History

"Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say, but I redefined the Republican Party."

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If you miss those days when you had to preface every other statement with "Yes, I know President Bush says he's a free market guy but he's just confused," former White House speechwriter Matt Latimer provides some useful support in his new book, unimaginatively titled Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor. ("Survivor"? Is White House speechwriting one of those risky jobs like commercial fishing or driving a cab?)

Byron York makes the book seem pretty intriguing with this anecdote from the drafting of Bush's 2008 CPAC speech:

"What is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?" the president asked Latimer.

Latimer explained that he meant the conservative movement—the movement that gave rise to groups like CPAC.

Bush seemed perplexed. Latimer elaborated a bit more. Then Bush leaned forward, with a point to make.

"Let me tell you something," the president said. "I whupped Gary Bauer's ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement."

Bush seemed to equate the conservative movement—the astonishing growth of conservative political strength that took place in the decades after Barry Goldwater's disastrous defeat in 1964—with the fortunes of Bauer, the evangelical Christian activist and former head of the Family Research Council whose 2000 presidential campaign went nowhere.

Now it was Latimer who looked perplexed. Bush tried to explain.

"Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say," the president said, "but I redefined the Republican Party."

Is it really possible that the head of the Republican party thought of Gary Bau–Gary BAUER???–as the leading light of Goldwaterism in 2000? Of all the things that drove me nuts about Bush, the one that drove me the nutsiest was that he was always so off. Off in a way that just left you with no way to respond. And that was his genius.

But he's right about one thing: He redefined the Republican party, just like the iceberg redefined the Titanic.

NEXT: Jon Stewart on ACORN

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  1. “Is it really possible that the head of the Republican party thought of Gary Bau–Gary BAUER???–as the leading light of Goldwaterism in 2000?”

    You have to understand Bush was from the ultimate partician Republican family. To the old time Partician Republicans the Goldwaterites and the evangelicals were all just animals in the zoo.

  2. Well, dammit, define it back to where it was.

  3. In some sense, isn’t Bush just doing what posters on here do every day; equate all small government conservatives with Jesus freaks?

  4. You know, I guess the liberals were totally right about Bush’s arrogance.

  5. My memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I seem to recall any opposition to Bush being portrayed as far-left if not traitorous by – if not Reason itself – then at least their little buddies, such as Instapundit. In fact, weren’t there a whole slew of ProBushBlogs including BlogsForBush.com (which now says “page unavailable”)? Gosh, I seem to remember things like that, but maybe it was all just a dream.

  6. The more I think about it Tim, the more I think you just don’t want to face the sorry truth. Seriously, who was a “Goldwaterite” in the Republican Party in the 2000s? Who in the party was committed to small government, at least in the economic sense, than Bauer? Not really anyone. Yeah, I am sorry to have to inform you that Rove and Bush weren’t sitting around in 1999 trying to figure out how to deal with the threat for Cato and the Reason Foundation. The small government wing of the Republican Party, such as it was pretty much was the evangelicals.

  7. Is it really possible that the head of the Republican party thought of Gary Bau–Gary BAUER???–as the leading light of Goldwaterism in 2000?

    No, I think he’s using “conservative movement” differently. I wish “conservative movement” meant “Goldwaterism.” Do most Reason contributors think that it does?

  8. Not arrogant at all… unless you add “in a positive way.”

  9. So Tim, do you associate the phrase “conservative movement” with Goldwaterism? Did you do so in 2000?

  10. Maybe you don’t realize this Tim, but Goldwater got killed in the 64 election. Reagan made peace with the evangelicals. The “conservative movement” such as it was, didn’t amount to shit until the evangelicals got pissed off and politically active in the late 70s and 80s. Again, who the hell is a “Goldwaterite” anymore?

  11. Of all the things that drove me nuts about Bush, the one that drove me the nutsiest was that he was always so off. Off in a way that just left you with no way to respond.

