As Barack Obama continues to enjoy the "sugar high" from last week's DNC in Charlotte, some conservatives are freaking out because Mitt Romney hasn't taken the lead with just eight weeks to go before the presidential election.
On Monday morning, talk show host Laura Ingraham said, "If you can't beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down. Start new, with new people."
But before everyone piles on Romney as an imperfect candidate, some are looking back — at George W. Bush.
Today on the New York Times website, one of its house conservatives, Ross Douthat, wrote a blog post about president 43 called, "The Elephant in the Room." Douthat described how in 2004, the Republican Party still had a good enough reputation enabling Bush to win re-election. But:
Four years later, the dream was dead, and the public’s trust on both fronts was all-but-exhausted. The mismanagement of the Iraq occupation, piled on top of the W.M.D. fiasco, cost Bush’s party its reputation for foreign policy competence, while the Bush boom, such as it was, delivered weaker returns to the middle class than either the Reagan or the Clinton expansion — and then the financial crisis undid even those meager gains.
Since Bush left office, conservatives have been willing to acknowledge his failures as a fiscal conservative and to promise more responsibility on deficits and debt. This has been a necessary and important shift, responsible both for the energy of the Tea Party in the 2010 midterm elections and for the current Republican ticket’s (relatively) brave proposals on entitlement reform.