Monday, July 11, 2011

Bush Peeps vs. Rick Peeps? A Feud? Overblown?

Douglas MacKinnon sez the Rick vs. Bush thing is way overblown (link). Excerpt follows...

MacKinnon: Don't believe the anonymous chatter about a Perry-Bush feud 

For all of those trying to make that into something it's not, I've got some news for you. Most Republicans, conservatives, independents and Americans who are paying attention could care less. Ultimately they just want to know two things: Is Perry going to run, and if he is, does he represent the adult leadership the voters are so desperately seeking?
What does bother people are anonymous quotes from cowardly political aides who operate from the shadows and make not so thinly veiled threats. That New York Times story showcased two of them. The first "warned Mr. Perry against establishing his own conservative bona fides by criticizing Mr. Bush, saying, ‘If you're really trying to be the nominee and want to go the distance, you just don't want the former president of the United States and his people working against you.' "
The second chimed in with, "He's going to need all the help he can get from all the Republicans he can muster, so he ought to be prudent about that."
A few things about those anonymous threats. First, do these "close associates" of Bush really mean to say that if Perry does happen to have an honest difference of opinion on policy, that he's not allowed to voice it? Ever? Second, that if Perry does vocalize a difference, then Bush's "people" are going to work against him? What's that mean, exactly? Back another Republican? Donate to the Obama campaign? Hold their breath until they turn blue? What?

I agree with a lot of this. Blood got a little boiling at times between a camps during the 2010 race. Remember, my whole thing was that I had great friends on both sides of the Rick vs. Kay divide. A lot of those Kay peeps were Bush peeps, but a lot of those Rick peeps were also Bush peeps, something often overlooked by people trying to drive a certain agenda.

I will say though that Karen Hughes does seem like she is cruising for a bruising (link). No matter how often I have seen her praise Rick and his campaign when she speaks at luncheons and gatherings, she still does seem to end up on the other side from Rick on many important and hotly debated issues. For example, Rick and his conservative allies are trying to shake up colleges and universities and tame the explosion of costs and the bubble forming in higher education ... Karen Hughes' public relations shop is meanwhile issuing press releases trashing Rick and the efforts of the reform minded think tanks on behalf of the UT administration... one wonders how many taxpayer dollars are being spent trashing reform and rallying around the status quo but I digress...

Even on this issue... it doesn't feel like something that will kill relations between Bush peeps and Rick peeps. Karen Hughes is just one person. Karl Rove who was also a Kay person is on television regularly pimping Rick as a great communicator, great fundraiser, a smart and savvy politician, and all of that...

Don't forget also when Bush's campaign manager Joe Allbaugh endorsed Rick over Kay... and many other staffers worked for both Bush and Rick... there are a lot of examples of the Bush team being with Rick, but the examples of them not seem to dominate the headlines.

Rick has some policy differences from George W. Bush. No Child Left Behind was a signature piece of legislation for Bush. Rick hated it because it expanded federal power and dumped costs and mandates onto Texas and other states... Bush never or rarely used his veto pen to the point of allowing a lot of spending... Rick has vetoed many billions in spending and line item vetoed a lot as well. Rick is generally more conservative than Bush on some issues... but that doesn't mean they don't get along or that Bush's peeps... other than maybe Karen Hughes on ed reform... are going to actively work against Rick....

Rick will obviously get questions about Bush if he hits the campaign trail. Rick will need to distance himself from some of the policies of Bush... and if pointing out substantive policy differences antagonizes the anonymous Bush peeps who feel the Bush legacy is their legacy... well... they are just being petty.

Strangely enough Rick mostly benefits from the perception that there are two distinct camps and Rick's camp is different and disliked by the Bush camp... yes Bush's reputation is rapidly being rehabilitated especially when people remember that the "terrible jobless Bush economy" had an unemployment rate of 5.2% on average while Obama's "recovery" is planted firmly above 9%... still... Bush still gets blamed by a lot of Americans for the economic situation we are in right now. Rick has the economy going his way but he may have some difficulty convincing peeps that a man from Texas has the solutions due to the Bush baggage... that is just a reality... and the reality is that Rick is reportedly going to call Bush for advice on running for president... they are friends in that professional sense... and I think they both realize the legacies and histories will be written later... and in the meantime politics sometimes requires distancing yourself a little bit from your friends...

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.