    Indeed. It’s pretty impressive that he can drive you so nuts that you can find a reason to dislike him when he’s slamming and dismissing Gary Bauer. I’m 100% sure that there’s worse things in that book than insulting Gary Bauer.

  12. Maybe you don’t realize this Tim, but Goldwater got killed in the 64 election.

    What Republican had a prayer a mere year after the Kennedy Assassination. The Dems could have ran anyone, and in fact they did that in running the most uncharismatic human being to haunt the Earth.

  13. “Let me tell you something,” the president said. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement.”

    Good God, what a cocksucker.

  14. “Indeed. It’s pretty impressive that he can drive you so nuts that you can find a reason to dislike him when he’s slamming and dismissing Gary Bauer. I’m 100% sure that there’s worse things in that book than insulting Gary Bauer.”

    That is pretty odd. Tim, would it make you feel better if he had been praising Bauer? I thought the fundies were the agent of the devil or something like that?

  15. alan-

    Michael Stanley DuKakis was alive in 1964.

  16. Shut the fuck up, lonewhacko.

  17. Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say, but I redefined H&R.

  18. alan-

    Michael Stanley DuKakis was alive in 1964.

    I have to disagree, if we consider charisma in the Dungeons and Dragons sense of a mix of being inspiring, morale boosting, and physically appealing. I can look at Dukakis without getting creeped out with some serious heebie jeebies, Johnson looks in the camera and not only is he fug ugly, he looks like he is thinking about molesting you. Johnson would be a 3 on the 3 to 18 scale, Dukakis would be about a 6.

  19. You know Alan, they say Johnson got more pussy than Kennedy. Seriously. It used to drive Johnson nuts that Kennedy was considered such a ladies man and he wasn’t. Apparently, he slept with more and better looking, sans Marilyn Monroe, women than Kennedy. Go figure.

  20. Oh, I don’t disagree with that point that MSD was alive in 1964. He would not have been of legal age to even be President if he wasn’t. Not that the rules necessarily apply to Democratic candidates born in Kenya, or Republican candidates born in the Panama Canal Zone.

  21. Bush wasn’t arrogant in assuming he redefined the GOP, just in thinking that it was a good thing.

  22. alan-

    Let me clarify-I agree that LBJ was not a pretty sight. However, Dukakis is the very antithesis of charisma.

    Physical appearance as part of charisma? In some cases, yes. But I bet you could come up with the names of some people who may not be blessed with great looks who happen to be bursting with charisma.

  23. You know Alan, they say Johnson got more pussy than Kennedy. Seriously. It used to drive Johnson nuts that Kennedy was considered such a ladies man and he wasn’t. Apparently, he slept with more and better looking, sans Marilyn Monroe, women than Kennedy. Go figure.

    It doesn’t bother me that someone as handsome and urbane as I am like JFK got more than his fair share of tail, as that is the natural order of things, but Johnson? It makes my skin crawl to think he fucked anything even slightly less homely than Lady Bird or Doris Kearns Goodwin, or that without having to pay up front to a desperate junkie hooker. That he got serious tail is a perversion of the natural order and can only occur in an artificial state of affairs ruled by cronyism and socialism.

  24. Physical appearance as part of charisma? In some cases, yes. But I bet you could come up with the names of some people who may not be blessed with great looks who happen to be bursting with charisma.

    Well, sure. William Shatner is a slightly a cut above an average looking man, but man, his charisma lights up the world.

    With Johnson, we are not talking about a simply ugly man. Henry Kissinger is an ugly man but it doesn’t impair his charisma, Johnson was a remarkably ugly man to the point you have to pity his genetic make up more than you can respect him.

  25. correction time:

    Can you tail I started happy hour a wee early —

    less homely than Lady Bird or Doris Kearns Goodwin, or that without having to pay up front to a desperate junkie hooker

    And, to the local thought police, this not that the rules necessarily apply to Democratic candidates born in Kenya was a joke.

