I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mitt's Bush Problem

This piece in Politico is getting a lot of attention, Inside the campaign: How Mitt Romney stumbled, it is mostly about the infighting and finger pointing within the Romney campaign.  Matt Yglesias thinks Romney's real problem is a Bush problem.

The other issue is that whatever you make of the fundamentals, the dark cloud hanging over the Romney campaign has a name. And it's not the name of "top strategist" Stuart Stevens. It's the name Bush—specifically in its George W. variety, though George H.W. doesn't help. It's a name people associate with recent Republican presidents and economic performance that ranges from poor (father) to disastrous (son).
Democrats were really eager to highlight Bill Clinton at their convention, while George W. Bush was kept far far away from Tampa. Which shows that at some level the GOP understands that the problem exists and its basic dimensions. But the idea that people are going to forget Bush was president four years ago because he's not on stage at a convention is silly. And the Bush economy was really bad! Even before the recession, liberal wonks had all kinds of dataseries to show he'd presided over the weakest postwar expansion ever and then it was punctuated by the worst postwar recession. A campaign whose premise is that the GOP will restore prosperity will naturally labor against the presupposition that it'll actually just bring back Bush-era policies and Bush-era results.
I think that's largely true.  While the campaign has not demonstrated a lot of competence they didn't have a lot to work with.  What few specifics Romney has put out sound very much like the policies of George W. Bush.  Combine that with his neoconservative saber rattling and Romney looks like Bush III.

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