When the Washington Post announced the addition of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to its Editorial Board, words like “thoughtful analysis” and "strong arguments" were thrown around liberally. Instead, for her debut piece, Maddow trotted out perhaps the most hackneyed line of liberal libel: Blame Bush.
Maddow’s piece, “How George W. Bush failed the GOP” is as shallow in its analysis as it is unoriginal in its direction. Essentially, Maddow says that, because no prominent Republican leaders emerged from the Bush administration, the former President is to blame for the current shortfalls of the GOP:
Unlike the Reagan administration, the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration, the George W. Bush presidency elevated precisely no one to the ranks of national leadership who wasn’t there before. The 2008 Republican presidential primaries were like some odd eight-year cicada hatch in which the candidates went underground in 2000 and then birthed themselves after Bush and Cheney were gone, as if the intervening years had never happened.
Pperhaps the genius of Maddow’s argument is its inherent ambiguity. Did the Clinton presidency benefit Democrats more politically because Clinton’s Vice President lost a Presidential bid, and the First Lady was elected to the Senate in New York? And who exactly did the George H.W. Bush presidency help politically besides his children?
No matter. What Maddow really cares about, besides bashing Bush, is making sure President Obama doesn’t make the same “mistake”:
The collapse of national leadership prospects for the Republican Party is one of the greatest political failures and most important legacies of George W. Bush. Barack Obama looks less likely to repeat that fate, but it depends on a strong grove of nationally viable Democrats starting to grow now. The crescendo of attention to Elizabeth Warren is a healthy part of that process, as is the growing national interest in such diverse Democrats as Sherrod Brown, Claire McCaskill, Cory Booker, Wendy Davis, Martin O’Malley, Deval Patrick, Andrew Cuomo and Amy Klobuchar.
Only time will tell the fate of that “strong grove” of up and coming Democrats. But if their political performance is anything like Maddow’s debut column, most likely we can just expect more of the same.