  26. Probably should even bother with a second attempt until after happy hour but here I goes:


    less homely than Lady Bird or Doris Kearns Goodwin without having to pay up front to a desperate junkie hooker

  27. I got news for you. Golda Meir could make ’em all run up a tree.

  28. You also have to factor into the Charisma equation what the man inspired.

    Dukakis inspires disdain in me, at least, but nothing more. Johnson inspires out right hatred. If I stumbled on Johnson’s grave, I would feel it to be my duty as a loyal American to piss on it.

  29. alan and John-

    Have you ever read of Nixon’s envy of Kissinger’s playboy status? Funny stuff.

  30. alan-

    As would I.

  31. Bauer sounds just like Bush, tax cuts and all:

    He supports a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and prefers abstinence programs to comprehensive sex education programs. Bauer wants to remove from the tax code all economic disincentives to marry.[9]

    On foreign policy issues, Bauer supports strong ties with Israel, would not trade with China until the country improves its human rights record, and supports full funding for the Iraq War. Bauer believes that America should advance and protect freedom worldwide and “bring the message of freedom to the Arab world”.[8]

    Stopping trade? Sure sounds like a great economic freedom supporter. This guy sounds like a creep. Give us Ron Paul!

  32. I am more grossed out with the women who wanted to sleep with those men.

  33. “Have you ever read of Nixon’s envy of Kissinger’s playboy status? Funny stuff.”

    The ladies found Kiss’s voice irresistible.

  34. He redefined the Republican party, just like the iceberg redefined the Titanic.

    I am stealing that.

  35. Seriously, who was a “Goldwaterite” in the Republican Party in the 2000s?

    Steve Forbes?

  36. We’ll probably never have another president who isn’t baffled by the world and lost in his own.

    I miss Nixon, a little.

  37. Cavanaugh’s post really takes me back to 2000, and makes me sort through my own thought processes during that election cycle. Why did I vote for that guy?

    I didn’t like him. He seriously rubbed me the wrong way from the first time I paid attention to him. That would be one of the early debates in late 1999 where he came across as ill prepared and fundamentally not a serious person (McCain did very well in that debate). Later on, the Carla Fey Tucker quote that Tucker Carlson reported made me nauseous. Then, the retarded answer to who was his favorite political philosopher which made me wonder if Bush even understood the substance of His message.

    It really boiled down to two factors. The first reason is pretty obvious, but the second has been obscured by events that have occurred in the interim of then and now. Many of us and including myself at times would like to forget, but I’m going to come clean.

    Al Gore had the makings of a presidency that would have easily one upped History’s Greatest Monster. That pinhead came with at least as many ticks as Bush, so that was fairly easy tilted the decision towards Bush, or any one but Al.

    However, for the other reason, I did something that the media says people never do: I picked on the basis that Bush chose a damn good running mate as his first real decision. It was also clear that Cheney’s roll would be greater than that of the national funeral attendee.

    Do I regret my decision on that basis given the mistakes he has made? Just to list the ones that come to mind: he was dead certain of the Prague meeting between Al-Qaeda and Iraqi officials, he was the number one cheerleader for the Iraq invasion, was also certain of WMD being currently in Iraq (important distinction, they had them on several occasions, but not in those years, iow, not good guys), his roll in the torture matters, the yellow cake story and the outing of Valerie Plame.

    I have to say even given that, no, I don’t regret the Cheney part of the equation. Bush, yes, but Cheney, not really.

    I’m not making excuses for him, and that is not my impetus to absolve the actions of the previous administration. Whatever his roll was in anything illegal, I believe an impartial investigation should go forward.

    However, I have to at least acknowledge that there is something different about Cheney than almost any other person in Washington. He seems less driven by ego and ambition than the rest of them. Especially Bush. He seems to be the one that gave a damn.

    When it was uncovered late last Spring that there were assassination teams trained to go after Al-Qaeda leadership, the first thing that jumped to my mind, was, of course, Cheney would be the man behind it. Who else in Washington would be willing to take that kind of risk to take the fight that far.

