Why bother waiting until it actually happens to blog it? We all know it’s coming, as surely as death and those middle-class tax hikes to pay for ballooning health-care costs that Obama assured us ObamaCare would avert. The only question is who, among a journalistic crowd of eager Bush-hating water-carriers for Obama, will be the first to swallow his dignity, grab this bucket, and run with it?
Jonathan Last looks ahead:
One last thing–it’s going to be awesome when the media decides that the way to spin the uneasiness of the Team Perry and Team W camps is by painting George W. Bush as the thoughtful, sensible guy who just wasn’t comfortable with the brash, extremist Perry. You’ve never seen Strange New Respect like this!
Do they really need a “Bush/Perry tension” angle to do that, though? I think Rich Lowry’s right that this comparison will inevitably be the core of the Democrats’ message next year if Perry’s the nominee. As he phrases it: “George W. Bush, only more so.”
Perry makes Bush look like a sniveling elitist, what with his patrician, highly credentialed family. Perry went to Paint Creek Rural School in Haskell, Texas; Bush went to Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and then on to Yale and Harvard.
Perry is a great partisan of Texas and has mused about its leaving the union. He’s an evangelical Christian who unembarrassedly prays in public and for his state. He’s a tea partier who extols the Constitution and seeks a drastically limited federal government. He’s a law-and-order conservative in a state that still executes people.
It’d be almost impossible to come up with a background and cluster of affiliations so provocative. Texas has all the negative charge for liberals that Massachusetts does for conservatives. Perry will be branded as a backward, dimwitted, heartless neo-Confederate. A walking, talking threat to the separation of church and state who doesn’t realize people like him were supposed to slink away after the Scopes trial nearly 90 years ago.
The party itself won’t want to push that line of attack too hard or too early, but they don’t need to. That’s what the media’s for. Hence my question: Who’ll be the first, whether in print or on TV, to take up the “this guy makes me appreciate Bush!” narrative with gusto? And by “with gusto,” I mean more than an aside about Bush in the course of an op-ed attacking Perry; that’ll be a staple of left-wing commentary soon enough. What I mean is an entire column or cable-news segment evincing Strange New Respect for a man who not long ago was allegedly an American Hitler in the making. Most readers will say Krugman, I think, but I disagree: Remember, this is a guy whose Bush-hate was such that he actually burned effigies on election night 2008. Strange new respect for Dubya won’t come easy to him. I think Dowd’s a much better bet, partly because this topic is so lazy and obvious and partly because it lends itself to endless cutesy point-by-point comparisons between the two.
But I don’t think Dowd will be first either. The person who’s first will have to be not only prone to predictable Democratic messaging but in a constant state of agitation about just how kuh-ray-zee those right-wing crazies are. Here’s where I’m putting my money. Click the image to see how desperate his attacks on Perry have already gotten. I don’t know how I’m going to stomach 14 more months of this.
Update: Books don’t count!