Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Astute Political Commentary

Paul Weyrich is writing this week on the 2008 election cycle. He quickly dismisses Guilliani and McCain as not conservative, and then moves on to the example of George H. W. Bush in 1988. However, his lesson is not entirely clear.
If conservatives do as they did in 1988 the more liberal candidate would win. That candidate happened to be Bush '41, who was viewed by non-activist voters as being a third Reagan term. Bush was not really a liberal but he was not a conservative either. That is why he lost. The one thing voters knew about him was "read my lips. No new taxes." Then when he sought the largest tax increase in American history voters felt betrayed. If conservatives had had a single candidate in 1988 Bush could have taken second place in the Republican primaries. It wasn't until late in the game that Bush had a majority in primaries. He had pluralities, yes, but no outright majority until South Dakota.
I'm not exactly sure what Weyrich is saying here. Bush won both the nomination and the Presidency in 1988; so I don't know exactly what he lost.

It's possible that all elections are as one for Weyrich; and he sees the failures of 1988 costing him the presidency in 1992. Or it's possible that the "he" in "That is why he lost" refers to the hypothetical conservative candidate that could have taken the nomination in 1988. Although that doesn't make any sense either.

Anyway Weyrich's point is simple enough. More conservatism. You can never be conservative enough, and when you are as far right as Weyrich is, President Bush doesn't look very conservative at all.

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