    One last thing, when you ponder the idea of who would be our current equivalent of Goldwater. Someone who was, er, muscular, to say the least, on national defense, free market oriented, and something of a social liberal. Well, there is only one man that comes to my mind.

  38. Dudes, don’t forget that a lot of Goldwater’s most fanatical supporters back in 64 were racists who found his states rights/small government positions favorable (to resist the evil federal efforts at integration) and Gary Bauer types (who wanted to fight what they saw as the “federalization” of establishment clause law).

  39. alan-

    Cheyney was a horrible choice. Choosing a public sector lifer is never a good thing for those of us who value liberty.

    Here is a guy who spent the vast majority of his adult life in the public sector. Anybody that does that is not free market oriented. The little that he did in the private sector was just rent seeking.

    So, how can a professional loafer, statist loving guy be a good thing?

    PS-talk about a guy who personifies incompetence and a profound lack of charisma!

  40. Ron Paul? I wouldn’t call him a social liberal but I wouldn’t call him a social conservative either, at least not in the way that most social conservatives want to unconstitutionally limit private actions.

  41. alan-

    Are we afraid of the Al-quadis?

    Wouldn’t you just love to see Cheyney in a no-holds barred steel cage match to the death with Saddam?

    I know where I would put my money.

  42. Dudes, don’t forget that a lot of Goldwater’s most fanatical supporters back in 64 were racists who found his states rights/small government positions favorable (to resist the evil federal efforts at integration) and Gary Bauer types (who wanted to fight what they saw as the “federalization” of establishment clause law).

    I like AC/DC but their fans are retarded.

  43. I voted for Bush in 2000. Probably my favorite thing was the “humble foreign policy” bit after Clinton got us involved in all those crapholes like Haiti.

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahah


  44. Seriously, who was a “Goldwaterite” in the Republican Party in the 2000s?

    Ronald Reagan (until 04)

  45. Yeah he redefined the Republican Party alright, and I left it because of him! They are basically religious Democrats which makes them worse in my opinion! I’m happy as a Libertarian! I feel like I have some principles this way!

  46. alan,

    Browne not on your ballot in 2000?

    (Okay, I voted for Bush 1 instead of Paul in 1988, so if it was your first Prez election I will give you a pass)

  47. Same here BH.

    “””Wouldn’t you just love to see Cheyney in a no-holds barred steel cage match to the death with Saddam?

    I know where I would put my money.”””

    Cheney avoided military service. So I’d go with Saddam.

  48. libertymike | September 17, 2009, 8:27pm | #
    alan-

    Are we afraid of the Al-quadis?

    Wouldn’t you just love to see Cheyney in a no-holds barred steel cage match to the death with Saddam?

    I know where I would put my money.

    I asked myself did I not put enough qualifiers in my Cheney posting, but then I realized that actually there was at least one big one, I missed. Cheney once said ‘deficits don’t matter’. That does take him a step back from the Goldwater mantel. Still, like it or not he was our Goldwater, even if he had to shut trap on support for gay marriage, abortion rights and the like for the sake of the boss. Bush as his boss, that sounds crazy right?

    Dudes, don’t forget that a lot of Goldwater’s most fanatical supporters back in 64 were racists who found his states rights/small government positions favorable (to resist the evil federal efforts at integration) and Gary Bauer types (who wanted to fight what they saw as the “federalization” of establishment clause law).

    Given the motivations of the Democrats were pure as the wind driven snow as they still are, of course, I don’t know why Goldwater did not bow out of the race out of shame.

    From the Wikipedia:


    A Lyndon B. Johnson ad called “Confessions of a Republican,” which ran in the North, associated Goldwater with the Ku Klux Klan. At the same time, Johnson’s campaign in the Deep South publicized Goldwater’s full history on civil rights. In the end, Johnson swept the election.

  49. robc | September 17, 2009, 9:27pm | #
    alan,

    Browne not on your ballot in 2000?

    Yes, but so was Al Gore.

