Why Romney Must Distance Himself from George W. Bush, the President with a Job Approval as Low as Nixon’s after Watergate “Mr. Romney should face what didn’t work the past 12 years. Republicans took some wrong turns, and they know it. Centrists and independents know it, too.” Peggy Noonan, The Long Race Has Begun, Wall
Why Romney Must Distance Himself from George W. Bush, the President with a Job Approval as Low as Nixon’s after Watergate
“Mr. Romney should face what didn't work the past 12 years. Republicans took some wrong turns, and they know it. Centrists and independents know it, too." Peggy Noonan, The Long Race Has Begun, Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012 Vol. V, No. 21 2:13 pm
The Bush Family Will Understand
I do a lot of public speaking, primarily to business trade association groups. I frequently see the look of bewilderment on the faces of the "anybody but Obama" audience members when I state that President Barack Obama's job approval is 48% and that at 50% he wins a second term.
The "anybody but Obama" audience members cannot conceive of how it could be remotely possible that Obama could have a near-50% job approval in light of his record in dealing with the nation’s economic crisis; the debt problem, the deficit spending, the unemployment.
That’s when I remind them that President George W. Bush’s job approval was 25% in October of 2008, as low as President Nixon’s job approval after Watergate in 1974 or as low as President Truman’s job approval after he fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1951.
I can think of no political variable keeping President Obama within striking range of second term than the fear of a third Bush administration under Mitt Romney’s leadership.
On June 1, 2012, Peggy Noonan, President Reagan’s primary speech writer, wrote a commentary in The Wall Street Journal titled, The Long Race Has Begun. The last two paragraphs are startling in their depth of political wisdom, calling for Romney to face Republican mistakes:
Mr. Romney should face what didn't work the past 12 years. Republicans took some wrong turns, and they know it. Centrists and independents know it, too. Candor here, delivered in a spirit of honesty, without animus, would seem not like a repudiation but a refreshment. And this would be deeply undercutting of Mr. Obama, who needs this race to be a fight between two parties, not a fight between a past that didn't work and a future that can.
The Bush family will understand. They respect politics, and its practitioners.
It would take away a key political advantage from President Obama
Today, July 2, 2012, Molly K. Hooper, writing for The Hill, says in her commentary titled, GOP lawmakers: Romney needs to distance himself from Bush, that if Romney distanced himself from the mistakes of the Bush administration, it “would take away a key political advantage from President Obama, who has repeatedly suggested Romney would embrace Bush-like policies in the White House.”
As Gallup polling has consistently shown, more voters still blame Bush for today’s economic problems than blame Obama. Taking a stand against the irresponsible fiscal policy of the Bush and Obama eras is politically safe with independent voters and the GOP-leaning Tea Partiers. The Tea Party swarmed into the national political arena because of their frustration with big spending conservative Republicans, not just big spending liberal Democrats!
On May 30, 2012, Jonah Goldberg, writing for the National Review Online, says in his commentary titled, Memo to Mitt: Run Against Bush, that Republicans during the Bush era helped create today’s economic problems and “they should concede the point.” Goldberg writes: “Romney is under no obligation to defend the Republican performance during the Bush years. Indeed, if he’s serious about fixing what’s wrong with Washington, he has an obligation not to defend it.”
Goldberg concludes, “Voters don’t want a president to rein in runaway Democratic spending; they want one to rein in runaway Washington spending.”
Romney’s two big political rewards for facing Republican mistakes
According to Gallup today, July 2, 2012, President Obama leads Mitt Romney, 48% to 43%, among registered voters in the latest Gallup Daily tracking seven-day average, which spans June 25-July 1.
There can be no explanation for why President Obama is consistently ahead of Romney in the presidential trial heat polls, and why his job approval is still at 48%, other than most Americans still see the Bush administration and congressional Republicans of the last decade as the instigators of the nation’s economic crisis.
There are two big political rewards waiting for Romney if he begins to place equal blame on Bush and Obama for the nation’s history of irresponsible spending. One is integrity. As Peggy Noonan wrote, Candor here, delivered in a spirit of honesty, without animus, would seem not like a repudiation but a refreshment.
The other reward is independent voters. They could care less about which party solves the problems of the day. They just want leadership with integrity who they can trust to stay focused on those problems and not sell out to their party.
Premium Annual Subscription is $245. Subscribe online at www.johndavisconsulting.com/subscribe, or mail your check to John Davis Political Report, P.O. Box 30714, Raleigh, NC, 27622. P.S.: Need a speaker? Let me know if you need a speaker or a moderator for a political panel. Audiences are particularly interested in politics this year due to the nation’s economic crisis and the many other uncertainties. Inquire about availability here. JND