This struck me from TPM:
Yes, Republicans have tried to distance themselves from President Bush's fiscal profligacy. But on the core value issues of militarism and human rights violations and keeping faith with the war criminals of the previous regime they really couldn't be more unified or on message. If you were plopped down on earth today in front of a TV set in the United States, on the testimony of the party members themselves, you might easily get the idea that state-sanctioned torture was the main policy legacy of the outgoing administration. Sort of like Democrats looked back on late 90s budget surpluses with a proud defiance in the aftermath of the Clinton years.
Of all the issues that conservatives could defend Bush on, they chose to die on hill torture. He's a amazingly unpopular figure, who led his party to election disaster. There are lots of places to break with him on. But why chose spending and not torture? Spending is debaitable. Torture isn't. A hundred years from now, we will still be fighting over how much the government should spend and on what. But in a hundred years, the only fight over torture will be who can denounce it more.