Originally posted at RedState
If we've finally learned to cool our heels and drop the fingers, conservatives are beginning to realize that we have sucked it up this decade. But one thing is certain. The accumulation of frustration that has been building up since '07 was pretty clear in the loud of chorus of boos during John's concession speech on the night of the fourth. But wait. Are we quick to say who they were booing? Sure, the mention of 'The One' probably triggered an instinctive backlash of muddled curse words and vocal boos and hisses. Yet, who's to say there weren't those in the crowd who were just a teensy peeved at McCain? A pretty common diagnosis of our failure was an unpopular incumbent, a messianic challenger, yada yada yada. They say Obama's timing was right; that he would have won regardless our chosen candidate. But oh no! It was the BUSH factor! It must have been the President's fault! But... has anyone bothered to realize that it was in McCain's full capacity to kick Georgie out of the picture?
"I am not President Bush."
In theory, if all Americans knew what we conservatives know, that sentence alone would have been enough for there to have been an ah-ha! for the voters, let alone the grassroots. But as we know, Americans don't know that and tend to be attracted to very long coattails.
The President's ideological platform (and no, I'm not talking about the Bush doctrine) was for certain sound enough (or we wouldn't have reelected him in '04). Sure, W didn't run as conservative a campaign as HW did, but did that kick us in the arse? The very vast majority of the perceived dissatisfaction of our President has been induced by arbitrary incidences of alien origin. In other words, the platform didn't screw Bush; we know that much. Black Tuesday screwed Hoover. Watergate screwed Nix. The Iranian hostage crisis screwed Carter (well, he was already screwed). But in this case, like Obama's uncanny power to do magic, it seemed as if the real Bush "doctrine" disappeared. If at all, the President's domestic prowess seemed to be nonexistent this election cycle.
McCain had an open kill here. He really only had two options: renounce George completely, or strengthen his principles while defending the President in subtlety. It's evident he didn't choose the latter. The smart thing for John to have done would have been to tell the voters that he would not run a campaign of 'what-ifs'. They really are nothing new, but politicians these days seem unwilling to detach these 'what-ifs' from core party platforms.
To sum things up, an ideological campaign would have given John a win. His arbitrary one cost him it.
So yes, I just said it. It was not Bush's fault.