Sunday, August 19, 2012

How Bush killed the Left

It's not news that Bush the Younger is not held in high regard. One recent poll shows that he is the least popular of the living ex-presidents, the only one with a sub 50% approval rating. The GOP knows this, and his absence from the campaign trail contrasts sharply with Bill Clinton's activism.

This masks an important point: Bush has done more to advance the libertarian cause than any other single person. His truly spectacular mismanagement convinced people across the political spectrum that Reagan was right, "government isn't the solution to our problem: it's the problem." While Grover Norquist aligned the GOP around the mission of shrinking government to where they could "drown it in a bathtub," it was Bush who got the rubber to meet the road by disillusioning the broader electorate -including the far left- to the point where they have wholly abandoned the premise that government is good. Consider the following two excerpts from a 2011 Gallup report titled "Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government":

1. "A record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building for the past 10 years."

2. "Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar...up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago, and from an average 43 cents three decades ago."

Game, set, and match. In a future post, I'll explore the enormity of this to the progressive movement. Or maybe not. Why bother? (damn - get him out of my head!)