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GOP promises return to Bush agenda?

As you know, Dems are desperate to turn this fall's elections into a so-called "choice election," in which voters understand that they are choosing between two competing approaches to governing, rather than casting their votes as merely a referendum on Dem rule.

This morning, Dems are claiming that NRCC chair Pete Sessions handed them the ultimate weapon to do just that, when he suggested on Meet the Press yesterday that we need to go "back to the exact same agenda" that empowered the private sector in the past.

By my reading, Sessions' quote is a bit ambiguous. The key bit came during an exchange about government spending and the impact it's having on the private sector:

We need to make sure that we allow employers, which was in that 52-page report that was presented to the president of the United States by CEOs in this country, we need to go back to the exact same agenda that is empowering the free enterprise system rather than diminish it.

It's not clear exactly what Sessions means by this. He didn't explicitly say that we need to reenact the Bush agenda. But he did say "we need to go back."

I'm told that Dems will try to drive this quote hard in the days and weeks ahead. Dem candidates will press Republican candidates to say whether they agree that we need to go back to the policies of the past.

It's worth noting that Dems have been aggressively pressing the case for weeks now that this fall's elections are a choice, rather than merely a referendum. And the generic ballot matchup has not meaningfully shifted: In most polls, it shows a tie or even a GOP advantage. Dems keep promising that this or that GOP gaffe is going to be a game-changer. But it hasn't happened yet.

That said, it's only in recent days that Obama has begun to forcefully articulate the Dems' midterm message as a choice between going foward and going backward. It probably doesn't hurt the Dem case that the Republican in charge of House races has explicitly said that "we need to go back."

UPDATE, 11:00 a.m.: DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer emails that Republican candidates will indeed be pressed to say whether they agree with Sessions:

"Sessions could not have framed November's elections any clearer when he stated we need to go back to the exact same agenda as Bush. NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions put every NRCC candidate in a box as they now must defend why their agenda for the future is exactly the same as George W Bush's agenda of the past."

UPDATE, 11:06 a.m.: It's worth noting that this exchange came in the context of a discussion that kicked off with a question for Sessions about "Republican rule during the Bush years." In that context, Sessions' claim that "we need to go back" does seem like it could explicitly mean a return to the Bush years.

UPDATE, 1:25 p.m.: The NRCC is now denying that Sessions called for a return to the Bush agenda.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 19, 2010; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , House GOPers  
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Next: Obama calls out Republicans as deficit frauds

Comments

Greg-

Not clear to me why you seem to be suggesting that Dems are stretching the truth here. The specific segment in which Sessions says that "we need to go back to the exact same agenda," began with Gregory asking what the Republicans are going to do if they get back into power. In response to THAT initial question, Sessions offers a not-at-all-specific set of things that Republicans might do. In the process of doing that, he says: "we need to go back to the exact same agenda," which in that context would clearly refer to the agenda the Republicans last pursued when they (George Bush) were in power. What isn't fair about this interpretation? It seems more clear than not what Sessions means by this, doesn't it?

Posted by: pollibido | July 19, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

pollibido, see the update I added

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 19, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

pollibido: I agree. It is perfectly clear that the GOP wants to return to the Bush Dark Age. They just don't want Bush's name attached so they can pretend they're proposing something new. Just like the Tea Party was invented to give Republicans cover against their own reckless and devastating policies.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 19, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Greg. Didn't see the update before I posted. Based on the totality of the evidence here, I have to say it seems pretty clear what Sessions is referring to.

Posted by: pollibido | July 19, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Everything that comes out of Pete Sessions' mouth is ambiguous, and he has no ideas of his own.

I'm in his district, and I can't wait to see him voted out of office. He's not a leader, can't articulate an idea, and wouldn't be in Congress without a gerrymandered district tailor-made for him. (And even with that advantage, he's never polled at the 60% mark).

Posted by: CoolOnion | July 19, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

We need to make sure that we allow employers, which was in that 52-page report that was presented to the president of the United States by CEOs in this country, we need to go back to the exact same agenda that is empowering the free enterprise system rather than diminish it.

......................

