2004: Bush is Toast

William Saletan made a famous but completely wrong prediction that Bush is Toast prior to the 2000 election. (He gracefully admitted his mistake later, but i can't find the link).

I thought he was loony to make the claim at the time, but admired his willingness to say something daring. It was probably the most exciting piece of analysis written during the whole election, for it's simple bravado.

I think I am ready to emulate it - by declaring that Bush is Toast in 2004. The reason is, because of the primacy of Karl Rove after the resignation of Karen Hughes.

Since then, the Bush administration has had mis-step after mis-step, alienating core constituencies, egregiously breaking campaign promises, and tilting at windmills. Examples:

The International Association of Firefighters are angry that Bush plans to scrap a promised $340 million to fund fire departments nationwide. Quote: "We will work actively to not grant [Bush] another photo op with us." Quoth the fire fighter's union president: "Don't lionize our fallen brothers in one breath, and then stab us in the back by eliminating funding for our members to fight terrorism and stay safe. President Bush, you are either with us or against us. You can't have it both ways." (They don't plan to boycott the 9-11 memorial, though)

2. The American Legion is getting pissed off at Bush also for breaking his pledge of $275 million to reduce backlogs at Veteran's Hospitals nationwide.

[American Legion National Commander Richard Santos] recalled how Bush, as a presidential candidate, pledged to the Legion's 2000 national convention that he would, if elected, "work with Congress to raise the standard of service not just for veterans, but for our military retirees."

Now, said Santos, "we feel we've been let down. A verbal promise in front of 6,000 people is something you have to keep."

3. Ashcroft wants to create detention camps for citizens. On a related note, Hesiod notes that the NRA really should be backing Democrats, given the piss-poor record of the GOP on personal rights issues.

4. War plans for Iraq continue, with conservatives demanding that we bring back the draft. This, despite opposition to invading Iraq from notable conservatives and military experts including Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Lawrence Eagleberger, Chuck Hagel, Richard Armitage, and Dick Armey. Not to mention Norman Schwarzkopf, and Richard Lugar and Doug Bandow.

5. The demographic trends in America favor Democrats in the long run (for example, former swing-state Michigan)

6. Gore's populist streak certainly seems a lot more relevant and resonates a hell of a lot more today than it did during boom times. Gore the Prophet? Certainly, Enron and Haliburton will have an effect.

(btw, articles from TNR require registration now. But, I have posted the demographic trend article to unmedia list, you can get it from the list archives)

There's plenty more stuff at that other WSJ. Yet, Rove is more concerned with ideological photo opportunities:

and, the Left is pretty energized. Old-style liberals who waste political effort and capital on "being courteous" are losing ground to more aggressive types who are not afraid to meet conservatives on the field. Whereas the right is so paralyzed by its addiction to invective that it's reduced to criticizing American victims of terror in Israel. And Bush's core team of so-called Confidence Men seems to believe in their own myth far too much.

Bush is Toast. You read it here first :)

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