THE ESTABLISHMENT RUNS HOME
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is seeking to boost his flagging presidential prospects by bringing his brother – former U.S. president George W. Bush – on the campaign trail.
In fact the pair will be in Greenville, S.C. soon courting early-voters in the Palmetto State’s “First in the South” presidential primary.
Won’t that make for some awkward moments? Sure … but the younger Bush is desperate.
Like Rand Paul trotting out his father Ron Paul (after months of minimizing the familial relationship), Bush is trying to find a spark.
After peaking at 17 percent support back in mid-July, Bush has seen his frontrunner status completely evaporate – and is currently averaging around 8.3 percent support nationally, according to the latest aggregate polling data from Real Clear Politics.
He has to do something … and that “something” is to trot out his brother, who occupied the White House from 2001-2009.
Was George W. Bush a good president? Hell no. In fact we ranked him as the “Worst President Ever” three months before his term ended – although the current occupant of the Oval Office is obviously No. 1 with a bullet now.
And that brings us to the whole point of this exercise: “Dubya” – a.k.a. the “deciderer” who drowned this country in a wave of government debt, welfare statism, crony capitalism and global interventionism – has become a point of contrast to the current president, picking up reactionary popularity based on who he’s not.
In other words, he’s popular now because he’s not Barack Obama, who took all of Bush’s failed policies and put them on steroids (with a healthy dose of social liberalism to boot).
How popular? Back in June, a CNN/ ORC poll (.pdf here) found that 52 percent of Americans viewed “Dubya” favorably compared to 43 percent who viewed him unfavorably. By comparison, when he left office in 2009 less than one-third of Americans approved of Bush’s job performance.
That’s quite an impressive shift … in fact it’s even more impressive considering the 69-year-old ex-president has pretty much stayed out of the news for the past six-and-a-half years. The shift is likely even more pronounced in South Carolina. According to The New York Times, “multiple Republicans who have seen private survey data indicate that (the former president) is broadly popular among potential South Carolina primary voters.”
Let’s not forget something, though: George W. Bush’s failures in office led directly to the Obama presidency.
“Bush’s longest-lasting legacy could end up being the election of Barack Obama, who is currently poised to ride a wave of relentless anti-Bush sentiment all the way to the White House,” we wrote back in 2008.
How did Bush do that? By being “the chief betrayer of fiscal conservatism in the 21st Century, a ‘moderate’ Republican who refused to reign in the big government excesses of his own party. That failure ultimately cost the GOP both of its Congressional majorities as well as the faith of the American taxpayers.”
In other words Bush was just like Newt Gingrich before him … and just like John Boehner after him.
Still, how quickly the more impressionable among us forget. Especially South Carolina “Republicans” (who were dumb enough to chose Gingrich as their presidential nominee four years ago).
That’s where we come in: Reminding them.
Justifiable contempt for Obama should never manifest itself into support for George W. Bush – and by extension his pro-establishment brother – because without George W. Bush there would have been no Obama. And despite his protestations to the contrary, Jeb Bush will do nothing to fundamentally reverse the current trajectory of Washington, D.C.