NRO’s Deroy Murdock is out with a column in which he blasts President Bush, Karl Rove and congressional GOP leaders for the sorry state the Republican Party finds itself in today.After briefly praising the president for keeping America safe from terrorism after the 9/11 attacks, Murdock then sandblasts the Bush administration and compares GWB to the president who made “misery index” and “malaise” well-known 1970s terms:

Bush is the GOP’s Jimmy Carter, a weak bumbler who embarrassed his constituents, betrayed his philosophical movement, sank his party, and eventually surrendered the White House to the opposition, this time led by the Senate’s Number One liberal, still in his first term. Bush should retire quietly to Texas, where he can drive his truck, chop wood, and avoid the limelight for the balance of his natural existence.Bush could use someone to sweep the leaves at his ranch. I nominate Karl Rove. Why on Earth is he always on TV spewing advice? As “the architect” of the oxymoronic Big Government Conservatism, he counseled Bush to solidify power by spending like a Democrat, slapping tariffs on steel, and locking away his veto pen for six years. Under Rove, the administration’s communications efforts made the Tower of Babel sound like a news channel. This would be bad enough if the GOP were unprincipled but in control. Oops! The GOP lost Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. Thanks, Karl.

Murdock then proceeds to eviscerate congressional Republicans:

With few exceptions, Republican congressional leaders cheered this elephantiasis amid an atmosphere of corruption, incompetence, and unaccountability. Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, House GOP chief John Boehner, House Republican whip Roy Blunt, and other failed leaders should go warm the back benches. Senator Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens will become Ted “Jail to Nowhere” Stevens — and not soon enough.Former Senate GOP leaders Bill Frist and Trent Lott, and top House Republicans Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay have nothing to offer America. They should be left alone to fade quietly into obscurity.Former House speaker Newt Gingrich captured the House from the Democrats, passed the Contract with America, and then bungled his speakership while conducting an extramarital affair with a subordinate during the Clinton impeachment drama. Why do pro-family conservatives, or anyone else, still heed this man?

Having dealt the blame for the GOP’s woes, Murdock offers us his sage advice:

Once the GOP’s detritus is dislodged, rebuilding can begin. The best way Republicans can redeem themselves is to ask daily: “What would Reagan do?”

While I share much of Murdock’s anger at the failure of President Bush to veto pork-laden spending bills and keep the size of the federal leviathan in check, there’s faulty math in his Bush = Carter equation. Those of us who remember the Carter years have such terms as “double-digit inflation” seared, seared into our brains.I suggest that Murdock’s memory must be highly selective, not only on how bad the economy really was during the Carter years, but also on his suggestion that we should follow Reagan’s principles. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a True Believer when it comes to Reagan principles. What I would like to know is, where were those Reagan principles when Murdock was pimping Rudy Giuliani so hard during the GOP presidential primaries?Reagan opposed abortion. Giuliani facilitated it – including the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. Giuliani has also been a long-time supporter of taxpayer-funded abortion.On other social issues, including gun rights, Giuliani is likewise liberal. Like many other Republicans, I admire Rudy Giuliani’s strong stand on the war with Islamic fascism and homeland security. I find only a few faults with his economic policies. But he’s no Ronald Reagan.Murdock gave very little positive column space to Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter, and the other Reagan conservatives who were in the race, so busy was he promoting Rudy. And his criticism of Mitt Romney, who was arguably a more conservative candidate than Giuliani, knew no bounds. Curiously, Murdock went after Romney on abortion, gay rights, gun rights and other issues where Giuliani was as weak or weaker with most GOP conservatives.To Murdock and other pundits who are now advising us to follow Ronald Reagan’s example, I have only one question: Why were you shilling for Rudy Giuliani when the real Reagan conservatives in the GOP presidential primary race needed you? Thanks to you and others like you, Mr. Murdock, conservatives had to settle for the losing proposition of a John McCain presidential candidacy.Cross-posted at Mainstream Conservative– JP