The Wall Street Journal

Obama’s Miracle: He’s Making Bush Look Good
The Wall Street Journal

Back in April, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg was fairly confident that Republicans had peaked too early. While Democratic losses would be severe, he predicted, « it will not be another 1994. » Now the former pollster for Bill Clinton is less sure Democrats can avoid a blowout.

President Obama has been enamored of the theme that the country can’t afford to return to what he terms the discredited policies of the Bush years. « That’s the mantra that he wants to drill into voters’ heads between now and November, » ABC News reported last summer.

The only problem, according to Mr. Greenberg, is that it doesn’t work. « Though voters agree the economy was an ‘inherited’ problem, they do not like to hear politicians blaming Bush or looking backwards, » he concluded in his study. In an interview with Jane Hamsher of the blog Firedog Lake, Mr. Greenberg went on to say: « I’m really puzzled by Democratic leaders stuck in a message that demonstrably doesn’t work. » He puts it down to the president listening to economic advisers who want him to set a rhetorical tone that « will help confidence to come back. »

But so far the only thing that seems to be coming back is nostalgia for George W. Bush. A new CNN poll finds voters still believe Mr. Obama is a better president than Mr. Bush was, but by only 47% to 45%. That’s down from a whopping 23-point margin last year. « Democrats would be wise to think twice before bringing up the name of President Bush on the campaign trail this fall, » says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.