The Washington Posts Ezra Klein has a post up this morning asking, "Has Team Romney forgotten that the Bush years were terrible?" As I wrote on Monday, this is exactly the type of post you would expect an Obama surrogate to publish. Since he has no positive record to run on, Obama's entire campaign strategy will be built on blaming Bush for the the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans still believe are country is seriously off on the wrong track. Or, as Ezra puts it:
The election might end up being Bush vs. Clinton, even as it most likely will be between Obama and Romney.
That could be a problem for the Romney campaign. Because just as most voters remember the Bush years, they remember the Clinton years, too. And they liked them a lot more.
If the Obama campaign succeeds in framing the election as "Bush vs anybody-else", they will win. But this problem is not unique for Romney. Any Republican nominee would have had to distance himself from Bush years. But Romney has not begun to do that yet. He needs to.
He needs to start explaining why Bush's "compassionate conservatism" was a major deviation from President Reagan's conservatism. He needs to present the factual case that both the size and scope of government grew massively under Bush, that Obama has only doubled-down on that trend, and that he (Romney) will reverse it.
Obama has been seemingly taunting Romney by repeatedly invoking Reagan on the campaign trail. If Romney can't convince voters he has more in common with Reagan than Bush, then he deserves to lose.