GWB rehabilitation project comes on-line.

(Via @jeffemanuel)  As many people have noted, the Left’s favorite rhetorical game in the whole wide world is the classic These new Republicans are awful, unlike all the good Republicans that we used to have. It’s popular mostly because it’s easily – in fact, continually – adapted to the contemporary era, and nobody in its target audience seems to really notice that they quietly switch out devil figures as the situation demands.  Well, almost nobody: there’s always the fringe dupes who made the mistake of actually believing the agitprop, to the point where their identity and sense of self-worth is inextricably tied up in hating one, specific Republican.  Fortunately for the Democrats, those poor unfortunates generally shrivel up into irrelevancy – and, thirty years later, shouting through battery-operated megaphones for the benefit of local news stations.

But enough with the charming tableau.  The point is that it’s now George W Bush’s turn to be rehabilitated, now that the Left has a Republican House to demonize, and time is not being wasted.  The first real effort along those lines will apparently appear in the Sunday Opinion section of the Washington Post (which is nice rhetorical real estate to get, frankly), and it’s called “5 myths about George W. Bush.”  He’s apparently not a illiterate cowboy, he really did mean it about compassionate conservatism (and liked minorities!) and really didn’t mean it about nation-building, did not let Cheney run the country from behind the scenes, and didn’t destroy conservatism for a generation.

Now, I know that a bunch of people are going to read the previous paragraph and grumble at the sight of the phrase “compassionate conservatism” (because they read it – not necessarily unfairly – as “stealth liberalism”), but that’s not actually the point.  The point is that, like every other Republican president preceding him, George W Bush is now going to have his record and narrative tweaked until it becomes acceptably liberal enough to permit using him to attack current Republicans.  This is noteworthy for two reasons:

  1. It’s going to infuriate a whole slew of liberals, progressives, and other bitter-clingers.
  2. The trade-off for this sort of thing is that since they can’t rewrite people like Reagan or Bush into full-bore liberals, they have to incorporate some of those people’s core beliefs into the new narrative.  In Reagans’s case, the ones that got brought in were the inherent value of middle-class tax cuts and the inherent evil of the Soviet Union.  In George HW Bush’s case, it was the necessity of liberating Kuwait from Saddam Hussein.  In GWB’s case, it’ll probably be the obvious need for some kind of GWOT.  This also infuriates a whole slew of liberals, progressives, and other bitter-clingers.

The process will, of course, be accelerated when we put a Republican President in office – which will either be two or six years from now, and the odds are slightly improving that it’ll be the former – but I expect that we’re going to see a lot more rehabilitation work going on in the next three months.  The Republican party is very unnervingly (to Democrats, at least) acting quite soberly about Tuesday’s election results…

Moe Lane (crosspost)


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  • Anita Hurley says:

    This is going to be a particularly hard one for them to pull off though. With Reagan and GHWBush, they had the 8 years of Clinton’s presidency before GWBush had to become Bushitler.

    But Obama is only two years in and he stinks up the place badly enough that they are worried they’ll have to revise history in 4 years. That’s a little tougher. Some people can still remember when he blew up the levies to kill black people and ran a torture chamber from the Oval Office.

    If they have to start mentioning the AIDS work he did, or the fact that his deficits were non-existent compared to the new Doofus’ deficits, before the accusations have had a chance to reach their half-life, people may start to doubt the veracity of the media. Oh. Wait…

  • Ric Locke says:

    Bah, Anita.

    The Daily Worker could do a doctrine switch and have the paper on the streets on time, even if the print run was already complete. Compared to that, changing a few URIs when The Word comes down is nothing.


  • Murgatroyd says:

    I don’t think that they’ll significantly rehabilitate George W. Bush before 2013. He’s still too useful as a boogieman.

    Modern “progressives” can be understood if you regard them as a new incarnation of an old movement: royalists. Ask a “progressive” about any failure of progressivism, or socialism, or communism, and you’ll usually get this answer: it would have succeeded if the right people had been in charge. By a curious coincidence, the right people always happens to include the person who’s telling you this. They’re the elite, the people who went to the right schools, the people who know all the other right people, the people who know so much that they’re qualified — nay, entitled! — to run other people’s lives.

    So that leads to my prediction for 2012: if Barack Obama continues to screw up, he’ll be challenged by Evan Bayh, or Hillary Clinton, or Jerry Brown. It’ll be important to continue the Obama Administration’s policies, you see, because they’re fundamentally correct — they just need to be tweaked a bit, that’s all, and we need to better communicate to the stupid proles American People how wonderful the Democratic Party’s policies really are. The only problem was that the right people weren’t in charge.

    But they can fix that for us.

  • Murgatroyd says:

    Hmf. The <strike> tag doesn’t work. Please imagine a line running through the words “stupid proles” in the previous comment.

  • President Bush is not really trying to rehabilitate his presidency for current generations, those battle lines, to mix my metaphors are pretty much set in stone. He might win some angry Republicans back to his side, but I don’t think that’s his purpose or his interest here. He wants to make sure history gets his side of the story. And, thankfully, it will. And because it will, he will be remembered by history far better than he is remembered by the current, shamefully ungrateful generations.

    People can say what they will about President Bush, but a little perspective helps. And President Bush was, without a doubt, the second best president of the past 50 years. (Ike was 51 years ago). That’s big.

    When time provides necessary perspective, I think President Bush will go down as a near-great president.

    I know it’s de rigueur among conservatives to throw Bush under the bus, but he doesn’t deserve it. He was a far better president, and far more conservative president than he gets credit for, even from our side.

  • Jocon307 says:

    What is meant by GWOT?

    If anyone can explain that acronym to me I’d be grateful.

    I’ll probably feel stupid not being able to figure it out, but that’s a price I’ll gladly pay for understanding.

  • Nigel Ray says:

    GWOT = Global War on Terror

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