I like to keep things simple:

If those CEO's are so smart, then why did they not save the country from the Bush/Cheney economic disaster. They claim that they had all the tools they needed, and now want to reset to those self same conditions, when they destroyed our economy, and the livelihood of many millions of working class Americans.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 19, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Sessions voted with Bush about 98% of the time. When the first bailout that Bush proposed was about to come up for a vote, constituents from both parties called Sessions' office asking him to vote no. But he voted for it, like he voted for everything else Bush asked for. But now that Obama and the Democrats are in charge, he's suddenly this fiscal conservative who doesn't like debt. Can you say flip-flop?

Posted by: CoolOnion | July 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Now matter what propaganda you spew we still need to stop the one party rule as soon as possible.

Posted by: votingrevolution | July 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Take Sessions in the context of what John Boehner said last week. The GOP platform is "We need to go back to the policies of low taxes for the rich and deregulation that got us into the mess we are in. Banks must be free to charge whatever the traffic will bear, the oil, investment, mortgage, student loan, health insurance and other industries should be essentially unregulated, and employers should be free to discriminate on the basis of sex and age."

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 19, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

What a bunch of maroons.

Are we supposed to pretend that the Bush Agenda didn't put a hurting on this Country so bad we lost millions of jobs, owe trillions in debt, andit will take generations to fix all that mess?

The GOP must be thoroughly convinced that the American People really just don't want a black guy running the country.

The GOP must really believe that all they need to win the next presidential election is white skin.

You know, gays thought the same kind of thing about California. Gays were so thoroughly convinced that Californians were so liberal that we wouldn't bother to vote against gay marriage, but we sure did.

Now we have the GOP that hasn't done ANYTHING good for this country since the days of Ronald Reagan, who think that, in spite of the fact that they ran the country into the ground, set millions of our jobs overseas AGAIN, borrowed from other countries up to our limit, and spent over a trillion dollars more than that, and the GOP thinks they're going to win office just by being white guys.

What a wacky nutty bunch of coconuts.


Posted by: lindalovejones | July 19, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

We need to return to the BILL CLINTON agends, if anything.

Bush was a complete and total failure, not to mention he was completely inept when it came to America being attacked on 9/11, he completely ruined our economic base and thereby made Osama Bin Laden's 2ND dream come true about America suffering financial ruin.

Bush's plans began with robbing the U.S. Treasury of that $450 billion dollars left beind by President Bill Clinton, start a devastating war that would keep both keep Bush in office for a 2nd term AND allow Bush to own oil fields in Iraq, and then leave America in ruins.

That's what Bush accomplished, a near total devastation of the United States.

Posted by: lindalovejones | July 19, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

You have to truly be living under a rock to want to vote for these liars. It is literally unreal what these Republicans are trying to get away with.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 19, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Lindalovejones - but for different reasons. We do need to return to the Clinton approach, which was, by and large, a moderate Democrat's extension of the Reagan approach. There's not much doubt that the mid-80s to 2000 were generally good economic times. I think that Bush II likely would have continued this -- after all he was an isolationist before 9/11. Bush was dealt a bad hand on that day, and you can argue that he played it poorly thereafter, but many of our economic woes during this last decade resulted from the attack itself (and not the wars that followed). The big question is on what basis does anyone believe that Obama's approach (if it can even be called that) will return the country to the kind of prosperity it enjoyed during late Reagan/Clinton?

Posted by: willdd | July 19, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

O/T from Steven Benen:

"* In Colorado, gubernatorial hopeful Scott McInnis (R) is still reeling after his plagiarism scandal, and some of his top staffers are starting to run for the exits.

* On a related note, a SurveyUSA poll of Colorado Republicans found 64% want someone other than McInnis as their gubernatorial nominee. Leading the pack: former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R)."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 19, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse


Bush cut my taxes.

Posted by: screwjob17 | July 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, "votingrevolution" - I'll bet you didn
't have a problem with "one party rule" when the Republicans were in power--

Posted by: southernbutnotstupid | July 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama calls out Republicans as deficit frauds:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/obama_calls_out_republicans_as.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 19, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

screwjob, Obama cut our taxes too.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"The economy is strong." - Bush, July 2008, during his Recession

"Deficits don't matter." - VP Cheney

"Tax cuts (for Billionaires) creates jobs." - Bush, hahahaha - in China

Posted by: angie12106 | July 19, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"The economy is strong." - Bush, July 2008, during his Recession

"Deficits don't matter." - VP Cheney

"Tax cuts (for Billionaires) creates jobs." - Bush, hahahaha - in China

Posted by: angie12106 | July 19, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

After WWll, ONLY Republican presidents have left office with increased national debt.......

