Sunday, January 01, 2006

Jon Meacham doesn't know history:

On Meet the Press today, the following took place: (emp add)
The hard left will get upset with Hillary for positioning herself in a way that she could win. I think--ultimately I think this is probably McCain v. Hillary, and if I were John McCain, I would raise a--start a PAC to make sure Rudy Giuliani gets in the race so that McCain looks like the centrist, the Reagan figure. He needs--I think George Bush Sr. is the model here for Giuliani. Reagan needed a George Bush Sr. so he didn't look like the most conservative guy in the field in 1980, and I think McCain needs somebody, and it would be Giuliani on that side, to make him look like the centrist Reaganist figure.
Got that? In 1980, Reagan needed a more conservative candidate in the field, in this case Bush Sr., so that Reagan would look less extreme.

What the?

Who were the Republicans trying to get the nomination in 1908? These guys:
  • John Bayard Anderson, U.S. representative from Illinois
  • Howard Baker, U.S. senator from Tennessee and Senate Minority Leader
  • George H.W. Bush, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former chairman of the Republican National Committee
  • John Connally, former governor of Texas, former Secretary of the Navy, and former Secretary of the Treasury
  • Phil Crane, U.S. representative from Illinois
  • Bob Dole, U.S. senator from Kansas and 1976 vice-presidential nominee
  • Ronald Reagan, former governor of California and former candidate for the 1976 presidential nomination
Phil Crane was the most conservative of the pack (Wikipedia: He soon established himself as one of the House's most conservative members, leading a small but growing cluster of right-wingers). Dole and Connally were viewed as conservative. Bush and Baker were seen as moderates - to the left of Reagan. Yet here we have managing editor of Newsweek magazine, Meacham, spouting total nonsense.


Q -- I heard almost the same comments on Chris Matthews today, but the way it went was that George H.W. Bush positioned himself relative to Reagan as the a less conservative, "kinder gentler" Republican. Could it be that the right leaning talking-heads messed up their daily talking points - a little hung-over perhaps?

By Blogger William, at 1/01/2006 12:39 PM  

Hmmm. The 1908 election?

That would have been Joseph Gurney Cannon, Charles Evans Hughes, Robert M. La Follette, and William Howard Taft.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/01/2006 1:56 PM  

To Anonymous -- Perhaps the 1912 elections bear more resemblance to the upcoming 2008 contest.

By Blogger Rizalist, at 1/01/2006 7:00 PM  

Yes, that's astoundingly ahistorical.

Fergodssakes, W has spent his political career avoiding his centrist dad's "mistakes" -- insufficiently smooching the backsides of the religious right, and waging a war that was too cooperative with the international community.

By Blogger Emphyrio, at 1/01/2006 9:50 PM  

I suppose that if you really want to stretch things, you could slide Conally over to the other side of Reagan by putting him back in the car with JFK; but either way, the notion that Bush was somehow to the Right of Reagan is gobsmacking.

By Blogger Ray Radlein, at 1/01/2006 10:23 PM  

Whoa! A "centrist" = A "Reagan figure?" Huh? In what universe did Reagan equal a centrist? A year or two into his presidency, I saw an article that described Reagan as being in the middle on Central America. I considered that comment completely insane. Reagan was about as far to the right as one could possibly get. To this day, I've heard nothing about Reagan being any kind, shape or form of peacenik.

By Blogger Rich, at 1/01/2006 10:26 PM  

that would be the prochoice Bush I who came out against voodoo economics, yes?

By Blogger julia, at 1/02/2006 6:39 AM  

I was living in Iowa at the time and remember the campaign. GHWB was a liberal Republican (though not as liberal as John Anderson). He was pro-choice, and remember is line about supply side economics --"Voodoo Economics?"

As usual the noise machine just makes shit up when the facts are not in their favor.

By Blogger The Mad Brewer, at 1/02/2006 7:39 AM  

Reagan was a right wing extremist (Crane being the only candidate further to the right) and Reagan didn't _choose_ whether or not GHW Bush ran.

Guliani is a centrist, by and large, at least on most social issues.

So, he's wrong in both directions. Bush is to the left of Reagan, and McCain is to the right of Guiliani.

By Blogger josh narins, at 1/02/2006 11:50 AM  

He obviously just doesn't know his right from his left. My kids have that problem.

By Blogger Njorl, at 1/03/2006 9:59 AM  

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