October 20, 2012

WHEN HISTORY RHYMES PART II: Ed Morrissey on “When desperation strikes incumbents,” Flashing back to Bush #41 in 1992:

Bush then spoke, and went after Clinton and Al Gore in a personal, demeaning way I’d not heard from the President before then:

At a midday GOP rally at Macomb Community College, the president unleashed a rhetorical fusillade on Bill Clinton and running mate Sen. Albert Gore Jr., attacking their fitness for office, their character and charging, “My dog Millie knows more about foreign policy than these two bozos.”

In particular, Bush targeted Gore, whom he now calls “Ozone Man,” or just plain “Ozone.” “You know why I call him Ozone Man?” Bush said. “This guy is so far out in the environmental extreme, we’ll be up to our neck in owls and outta work for every American. He is way out, far out, man.”

When I heard that, I thought to myself, “What President talks like that?”  Part of the advantage the office gives an incumbent is its gravitas.  Bush’s own history as a diplomat, intelligence executive, and war hero gave him plenty more of that.  Bush abandoned that in the final week in schoolyard name-calling. That’s not why Bush lost the election, of course.  It was, however, the moment that I knew he’d lost it — and was pretty sure he knew he was losing, too.

Keep that in mind when you hear Barack Obama on the stump talking about “Romnesia.”  Those elementary-school attacks using people’s names are something one usually farms out to surrogates (and is pretty lame regardless).

Read the whole thing — and recall that such a churlish tone was also Obama’s style in the fall of 2010. Remember all of the “Slurpee-sippin'” “car in the ditch,” “Republicans gotta sit in the back” analogies from Obama as he flailed about on the stump, knowing his party was on its way to lose the midterms.

But as the Professor likes to note, avoid the emanation of the ambiance of excessive self-confidence, young person. It only matters if people show up.

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