May 04, 2003

Forty-One v. Forty-Three and the Base

As I continue to think about the pending 2004 elections, several thoughts come to mind as to how, despite some cosmetic similarities, that Forty-Three's chances are radically better than were Forty-One's. First, and foremost is, as I have oft-stated: national security. For Forty-One, national security was off the table by the time the elections rolled around, and the Gulf War victory was seen as a conclusion, not part of a broader conflict. For Forty-Three national security will be front and center, and the victory in GWII will be evidence that Forty-Three is winning the broader War on Terror.

Another key difference is the relationship between Forty-Three and the Republican base--it is quite different than that relationship that Forty-One had with the base in 1992.

By 1991 the Republican base was rather dissatisfied with Forty-One. Indeed, one could argue that he never really had their hearts, so to speak. Sure, he was the Gipper’s Veep, but he wasn’t the Gipper. Sure, he was better than Dukakis, but I recall that many thought his inaugural speech, with the promise for a “kinder, gentler” nation was a slam at Reagan and his confrontations with Democrats in Congress. And then there was “Read my lips: no new taxes” and the subsequent tax hike. Even with the Gulf War victory he faced a protest challenge from Patrick J. Buchanan in the primaries. Buchanan took 36.5% of the vote in New Hampshire in 1992, signaling some clear discontent amongst the Republican faithful. I vividly recall many a caller to the Rush Limbaugh show stating, as they pondered Perot, that “it can’t get any worse.”

By contrast, Bush is almost as popular with Republican voters as Reagan was. Granted--having the base locked up does not guarantee victory, but it is a great foundation upon which to build. Further, it is an issue of comparison between father and son that I think has largely been overlooked in the Bush I v. Bush II comparisons in the press.

Posted by Steven Taylor at May 4, 2003 08:12 AM | TrackBack

Those pesky, but stupid, "congnescenti" haven't yet swallowed the fact that the quiet Americans have been given a voice, in spite of their best efforts. Poor babies.....NOT.

Posted by: MommaBear at May 4, 2003 04:18 PM
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