Tuesday, May 17, 2011


After the debacle of the Bush presidency and electoral drubbings in 2006 and 2008, the GOP got back in the game in 2010 by rebranding itself as the Tea Party party, and by pretending it had nothing whatsoever to do with those awful folks who brought you the first decade of the 21st century.

Well, now a lot of teabag-friendly members of the GOP are in office, and as Republicans look to the next election cycle, what are they doing? Well, they appear to be looking at the polls, noticing that many teabag-esque ideas are unpopular, and turning to ... Bushites. So in Wisconsin we have this:

Tommy Thompson, the Republican former Wisconsin governor and George W. Bush's first secretary of Health and Human Services, has told friends he plans to run for the open Senate seat in Wisconsin, according to top Wisconsin sources....

Initial GOP speculation had been centering on Paul Ryan, the House Budget chairman and architect of the Republican deficit reduction plan ... the congressman decided Tuesday morning that he preferred to keep the seniority he’s built up in the House....

Yeah, right -- Ryan's decision was all about seniority. It had nothing to do with the fact that certain aspects of Ryan's budget are incredibly unpopular, even among teabaggers, or the fact that Ryan was trailing Feingold in the polls even before the release of his budget, perhaps in part because fellow teabagger Republicans were upsetting people with their radical doings at the state level. So: out with the tea, in with the W.

Simultaneously, party elders have concluded that their only hope in the 2012 presidential election is Mitch Daniels, a former Bush budget director -- or possibly Jon Huntsman, who also had a gig in the Bush White House.

The policies don't ever change, really -- they stay in a narrow range from extreme right to really extreme right. But the bait-and-switch means that we're always being told that the new Republican savior is very, very different from the people who brought you whatever beyond-the-pale Republican policies you didn't like -- even though it isn't true.

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