by John Hawkins | September 14, 2006 11:37 am
Rich Lowry, among others, got a meeting with Bush and this quote from W. that he produced really tees me off:
“The President talked about how he has been able to help with the 2006 races, noting money raised and the party’s turnout efforts. “I can help and if I can’t, Laura can.” He explained, “I’m not going to convince Democrats to vote for Republicans, there might be some Independents I can convince, but the key will be whether Republicans understand the stakes.”
This just kills me. Bush and the Republicans in the Senate have spent a good portion of the last 21 months toe kicking conservatives in the crotch on issue after issue, ostensibly, in order to appeal to the middle.
The base has been grousing ceaselessly about spending, but Bush ignores us. Conservatives have been screaming about illegal immigration and what does Bush do? In an election year, he pushes a deal worse than most people had even imagined was possible a year earlier. Then there was the Dubai Port Deal where, right or wrong, Bush undercut his security credentials pushing a deal for the UAE that was dead on arrival the moment it hit the press. Don’t even get me started on Harriet Miers.
Now, it’s election time and it’s, “Gee, Democrats and Independents may not care what I have to say, but I hope the Republicans I’ve been showing the back of our hand to on key issue after issue understand how important it is to support us!”
I defy anybody to tell me that George Bush and the Republican Party wouldn’t be far better off today if they’d catered slavishly to the base on all the above listed issues. Not only would the base be much happier with the GOP today, but I’m of the opinion that Bush’s numbers would be significantly higher among Independents as well if he had just gone in the other direction on spending and illegal immigration.
Heck, just having conservatives happy with Bush and saying nice things about him instead of hammering away at him for the last year and a half would probably mean that his numbers with Indies would be 10 or 15 points higher. That’s because most people know the mainstream media is biased against Bush and tune what they say out, at least to a certain extent. But, when they hear conservatives ripping Bush, their ears perk up because they know that Republicans are not looking to aim cheap shots at W.
What Bush and these Republicans in the Senate need to do is go back to fundamentals. The first rule of being a successful politician is to keep your core supporters happy. That doesn’t mean you do everything they want, but it does mean that you better think long and hard about the implications of crossing them on important issues when you may have to go to them hat in hand later on.
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