I couldn’t believe it. George Herbert Bush lost to Bill Clinton, a consummate 68’er (follow this for to Newsisyphus for a post with an explanation of a 68'erl), not because he was a bad President, but because he was a good one. The Russian bear had been skinned and sent to Reagan’s California ranch, where, I assumed, a black lab curled up on it at his master’s feet. The Berlin Wall was not breached, but blasted into paper weights so ubiquitous that thousands of East German entrepreneurs first lesson in capitalism was that sometimes it sucked. So why vote for this Cold Warrior? I told my friend Clinton was a draft dodger, while Bush was a war hero, and her reply summed up the election:
“So what?” Well, yeah. So what? It was the economy, stupid. You don’t vote for a man to say “Well done.” Well, I did, but most people don’t. Watching Bush Sr. try to defend his record, on the economy, on AIDS, and, well, on the fact that he was old, was painful. What could he say? That he and Reagan won the cold war? Saying that only emphasized that he was obsolete. I would have loved to hear him say “Now that we’ve defeated the evil empire I will turn my attention to the economy,” if only because it would have shown just how absurd the 1992 election was.
Is it too early to declare victory in the War on Terror? Yep. Is it too late to declare that The War on Terror will NOT decide Election, 2008? Nope. And Bush will have his tax cuts. And Bush will, most likely, have reformed Social Security. And Bush will, most likely, have stacked the Supreme Court with judges willing to interpret the Constitution, rather than contend that it is a sort of master rough draft, to be rewritten according to the fashion of the day. And Bush will, most likely, have enacted some Tort Reform.
And Republicans will run on… what?
No, seriously, I’m asking.