"George W. Bush is My President."
Six weeks into the presidency of Barack Obama, a growing chorus of voices among the leaders of the defeated and downtrodden Republican Party is calling for his failure. During a time of war and national economic crisis, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Delay, Michelle Malkin, Johan Goldberg and Rick Santorum are just some of the GOP politicians and pundits urging Americans to cheer against their president and his recovery program. Of course, that hyperpartisanship is a far cry from eight years ago, when Democrat Al Gore announced, "George W. Bush is my president, and I will follow him, as will we all, in this time of crisis."
Vice President Gore's vocal support of George W. Bush started even before the man anointed to the presidency by the Supreme Court entered the Oval Office. Despite having won the popular vote and arguably a majority of the Electoral College as well in the most contentious election in modern U.S. history, Gore responded to the Court's 5-4 decision against him on December 13, 2000 with a full-throated call for Americans to unite behind their new President:
"Almost a century and a half ago, Senator Stephen Douglas told Abraham Lincoln, who had just defeated him for the presidency: 'Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism,'" Gore said. "Well, in that same spirit, I say to President-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this country."
Al Gore's pleas for the American people, including his own despondent - and indignant - followers, did not end there. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Gore told a Democratic state convention:
"George W. Bush is my president, and I will follow him, as will we all, in this time of crisis."
But in another time of national crisis, key Republicans and many in their amen corner are actively campaigning for President Obama's failure. With spiraling unemployment and home foreclosures as the U.S. is gripped by the accelerating Bush recession, the Rush Limbaugh party is calling on some Americans to wish for the continued misery of their countrymen.
Of course, Al Gore and the American people have seen this one-way bipartisanship movie before. In 1993, President Clinton proposed a $496 billion package of stimulus spending and upper-bracket tax increases to undo the endless red ink and dismal recession economy he inherited from Bush the Elder. Then as now, Republicans wrongly predicted economic calamity should Clinton's proposals pass. Then as now, a new Democratic president did not get a single vote from Republicans in Congress. Ironically, it took Vice President Gore's tie-breaking vote in the Senate to pass the Clinton recovery package, which ultimately led to the longest economic expansion since World War II.