Democrats had thrown everything they had into beating Bush, crushing the Howard Dean wing of their party and running a moderate - a Vietnam veteran, no less! They had George Soros, Michael Moore and Code Pink working like fiends to topple Bush.
Still, they lost to an incumbent. As Time noted, the Democrats had "lost five of the past seven presidential elections."
But the pendulum swings. The Democrats came roaring back in 2006 and again in 2008. There's no reason Republicans can't do the same, unburdened by having to run against an incumbent in 2016.
Unless Marco Rubio has his way.
The Democrats never change their ideas; they change the voters. For decades, Democrats have been working feverishly to create more Democrats by encouraging divorce (another Democratic voter!), illegitimacy (another Democratic voter!) and Third World immigration (another Democratic voter!).
Strangely, some Republicans seem determined to create more Democratic voters, too. That will be the primary result of Sen. Marco Rubio's amnesty plan.
IT'S NOT AMNESTY! Rubio's proponents cry. They seem to think they can bully Republicans the way the Democrats do, by controlling the language.
Rubio's bill is nothing but amnesty. It isn't even "amnesty thinly disguised as border enforcement." This is a wolf in wolf's clothing.
Despite all the blather about how Rubio demands "Enforcement First!" the very first thing his proposal does is make illegal aliens legal. (Don't call them "illegal aliens"!)
The ability to live and work legally in America is the most valuable commodity in the world; it's the Hope Diamond of the universe. I know young, well-educated Canadians who waited a decade for that privilege.
Step One of Marco Rubio's plan is: Grant illegal aliens the right to live and work in America legally. (Rubio's first move in poker: Fold.)
People who have broken our laws will thus leap ahead of millions of foreigners dying to immigrate here, but - unwilling to enter illegally - waiting patiently in their own countries.
The only thing the newly legalized illegal immigrants won't get immediately is citizenship. Rubio claims that under his plan, they won't be able to vote or go on welfare. But in practice, they'll have to wait only until the ACLU finds a judge to say otherwise.
Even under Rubio's scheme, all the children born to the 11 million newly legalized illegals will be instant citizens, able to collect welfare for their whole families and vote as soon as they are old enough.
Which won't be long: The vast majority of illegal aliens are Hispanic, and Hispanics have a higher teen birthrate than any other ethnic group. In California, a majority of all Hispanic births are illegitimate. That's a lot of Democratic voters coming.
And look how great that's turned out! With Hispanics on track to become the largest ethnic group in California this year, the state that gave us Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan is incapable of electing any Republican statewide anymore. Taxes keep going up, and there's no one left to pay the bill.
That will be our entire country if Republicans fall for Rubio's phony "Enforcement First!" plan. Perplexingly, some Republicans seem determined to turn the whole nation into California, in the foolish hope of winning one last election.
No border can be secure when the pot of gold on the other side is an American green card. (Again playing games with language, Rubio doesn't call the right to legally live and work here a "green card," but in practical effect, that's what it is.)
So when exactly does the enforcement part of Rubio's "Enforcement First!" plan kick in? Answer: Never.
Or rather, enforcement becomes both impossible - because nothing will stop them if legalization is the lure - and irrelevant - because there's no penalty for leaving the border wide open.
Even if enforcement "fails," are the 11 million illegals already legalized by Rubio going to be asked to leave? Of course not.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is a Republican who - as a Princeton and Harvard Law graduate - does not yearn for "strange new respect" from the elites. This week, he said of Rubio's amnesty plan: "To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally."
If only other Republicans didn't ride the tea party to victory before realizing they really just want to be John McCain.