National Debt Grahic -

http://s582.photobucket.com/albums/ss261/WaronError/?action=view¤t=NatlDeficitGraph.jpg

Posted by: angie12106 | July 19, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

given the white house is not an issue here, its more about whether you trust the democrats enough and like the results over the past two years to sign up for another 2 years of obama-reid-pelosi stranglehold and power in washington.

but, just to play along with greg sargent for a moment: jimmy carter v. george w bush. hard call. since jimmy carter probably did slightly more damage in half the time, and Obama seems on a similar pace, i think id have to pick george bush.

Posted by: dummypants | July 19, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

This makes me want to vote Republican now more than ever. Back to the Bush years? Back to the very policies that led us to where we are? No more proof is needed that Republicans should be either jailed or barred from voting.

They nearly ruined everything and now they're pitching their 2010 agenda to come back and finish the job.

If any of these idiots ever get power again, our country will be forever ruined.

Posted by: dcp26851 | July 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

NRCC now denying Sessions said GOP wants to return to Bush agenda:

http://bit.ly/ckk83q

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 19, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

One long look at Ben Sargent's history of Political Toons, will show EXACTLY where the Dimocrat mindset is.

Defame, Insinuate, Confuse, and Slander!

Go Back, means EXACTLY THAT!

Repeal of O'BOMBA'S BADLY FAILING Bills, actions, and initiatives!

Sorry Sargent you Chump;

but this is NOT about Bushie!

Posted by: SAINT---The | July 19, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

It appears they spent the weekend field-testing the "Bush was good for America" theory.

It didn't go well.

They'll try something else next Sunday.

Posted by: vigor | July 19, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Something akin to getting out of jail but insisting on staying because of all the perks?

Posted by: hoser3 | July 19, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Bringing back the Bush years is only part of the Republican platform. The full platform is as follows:

1. More tax cuts for the rich.

2. Abolish Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Unemployment Benefits.

3. Bring back the Bush years.

4. Hop up and down and scream "I hate Obama!!".

Posted by: ravenmocker | July 19, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Bringing back the Bush years is only part of the Republican platform. The full platform is as follows:

1. More tax cuts for the rich.

2. Abolish Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Unemployment Benefits.

3. Bring back the Bush years.

4. Hop up and down and scream "I hate Obama!!".

Posted by: ravenmocker | July 19, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

GOP PROMISES RETURN TO BUSH AGENDA? Who do you think you are trying to fool Sargent? The 2010 referendum will be based on ObaMAO, Pelosi and Reid's ACTIONS since January, 2009. An honest headline for your biased WaPo editorial would read as follows"

GOP VOWS TO END AND REVERSE THE SOCIALIST LEGISLATION OBAMA AND THE DEMS HAVE ENACTED AGAINST THE MAJORITIES WILL.

Posted by: rsthomas | July 19, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Bush cut my taxes.
Posted by: screwjob17
----------------------------

Then you must be one of the 2% wealthiest in the country. Bush called you "the have and have mores."

Stop lying.

Posted by: cholly85241 | July 19, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Can we call this the 'tumbleweed agenda'? It seems like all the bush without the roots... Pretty much as rudderless as the GOP is right now.

Posted by: Nymous | July 19, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this the same kind of double-speak Bush used to "tie" Sadam Hussein to 9-11? Never exactly said Sadam was involved but alluded to it by saysing Sadam Hussein and 9-11 in same sentence all the time so that less intelligent Americans would think Sadam was part of 9-11.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | July 19, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The Bush agenda, as far as business is concerned, was identical to what the Obama agenda is: to tilt the scales in favor of big business, so that big business will give a kickback to the government. Obama is just better at it than Bush was. (Hopefully, Sessions now understands what Bush was, and is not being deluded....)

