Commentary Magazine


George W. Bush Only Goes So Far

David Broder thinks the shoe is on the other foot in the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey this year. He argues that, unlike Obama in 2008, the Democrats won’t be able to blame George W. Bush this time around: “The election results may well show how much of the responsibility for the bad economy has shifted to their shoulders — and implicitly to Obama’s.”

Yes, I suppose it will be hard to blame Bush for the $2B budget deficit in New Jersey or for Corzine’s payoffs to his ex-girlfriend (a powerful union president at the time.) But Broder is a bit off on one point, declaring: “A victory by either McDonnell or Christie is likely to strengthen the pragmatist camp in internal Republican debates — the people who argue that mobilizing the conservative base is not enough for victory in competitive races.”

Actually both Christie and McDonnell are running not on “pragmatic” fiscal policies, but conservative one, so it’s even more critical for Obama to beat them both. If people get the idea that liberal government doesn’t work and conservatives have better ideas, where will it end?