THE CURSE OF...

THE CURSE OF BUSH. The topic du jour over at The Corner is an exploration of what a mean guy and poor candidate George Allen is. K-Lo thinks he often comes off "as a disturbingly nasty guy," Jonah notes that when he's backed into a corner "he becomes decidedly unReaganesque both in his sometimes gormless retorts and his slightly nasty and/or defensive streak," and J-Pod describes Allen's response to a question about his grandfather's religion as "just...weird."

Allen's got to be right up there with Bill Frist for the most stunning falls of the 2008 cycle. Folks will remember that Frist was, at one point, Rove's golden boy, a perfectly serious contender for the presidency who was supposed to use his medical background, telegenic nature, and irrepressible charm to be the second coming of the compassionate conservative. His ascension to majority leader was merely part of that path. His implosion once there was astonishing.

Allen, actually, was then the guy who took up the mantle. This was back when Bush was popular, and so McCain's candidacy didn't yet look like a powerhouse effort. Rather, a genial, southern-seeming good ol' boy was just what the spin doctors ordered, and polls of GOP insiders began naming Allen as the frontrunner. Then, Bush's fortunes fell, and Allen actually had a race, and The New Republic found he had an obsession with the Confederate Flag, and he slurred an Indian kid, and is now facing a serious challenge by a relative nobody. Six months ago, this guy was going to be president. Now he might lose his job. If so, he and Frist can commiserate on the porch of the Retirement Grounds For Former Bush Successors. Turns out that's proven to be a surprisingly insecure career path.

--Ezra Klein

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