The Democrats smell a repeat of 1992 in the making: A president named Bush has high approval numbers coming off a successful war against Saddam Hussein but with an economy in trouble. They couldn’t be more wrong, for one, simple, all-important reason: George W. Bush is ”’not”’ George H.W. Bush.
Popularity: #41’s popularity was never assured. Yes, he crushed Dukakis in the 1988 election, but he nuked the Republican base in 1990 when he went back on his no-new-taxes pledge by signing on to that stupid tax increase. The 90 percent high coming off the Gulf War truly was a temporary bounce. By running a terrible campaign that misread public angst over the economy, and having already stuck it to his base, #41 was vulnerable to Perot’s candidacy, which sapped far more votes from Bush than it did from Clinton. Consequently, Clinton won with a mere 43 percent of the vote.
His son, however, is popular in his own right. Unlike the 1991 Gulf War, 9/11 did not produce a temporary bounce. #43 already had a base of just over 50 percent during the first eight months of his presidency. He has done nothing to make his base abandon him. In fact, he scored a huge pre-9/11 victory through the passage of his tax reform plan. After 9/11, he added greatly to that base – and his overall job approval has never sunk meaningfully below 60 percent. Sixty percent in any election these days can be considered a landslide.
Another factor: most people trust #43. Agree with him or not, most find his transparent, consistent plain-spoken honesty refreshing. He hasn’t given us any reason to doubt his word.
The economy: The economy during the last year of #41’s term was in recovery. In fact, the recession was a very mild one, but you’d never know that from listening to the “mainstream” media and the garbage from the Clinton team about the “worst economy in the last 50 years.” Worse, you never heard it from #41’s campaign, either.
Contrary to Democrat and media belief, the today’s economy is not terrible. It’s just not growing fast — now. It’s been under pressure since the last year of Clinton, when the boom began turning into an echo. Then came 9/11 and then the corporate scandals. Those three events would have happened regardless of who was in the White House. The majority of people know that, and don’t blame Bush.
Had the corporate scandals not happened, we would have recovered already from 9/11. The corporate scandals hurt public trust in business, and that trust won’t be reinstated overnight. The Iraq question has weighed down the market for months. But now that it’s been settled overwhelmingly positively, the market is starting to rebound. Witness how the Dow has stayed above 8,000 since it became clear that the US would win quickly and big in Iraq. The economy will take off shortly. Bush’s tax plan will have the affect of kicking in the afterburners, because reductions in taxes and tax rates, by freeing up capital, always result in more tax money coming in. Democrats know this, but they cannot ever let Bush or any Republican win on this argument, else part of their reason for being will dissipate like so much smoke.
9/11: Any Democrat who thinks the state of the economy will defeat Bush is a fool, because such calculations leave out the 9/11 demarcation line. The terrorist attacks were as much of a dividing line between “then” and “now” as were the Revolution, the Civil War and WWII. “Everything is different now” is a clich