How far does Anti-Bush message get the Dems?

Rob Portman, Director of the Office of Managem...
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Cross posted from Ohio Politics Online.

This USA Today article says what any observant person already knows:

Many Democratic candidates are planning to run against two Republicans in the next election — their GOP opponent and former president George W. Bush.

But the question is how long will this last and how far will it get them?

  • Democrats control the White House and both houses of congress; in Ohio the governor’s office and the Ohio House.
  • The economy is sinking as various Democratic plans to get it back on track have so far failed miserably.
  • I have a hard time seeing any of this change any time soon.

So do we really think that simply shouting “He worked for Bush!” constantly at people like Rob Portman is going to win these races? At some point aren’t the voters likely to see Democrats as the incumbent party?

Perhaps I am overly optimistic or naive but I don’t believe Anti-Bush sentiment is going to win these races.  I think if Republicans can focus on the issues and make the case that Democrats don’t know how to bring economic recovery and growth, but only know how to reward their political cronies, then the Bush label won’t carry much weight.

Most of these candidates are free to admit that the GOP “lost its way” but then can focus on jobs and growth. Obama’s drastic actions on some many issues dwarfs the so called “failed policies of the past” that that attack only gets you so far.  The same is true of Ohio.  Did Bush bust the budget? Did Bush allow NCR to leave?  Is Bush still responsible for the jobs fleeing the state?

I think voters are going to look at the serious problems they are facing and want more than name calling.  I am not saying that voters default opinion may be anti-Bush, but that the seriousness of our problems will make them open to Republicans that can articulate a different vision and force the Democrats to defend their record in the majority.

I think Jennifer Duffy gets it right:

Independent political analyst Jennifer Duffy says running against Bush could well work for Democrats in the short term by rallying Democrats and wooing independents. “The bluer the state, the more effective it’s going to be,” says Duffy, senior editor with The Cook Political Report.

The effectiveness may wane long-term, however, she says: “At some point Obama — whether he wants to or not — has to own his decisions on a lot of things.”

What do you think?