William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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STRATEGIC BRILLIANCE, NOT – AT 11:13 A.M. ET:  You have to hand the Democratic Party this:  They may be terrible at governing, but they ran a great 2008 campaign.  Now their slogan seems to be, "Let's make our campaign as bad as our record."  From the Washington Post:

As they brace for difficult fall elections, dispirited Democrats hoping to get back some of that 2008 magic are turning to the president for inspiration.

President Bush, that is.

Grainy images of the former president flashed across the screen in a recent ad by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) is attacking his GOP rival in a Senate race for his "advancement of the Bush agenda."

Even President Obama has begun taking direct shots at his predecessor, something he had been careful to avoid in recent months.

"They don't have a single idea that's different from George Bush's ideas -- not one," Obama said during speeches this week at fundraisers in Atlanta and Chicago.

He attacks Bush by name, something presidents generally don't do with their predecessors.  But, as we noted last night, Obama is a no-class guy.

In interviews, mailings and television ads, Democratic candidates are again hauling out the specter of the former president to use as a foil. Nearly two years after he left office and virtually disappeared from public view, Bush -- his image, his policies, his legacy -- are being dragged back into the public arena.

Apparently, they're doing this because polling shows it works.  I wonder.

The strategy could backfire for Democrats, who risk appearing desperate by blaming Bush instead of taking responsibility. Former Bush strategist Karl Rove called it a "deadly street to go down" for Democratic candidates who have "no next act" to promote.

COMMENT:  Rove is probably right.  For decades the Democrats ran against Herbert Hoover, but the Dems of those days had real programs, like them or not.  And they had a proved record in national security. 

What do the Dems have today?  Their "accomplishments," like Obamacare, are largely unpopular with the voters. 

Also, Obama will have been president almost two years on election day, and the Dems have controlled Congress for four.  Blaming Bush really looks lame.

August 8, 2010