Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The Anti-Bush:One of the more sobering lessons Dubya learned from Bush Senior's defeat in 1992 was how the first Bush did not do enough to keep the hard right in his corner. Bush the Junior has taken that to heart and has done much to shore up what is now his base of support. However, I wonder if Bush II's grip on the far right might have the same effect that Bush the First's distance from led to his defeat. Bush's policies have done little to sway independents over to his side, at least not in the way they did in 2000. Listen to what Andrew Sullivan has to say:

The huge turn-out in New Hampshire; the electability factor for Kerry; the passion of the Dean people: all this shows how thoroughly energized the Democrats are to win back the White House. Bush is in the Rove-Cheney cocoon right now. From the SOTU, it looks like he's going to run on 9/11. Bad, backward-looking idea. His coalition is fracturing; his reach out to Hispanics seems to have hurt him more with the base than won him new votes; his spending has independents deeply concerned; Iraq is still a wild card; prescription drugs pandering hasn't swayed any seniors; the religious right wants him to attack gay couples in the Constitution - which will lose him the center. More worrying: I'm not sure he even knows he's in trouble.

I think Sullivan has it right. Bush's wild spending has loss fiscal conservatives, such as yours truly. Also, let's not forget his endorsement of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Not only does that anger true small-government libertarians, but it angers gays who just might have voted for Bush.

I think what happens here is that less and less of those who supported him in 2002 will want to vote for him now. He has done so much to placate the far right that he is alienating the center. The Dems should be paying attention and tailoring their campaigns to reach out to the center that Bush appears to be abandoning.

Many people talk about Gov. Howard Dean and his supporters living in an echo chamber. I'm beginning to think that Dubya is living in one as well.


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