Ruth: W. to the rescue?

The Jeb Bush campaign has floated the idea of using George W. Bush in South Carolina.
The Jeb Bush campaign has floated the idea of using George W. Bush in South Carolina.
Published Oct. 9, 2015

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.

I have a theory that successful politicians have what I would define as a resident moron guy as part of the inner circle of confidants who — regardless of title — has the freedom to take the boss aside at any given time and inform him that he is a complete horse's patootie.

Abraham Lincoln had an entire Cabinet of moron guys. Franklin Roosevelt had Louie Howe and Harry Hopkins to remind him he had just done, or was about to do, something loopy. Poppy had James Baker. In the first term, at least Barack Obama had Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod.

And Jeb? Mirrors don't count.

If Jeb had put a greater emphasis on surrounding himself with an able moron guy, instead of gamboling around the country posing for holy pictures, the specter of W. smirking and shrugging his way across South Carolina would have been quickly dismissed as one of the worst political gambits since Gerald Ford jaw-droppingly insisted at the height of the Cold War that Poland was not under Soviet domination.

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 to pursue the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, in an effort to tamp down the impression of a Bush presidential dynasty, not to mention his brother's abject failings, Jeb offered up the jibber-jabber no one really believed anyway 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.

If Jeb Bush had a moron guy in his organization, he would have been told 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.

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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 certainly suggest Jeb has sought out his brother's advice, which certainly raises questions about the governor's judgment. We pause here to curl into a whimpering fetal position.

In the movie Patton, George C. Scott as the famous general observes to an aide that the German army has all but conceded defeat because they have had to resort to carts and mules to travel.

Well you could certainly make a case that, realizing Bush's fortunes were waning in the early contests of Iowa and New Hampshire, a desperate Bush camp alighted on the idea of bringing W. to South Carolina, representing a maybe, perhaps, kinda sorta whistling past the graveyard last-ditch scheme to revive a faltering campaign in the vain hope no one will remember 43's eight years.

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