Viewpoint

How to commit campaign suicide: Bring in W

Jeb Bush laughs during a news conference in New Orleans with his brother, then Texas Gov. George W. Bush, in November 1998.
Jeb Bush laughs during a news conference in New Orleans with his brother, then Texas Gov. George W. Bush, in November 1998. 1998 AP FILE PHOTO

Do you have an inkling that whatever might be left of Jeb Bush’s political ambitions is circling the drain of oblivion when somebody in the former Florida governor’s camp comes up with the brilliant idea of schlepping out his big brother to campaign for him?

About the only thing that might be an even more intensely stupid idea would be to call on Dick Cheney to vouch for Jeb Bush’s keen foreign policy acumen.

But with Jeb’s polling numbers gasping for air somewhere between Hardy-Har-Har and “You are …??”, Bush campaign apparatchiks floated the notion of enlisting George W. Bush to hit the hustings in South Carolina to help out his foundering sibling. Cue the forehead slap.

Talk about fear and loathing on the campaign trail. What would make you believe that having a former president who led the nation into a phony Iraq war resulting in nearly 4,500 American deaths and more than 32,000 casualties all the while slouching the country to the brink of the worst economic depression since 1929 would be a big boost to the younger brother’s campaign?

Since he entered the race, Jeb offered up the jibber-jabber no one really believed that he was going to be his own man on the hustings. His own 62-year-old man?

And Jeb was supposed to be the smart one? Oh dear.

Someone should have told Jeb bringing Mr. “Mission Accomplished” anywhere near the campaign will: (a) only underscore the whole “presidency as the family business” thing and (b) once more remind voters of the gormless towel-snapper who sat in the Oval Office for eight years while Baghdad burned and the economy imploded.

This isn’t exactly a Camelot moment.

It never dawned on Jeb, or any of his gofers, that at some point while W. is snickering his way around South Carolina there will come a time when he will throw his arm about his little brother and perhaps give him a big kiss on the cheek as scores of cameras record the moment for posterity.

And before you can say “Heckuva job, Brownie,” the Jeb Bush presidential campaign will have just handed his Republican and Democratic political foes all the opposition research and negative visuals anyone could possibly ask for.

Injecting George W. Bush into the campaign would suggest Jeb has sought out his brother’s advice, which raises questions about the governor’s judgment.

Dredging up the hapless W. isn’t a political ploy. It’s a de facto concession speech.

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