George W. Bush was president from 2000-2008. He was a Republican, so consequently, he ran on “small government” principles, at least initially. However, in those 8 years alone, he almost doubled our national debt. He started (and prolonged) two wars, and neither war was executed with a declaration from Congress. He ballooned Medicare and the Department of Education. He brushed aside the fourth amendment with his passing of the Patriot Act. He paid hundreds of billions to bailed out companies that should have failed. By all accounts, Bush was not a small government president. He was a moderate at best, a Teddy Roosevelt progressive at worst.
When election 2008 rolled around, Bush’s approval ratings were in the 30’s. The country did not like this neoconservative-to-moderate brand of big government Republicanism. So naturally, the Republican party nominated…another wishy-washy “conservative,” John McCain.
McCain got stomped. Although, I honestly don’t even think Jesus Christ or Ghandi could have beaten Obama in the 2008 election. Some people honestly thought he was the answer to all of their prayers, and would be able to solve all our country’s problems by smiling at them. Not to mention he would religiously defend a woman’s uterus from extraterrestrials or large Amazonian wormthings or whatever the heck it is that is trying to invade them.
It wasn’t so. Obama prolonged Bush’s wars. The War in Iraq finally ended, by no doing of his, but he tripled the number of troops in Afghanistan. Then the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize started his drone war on the civilians in the Middle East. He signed the NDAA, framed the Patriot Act over his bed, and passed sweeping healthcare reform that nobody actually wanted or cared about. Obama set himself up to lose this 2012 election.
So what happened? The Republicans, under that establishment banner of “electability,” chose the man with the hair who was going to save us from the savior! The problem? He was just another moderate, like Bush and like McCain, who actually agreed with Obama more than he disagreed with him (on almost all foreign policy, war on drugs, war on privacy, bailouts, spending increases, entitlement expansion, etc, etc, etc). But forget all that, this man is the only one who can beat Obama!
So the Republicans steamrolled the true conservatives and the libertarians on their way to the White House. The problem? They attacked the people who stood for what the Republican party said it stood for. They shunned the people who were the most passionate and the most motivated. They called Ron Paul crazy, ignored Gary Johnson, and, in more ways than one, told libertarians and constitutional conservatives good riddance. And then they complained when Obama had superior ground game.
Why did Republicans expect to get different results with Romney than they did with McCain? Who knows. Will they learn their lesson before 2016? Who knows. I can’t tell you how many Republicans have warned me that “if we don’t remember history, we are bound to repeat it.” The irony here is hilarious, but somehow makes me want to punch through a wall at the same time.