    I’m not one to argue that third party candidates are futile, as I voted the ‘Stache in ’08, and I voted for Browne in ’96, but by election day, the Libertarian party numbers were weak, my hatred of Gore was strong, and my county was close to deadlock in advance tracking polls between Bush and Gore, so I gave the Punkass Cowboy a shot.

  50. (Okay, I voted for Bush 1 instead of Paul in 1988, so if it was your first Prez election I will give you a pass)

    My first vote was even worse. Dukakis.

  51. Have you ever read of Nixon’s envy of Kissinger’s playboy status?

    I wonder who’s Kissinger now.

  52. I wonder who’s Kissinger now.

    Whoever is Clinton’s Undersec is the one calling the shots unless State has been trumped by other departments in the apparatus, and I don’t see Janet Napolitano as a threat to anyone’s territorial pissing grounds.

  53. “Ronald Reagan (until 04)”

    I think Reagan had enough of a problem remembering his own name by 2000, much less Goldwater and his views.

  54. alan,

    He was the first person I voted for President as well. Then Clinton, then Nader, then Nader again 2000, and then Bob Barr in 2008. Some books on the mismanagement of national parks and natural resources are what sent me towards libertarianism (even though the authors weren’t libertarians).

  55. Seriously, fuck Yalies. They should be used as manure and nothing more.

  56. Funny thing, and way off topic. I was just putting Wolverine on my que list for net flicks. I read a blurb at the bottom that confirmed my selection — Recommended based on your interest in Miss Congeniality, The Longest Yard, and SWAT

    How do you get Wolverine from that?

    About, Miss Congeniality, I have an on again, off again girl friend who comes and goes as she pleases, and she has property boundary issues with who this computer, and this account belongs to as well.

  57. He was the first person I voted for President as well. Then Clinton, then Nader, then Nader again 2000, and then Bob Barr in 2008. Some books on the mismanagement of national parks and natural resources are what sent me towards libertarianism (even though the authors weren’t libertarians).

    I recall the first few things that lead me to a non progressive world view. They coalesced around the same time within a year or two of my Dukakis vote. A college instructor assigned a topic for me to write a report. I looked in the magazine section of the school library to find something to breeze through to get a handle on the topic.

    As it happened they had a National Review with a cover story on that very topic so I picked it up and started reading the entire magazine, and I found much in it quite persuasive. I found myself reading NR and Commentary and Public Interest as well.

    Before then I was exposed to libertarian thought through Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand but I had not made the connection between the incompatibility of being a Democrat and being a free thinker.

    Funny, it was an article by Joseph Sobran in NR, still on good terms with WFB at the time, on Murray Rothbard that lead me to the Austrians. Sobran said, ‘Rothbard makes Ayn Rand look like a common Tory.’ I decided, I’ve got to read that guy.

  58. “like the iceberg redefined the Titanic”

    Don’t you mean ‘the iceberg redefined the lettuce’?

  59. So long as the “conservatives” ignore the issue of what destroyed capitalism, and merely plead with men to “go back,” they cannot escape the question of: back to what? And none of their evasions can camouflage the fact that the implicit answer is: back to an earlier stage of the cancer which is devouring us today and which has almost reached its terminal stage. That cancer is the morality of altruism.
    -Ayn Rand (1960)

  60. Bragging about beating Gary Bauer is like bragging about being the valedictorian of summer school.

  61. Seriously, who was a “Goldwaterite” in the Republican Party in the 2000s?

    Ron Paul. I mean, who would really equate Ron Paul and Gary Bauer other than someone who is dismissing both.

    Bush certainly did redefine the GOP – as spending junkies. Certainly not the definition people had of the GOP before Dubya. If it wasn’t for the fact that Democrats ran zombies up against him, he’d forever be known as George H.W. Bush’s poor retarded son.

  62. “””Bush certainly did redefine the GOP – as spending junkies. “””

    The GOP was spending junkies before Bush. Reagan spent his ass off. His 800 ship Navy idea was expensive. He wanted Star Wars missile defense but didn’t get it.

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