve been locked in a room with the slow learners. We have become the country that pulls a dry cleaning bag over its head to play astronaut.
Pretty grim, eh?
Well it looks like the happy campers of The Corner are waking up and they have a terrific hangover and their mouth tastes like they spent the night licking the bathroom floor. It’s doom time:
DOOM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I spoke to a very influential Republican strategist earlier this week, and asked him what he thought the party should do to fix the mess it’s in. His answer: “I don’t think it’s fixable.” Republicans are only now as alarmed as they should have been six months ago, when they might have been able to put together an agenda to improve their standing. Now there are too few legislative days left before the election to do that–and it makes more sense for congressmen to spend time campaigning in their districts than for them to increase the number of days in session.
He blames both the White House (“Theyâ€™ve known since last September that they needed to put together an agenda and they have failed to do so. Their State of the Union gave us nothing to work on in an election year.”) and the Congress (“People believe that all politics is local and you can look at it race by race [and see a good outcome]. Thatâ€™s all horse—-.”). “So I’m not Mr. Happy, you can say.”
Posted at 04:46 PM
GLOOM [Jonah Goldberg]
I had lunch with another prominent Republican. I asked him if he could remember a time when Republicans were more dispirited. He shrugged and said, “It really is pretty bleak, isn’t it.” Or words to that effect.
Posted at 04:53 PM
GLOOM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
And I spoke to another one today. He thinks that the public is not going to change its mind about the Iraq war until after it’s over. “They might support it retrospectively once itâ€™s won. But theyâ€™re not going to support it while itâ€™s going on.” One of Bush’s wartime responsibilities was “to keep the country rallied,” and he didn’t.
They aren’t going to change their minds about the economy, either. People have not yet adjusted their mental picture of the economy to fit today’s dynamism. “The average person sees high gas prices and bankrupt airlines and GM layoffs and it doesnâ€™t fit in their minds that this can be going on during a good economy. There are some ways in which itâ€™s analogous to . . . say, 1880 to 1930. . . . The reality was you were creating unprecedented amounts of wealth and moving people out of agrarian poverty into what we started to call the working class. But the commentary was almost uniformly negative. People just didnâ€™t understand it. Nobody was saying, Gosh, this is great, people are moving off the crummy farms and into cities.”
This strategist thinks Republicans should have done lobbying reform in February and earmark reform in March, and should have presented John Boehner’s accession to the House leadership as a fresh start. Instead, “we’ve lost three months.”
Posted at 04:55 PM
RE: WHAT BUSH NEEDS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader named Joe writes:
Jonah, what YOU need is a big yank back into reality. His low numbers, to a very large degree, are caused by the press. Negative story after negative story. How can you say all he needs is a little time away from the public? Like the press is gonna forget they despise him? Come on, Jonah, you are a better man than that.
Me:I think Joe’s right. Though I’m not sure it contradicts what I said. It’s certainly true that Clinton’s comeback benefited greatly from the fact the press wanted him to make a comeback. I can’t imagine the press would do anything but pounce on Bush like a wounded fawn if he tried to act on my advice. Perhaps Rove can figure out a way to go over the Washington media’s head as he did in the ’04 campaign, but I doubt that’s possible now.
Posted at 04:56 PM
PERSPECTIVE, GENTLEMEN [JPod]
Good Lord, it’s gloomy in here today! Reminds me of some dark Corner days back in…2004…
Posted at 05:03 PM
RE: GLOOM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
For that matter, JPod, Republicans in D.C. were pretty gloomy in August 2002, too, and things turned out well that fall.
Posted at 05:19 PM
CAPTAIN SUNSHINE, REPORTING FOR DUTY [JPod]
Believe me, I’m not denying that bad news is bad news. But it’s an occupational hazard of politics junkies to forget that things happen and things change. For example, on Saturday, it appears the Iraqi political standoff will finally come to a head and move toward a positive resolution. That’s not going to set off a positive chain of events immediately, but who knows what it will mean in the longer term? We don’t yet know how the immigration issue is going to shake out, except that nobody here yet grasps how the Democratic embrace of the protestors may turn into a very exploitable issue for Republican candidates. But the fate of the GOP isn’t the major issue on my mind when I complain about the gloom. Gloom is a soul-killer. Stop killin’ my soul!
Posted at 05:38 PM
I don’t even want to get into the whole theological debate regarding the possibility that there is a soul lurking in the house that Midge and Norm built. That’s a topic that would have made Reinhold Niebuhr become an atheist if not blow his brains out with a shotgun. So lets move on…
Now each of the Corner Kids has their own personal reason for being disappointed with the direction the Republican Party has taken following in lockstep behind its putative leader. In Jonah and the Pod’s case the failure of George Bush might call attention to the fact that having famous parents doesn’t necessarily qualify you for a job and their wingnut welfare might dry up like Kate O’Beirne’s hoo-hah. Ramesh has a book coming out and a dispirited conservative is going to be in no mood to read about baby-killing liberals when they could just as easily buy a Kate Hudson DVD to cheer themselves up (although Kate Hudson might again remind people about that famous parent thing above, so the DVD purchase, which is bad for Ramesh, is worse for Jonah/JPod) In K-Lo’s case, George Bush isn’t Mitt Romney and George is just ruining it for Mitt who is all dreamy and stuff and could be the Republican JFK except he’s not Catholic but could be converted by the love of a good woman…possibly one of his wives. Maybe even K-Lo.
Meanwhile, while they are worrying about the elephant party, the rest of us are worying about the other elephant in the room: our upcoming nuclear confrontation with Iran. Since all that George and Dick and Rummy know is war and arrogance and power and they have been spectacularly wrong about everything that they have ever done or touched or thought about, are these the people that we want with their finger on the button?
I gotcher gloom and doom right here…