Posted by: dtestard | July 19, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Repeal of Glass-Steagall during the Clinton presidency was one of the major failed policies of the past that led to the recession. Yet Obama and Democrats in Congress were unwilling to restore Glass-Steagall in the financial "regulatory" bill. By their choice, they endorsed continuing the failed policies of the past. However, Obama and Democrats think by using desperate demagoguery, as often used by Bush II and Republicans, they will be able to fool many people.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 19, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Sessions is a moron. I'm not sure there's a dumber congressperson alive.

Posted by: blazertaco | July 19, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I guess some agenda is better than the no agenda they've had for the last year and a half.

Posted by: blazertaco | July 19, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Aprogressiveindependent @ July 19, 2010 5:31 PM wrote "Repeal of Glass-Steagall during the Clinton presidency was one of the major failed policies of the past that led to the recession. Yet Obama and Democrats in Congress were unwilling to restore Glass-Steagall in the financial "regulatory" bill. By their choice, they endorsed continuing the failed policies of the past. However, Obama and Democrats think by using desperate demagoguery, as often used by Bush II and Republicans, they will be able to fool many people."

Youy certainly have an agenda, and it is not that of an independent. As memory serves me, and you can look it up in the newspapers from 1998-99, repeal of Glass-Steagall was Gramm's (R-TX) passion. He got the Republican-controlled Senate to pass it and present to Clinton for signature. I am sure that you remember the 'gentleman': he was one of McCain's advisors in 2008, and called us all whiners in that summer. It seems we thought we were in a recession, and he, along with the rest of the Republicans, wanted to convince us that we were not.

So, as an 'independent', you should be minimally informed rather than trying to push a partisan (Republican in this instance) agenda.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | July 19, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

For those of you with short memories, here's a video of Dubya' screwing the globe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIl2BdiGsSA

Posted by: Stacheisnotdeadyet | July 19, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant!

Yeah- let's all go back to the failed policies that caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, redistributed wealth to the top one percent at an obscene rate, and which proved devastating to the middle class!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | July 19, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Reinstitute the policies of the Bush Reich? While Obama is fighting tooth and nail to save what little is left of this country (after eight years of "Republicans Gone Wild") the inbred, knuckledragging GOP morons from the great state of Head-Up-My-Ass-Texas think we need more of their "help". We'd all be better off if they'd just pass around the cyanide capsules and be done with it.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | July 19, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one that thinks that the more difficult yhe situation becomes the more Obama and cohorts default to the "Bush" solutions? Iraq & Afganistan are examples. I suspect that Obama wishes the democrats lose at least the House to allow him to let them implement his proposals without the "grandiosity" of a Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Frank, et al. Wouldn't that be a kick to realize that Obama is a "closet liberal Republican"!!!

Posted by: fcrucian | July 19, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

We don't need any more Bush policies that would send the U.S. into 3rd world status while the wealthy would get wealthier.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | July 19, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

but this is NOT about Bushie!

Posted by: SAINT---The | July 19, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is now. Everytime the GOP speaks they lose votes. This will be the soundbite of the century.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | July 19, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Who thinks up this __it! The GOP is brain damaged to the core.

Posted by: johng1 | July 19, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

"In January 2001, there were 111.6 million private-sector payroll jobs in the United States. In January 2009, when Bush left office, there were 110.9 million."

http://www.slate.com/id/2260634/


Posted by: twm1 | July 19, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

The republicans really think American voters are stupid. They really truly do. How else could you explain the contempt and cynicism they show?

They really think you're stupid.

They've been singing the same "fiscally conservative" song for 30 years, and they have yet to actually be fiscally conservative. No, the next time wouldn't be any different. No more chances.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | July 19, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Most thinking people would gladly not vote for the Republicans, if the Democrats weren't so much worse! The Dems are running their own show, and disregarding the will of the people who sent them to Washington. Now that Election Day is nearing, they are pulling out their usual propoganda and scare tactics. The goal is to win at any price.

"We the People" are both watching and waiting for our collective voices to be heard. We called our Congressmen, demonstrated, wrote articles, etc., and all to no avail. So, therefore we will turn out in droves this November so that our voices will be heard.

WE'LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Posted by: barrysal | July 20, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

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