Can you find a single significant point on which Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum differ substantially from George W. Bush? It’s amazing. If Bush were considered a successful president, they would be bringing him up all the time. That they do not, even as they have an incumbent Democrat they deride as a failure, tells you that they know Bush and his legacy are poison. And yet, they may not believe in Bush, but they sure believe in what he stood for. And so does the GOP base, evidently.
And the way they handle this is denial. The recession was Obama's fault. Unemployment is all Obama's fault. The recovery hasn't happened; the recession has gotten worse. Bush won the war in Iraq, and killed bin Laden because of torture. Tax cuts created a job boom in the 2000s – and the current doldrums are because Obama raised taxes (which, of course, he didn't). All the debt is Obama's fault – all of it, if you have the intellectual honesty of Glenn Reynolds.
We have, in other words, an entire party built on amnesia and untruth. And an inability to understand the difference between the challenges of 1980 and the tectonic shifts of 2012 onward.
It's a fundamentalist party that has now found someone who will gladly, willingly repeat these lies without a qualm or a moment of reflection. Hence Romney's slogan: "Believe In America." And its corollary: because the president doesn't.
Grappling with a changing world is hard. And, for some, terrifying. For them, there is a politics now on offer. Just keep singing "America The Beautiful" and everything will be okay.