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November 9, 2004
Misunderestimated No More

CNN's Carlos Watson takes an unusual tack for the mainstream media, analyzing George Bush and his history and determining him to be a political genius:

Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an independent, it is hard not to look at President Bush's re-election victory last week and conclude that he is probably one of the three or four most talented politicians of the last half of a century.

Why do I write that? Think about it. In 10 short years, George Walker Bush has won not just one but three high-profile political races that most able politicians would have lost.

In 1994, with no real previous political experience, he beat a popular incumbent governor in the nation's second most populous state. Six years later, he beat a sitting vice president during a time of peace and prosperity. And last week, with a mediocre economy, an unpopular war and a well-funded and unified opposition, he not only won his race but also helped increase Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

Watson points this out just a bit late for all of Bush's opponents who have underestimated his strangled syntax for stupidity. With the re-election success, Bush has written his name into the history books and erased the one-term stigma of his father. Bush has done all this by always challenging the prevailing wisdom. Ann Richards was too popular to lose the governorship to a political neophyte. Al Gore should have been invincible after the illusion of eight years of peace and prosperity, a chimera that fell away within months of the Clintons leaving office but a powerful perception in November 2000. Despite the conventional wisdom of leaving political space between the sitting president and mid-term elections, Bush put on a high-profile campaign and bucked history, winning back effective control of the Senate and extending the GOP's thin margin in the House. Kerry's combat experience and a wave of Bush-hatred, combined with a hostile and unethical mainstream media, should have buried Bush this time around.

And all of this while his opponents derided him as a brain-dead chimp.

If you look closer at his personal electoral history, you can see another, more personal dynamic at work, one that also belies the "amiable dunce" facade that critics also hung on Reagan. Rumored to be his father's ruthless hatchet man in the first Bush presidency, his political victories have had a distinctive resonance to them. In his first foray, he soundly thumped the woman who had derided his father at the 1992 Democratic convention by saying that "Poor George" had been born with a silver foot in his mouth. Two years later, Ann Richards was supposedly still ascendant when Bush cut short her political career. In 2000, he defeated the running mate of the man who made his father a one-termer. In 2004, he managed to beat a man who may have been the first to dismiss him as an intellectually inferior frat boy back in his days at Yale, although that pairing had little to do with Bush's choice; it just seems serendipitous in retrospect.

Watson apologizes in advance for any unintentional endorsement of Bush's policy stances, but he drives the point home that Bush may be an unrecognized political genius in the mold of Reagan and Clinton. I'd argue that Bush more emulates Reagan and Truman than Clinton, whose political genius sprang from his singular ability to be all things to (almost) all people. Whichever one chooses, no one can seriously doubt the skills of the man who prevailed in three sure-loser political battles. Too bad the Democrats didn't open their eyes a little bit sooner.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 9, 2004 6:09 AM

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» He's not Dumb?? from BroncoBlog
Well it turns out Bush ain't so dumb after all! As Captain's Quarters notes in this recent post, CNN & the MSM are now talking about Bush as a political genius.... [Read More]

Tracked on November 9, 2004 11:31 AM

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