"Katrina Liberals" and the End of Bush's 2nd Term Agender


Over at Ragged Thots, occasional Reason contributor and NY Postie Robert A. George discusses the possibility of how Hurricane K just blew away any hope for a successful second term by Dubya. Bonus irony: As George points out, Hurricane Andrew helped do in Bush I. Here he discusses Republican operative Bill Kristol's appearance on Fox News Sunday:

To the extent that the "second-term agenda" (i.e. Social Security, extending tax cuts, etc.) wasn't already in trouble, Katrina just swept it away. Kristol said that he sees no sign that suddenly people are want more taxes instead of less taxes….

But, here's the big question: Did Kristol just sleep through 1992? Did he forget what Hurricane Andrew did to President H.W. Bush's presidency? Yes, Clinton's "It's the economy, stupid" was the memorable political slogan. But, the Bush administration's seeming slowness to respond to Hurricane Andrew helped craft the image that it was out-to-lunch when it came to domestic matters (the racial component evident in Katrina didn't come into play– that came into play earlier in the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles). Kristol was Dan Quayle's chief of staff at the time. You'd think he would remember the curve ball that Mother Nature can toss into the political ballgame.

How weird that Iraq and hurricane's may play parallel roles in the respective legacies of two George Bushes….

If the terrorist attacks mugged liberals into reality and turned them into 9/11 conservatives, one can't ignore the possibility that the events of this past week may force many Republicans to become "Katrina liberals." At the very least, if one thought the Bush spending was insane in the first term—baby, buckle your seat belts and hand over your wallets for the budget-busting spree in the second term.

Whole thing here.

One needn't sign on to every aspect of George's analysis to agree that Bush 2's second term is coming a cropper and that Katrina provides the punctuation mark to the prez's failure so far to sell the Iraq war better, do anything about Social Security, etc. Between rising gas prices and the perception of failure to prepare for Katrina–and mid-term election wrangling swinging into full gear in a few months, it's going to be tough for him to do much from here on out.

Way back when, I hypothesized that Bush had anywhere from six months to two years to git 'r done in his second term, before something stopped him cold (probably a scandal). Well, just as no one was expecting the Spanish Inquisition, no one expected something like this (not to mention the near-simultaneous opening of two, count 'em two, Supreme Court openings to stretch out the political process this time around).

Back in February, we asked a panel of luminaries to list 7 high hopes and 7 big fears of a Bush second term.