Watchdog Blog

Gilbert Cranberg: Bush Boycott in Iowa

Posted at 3:46 pm, August 14th, 2011
Gilbert Cranberg Mug

On Saturday August 13th, I cleared the deck of distractions and sat glued to C-span’s coverage of the Iowa GOP’s fundraiser in Ames, the extravaganza better known as the Iowa Straw Poll. I didn’t want to miss a word. The word I especially didn’t want to miss was “Bush.” How, I wondered, would this highly partisan crowd react to mention of the most recent Republican occupant of the White House? And who would bring it up, and in what context?

I waited in vain. The word “Bush” crossed no candidate’s lips. A remarkable omission given that the entire Ames exercise was devoted to putting a Republican in the White House, and between them the Bushes, father and son, had accomplished the feat three times.

There was no shortage of “Ronald Reagans” or “Abe Lincolns” issuing from the podium in Ames, but the boycott of the Bushes was almost palpable. Bush the elder, that is, George Herbert Walker Bush, left no major blemishes or lasting enemies and it would have been a nice courtesy to salute him, but singling out one Bush and ignoring the other would have been awkward, so both were boycotted. It’s telling that no one at this intensely partisan GOP shindig could breathe the names of the two most recent Republicans to make it to the White House.

There was no shortage of “Obamas” in Ames. Speaker after speaker excoriated the president, often in mocking and malevolent language. Of course, in that super-heated partisan atmosphere no one would dare suggest that at least some of Obama’s troubles were inherited.

It’s ironic that an exercise intended to make life difficult for Obama should offer a clue to how his re-election effort should be conducted. If the George W. Bush years are so unpopular that they cannot even be alluded to in front of a presumably friendly audience, the Democratic re-election strategy should be obvious, especially since deficits are on everyone’s mind and there is more than a kernel of truth to the description of Bush’s credit-card presidency.

One Response to “Bush Boycott in Iowa”

  1. mitch says:

    They allready won whipping that horse. this time around they will be whipping a dead horse. The American people are not patient, and 4 years of the same, or worse, cant be all laid on Bush. If Obama stays below 40% approval rating he’s toast.

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