Next week, George W Bush faces his last, critical electoral challenge. Niall Ferguson assesses a failed presidency.
In the aftermath of George W Bush's re-election as president two years ago, his campaign manager, Karl Rove, amused himself and his boss with a battery-powered "Redneck Horn". At the touch of a dashboard button, the device would yell insults in a raucous Southern accent, providing automated road rage for "red state" Republicans.
George W Bush and Dick Cheney face the possibility of defeat in the mid-term elections
The toy's abusive messages ranged from the relatively mild "Slow down, dumbass!" to "Hey, hogneck, who taught you how to drive?"; "What the hell was that manoeuvre?"; "Are you freaking blind?" and "You're a goddam moron!" How they all laughed in the White House, if the Bush administration's renegade court historian, Bob Woodward, is to be believed.
Today, however, the joke is on them. For the Redneck Horn could now just as easily be used by ordinary Americans to express their frustration not merely with Mr Bush but with the entire Republican Party. With a little over a week remaining until the congressional mid-term elections on November 7, some opinion polls indicate that "You're a goddam moron!" is precisely the message voters intend to send the White House.
Niall Ferguson, Sunday Telegraph, 10/28/2006
Ferguson is a conservative.