George W. Bush spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference every year of his presidency, but this year when you hear his name, it’s usually being derided, writes Andy Barr of Politico. Newt Gingrich spent his speech railing against “Bush-Obama big spending,” while Mike Huckabee cited Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina as a failure, concluding, “You know what kind of conservatives we need most? Competent conservatives.”
Certainly Bush has left the party rudderless. Many argued for a “back to basics” approach, while others advocated a new path. Joe Scarborough warned that Republicans must present alternatives to Obama’s plans, and not be overly negative. But John Boehner ignored that advice, calling the stimulus “socialist,” while an Accuracy in Media editor drew big cheers for suggesting Obama wasn’t an American citizen.