What is the source of the bizarre co-dependent relationship conservatives have with George Bush?
Another huge drag was the deep unpopularity of the incumbent Republican President. Let us not deal in cheap shots. George Bush is a good man who did a lot of good things. But he never seemed to understand that an essential role of leadership is communicating to the country and persuading it as to where we need to go and why.
Ferrara worries that blaming Bush for the loss is a "cheap shot." Yet he then goes on to note that Republicans were doomed by the inept handling of the September financial crisis and the failure to secure victory in Iraq. It is not a cheap shot to note that both of those were 100% GWB productions.
And lest i be accused of Monday Morning Quarterbacking, i wrote this two and a half years ago:
If you look at Lifson's examples, that same tendency is apparent; Bush's loyalty has been to "his people"-White House staffers, cabinet officers, etc. He shows very little loyalty, sympathy, or understanding for the broader coalition he leads-Republicans, conservatives, the military. He too often treats them as pawns whose only role is to obey the decisions he has made. He was willing to embarrass Senate Republicans by nominating Miers to the Supreme Court, he is willing undercut the Republican House on immigration, he panders on gas prices and was wobbly on the rights of gun owners. He is a wartime president who passes out Medals of Freedom to Muhammad Ali and neocon polemicists.
In sum, I see more reasons for pessimism than Lifson. The last couple of years of any administration are difficult. The habits of mind that GWB formed at HBS might make his especially difficult.