Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 10, 2010

INVITING W TO THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.... President Obama was in Texas yesterday, and hosted fundraising events in Austin and Dallas, raking in $1.7 million for his party. But during his visits, former Houston Mayor Bill White, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, kept his distance, citing previous commitments elsewhere.

It led the RNC to push its message of the day: Democratic candidates don't want to campaign with the president. There's ample evidence to the contrary -- though, Texas politics being what it is, White's campaign strategy is hardly shocking -- but for an August story, Republicans seemed pretty excited about this yesterday.

Obviously, just as in 2008, there are going to be some areas where Obama is more popular than other areas. In fact, as strategies go, Dems seem to have a pretty good plan: send Obama to help Democratic candidates where it'll help, and send Bill Clinton to help Democratic candidates where Obama's less popular. It's the benefit of having two popular national leaders available.

But so long as presidents on the campaign trail are a subject of interest, it's worth considering where George W. Bush is hiding. MSNBC hosted a discussion yesterday with DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse and RNC Communications Director Doug Heye, and one exchange stood out.

Contessa Brewer: Is Bush still the guy that nobody wants around campaigning for them because of how low his approval ratings were?

Doug Heye: No, not at all.

Really? Not at all? If so, exactly how many candidates should we expect to see getting campaign support from the former president?

Unless I've missed it, Bush has kept an extremely low profile when it comes to the midterm elections -- as far as I can tell, he hasn't made an effort to help literally any candidates this year -- but if the RNC's chief spokesperson believes Bush would be welcome campaigning with Republican candidates, I'll look forward to the events.

I have a strong hunch, though, that Heye may not be sincere. Indeed, just last week, there was a report that the release of George W. Bush's book was delayed "out of fear that a public reminder of his presidential legacy would hurt Republicans heading into November's midterm elections."

This need not be complicated. Republican leaders have been candid about their desire to go back to the "exact same agenda" Bush/Cheney used to get us into this mess in the first place. And now the RNC's chief spokesperson believes Republicans are "not at all" afraid to be seen with the former president. It's an easy enough proposition: prove it.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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Now that you bring it up, let's see a little more of Dick Cheney on the campaign trail!

Too bad Stanley Kubrick isn't around anymore!-Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 10, 2010 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Bush can't count on not answering questions due to national security issues, so he avoids the press whenever possible. Republicans want voters to forget, with the help the MSM, about the damage they have done to the American landscape.

If George is out there, he will shoot his mouth off and America will get a dose of reality. Repubs have already bent it far beyond any recognizable form now. Democrats need to remind people of that.

Enough ranting, I need some coffee.

Posted by: Darsan54 on August 10, 2010 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Out of the Oval, and Off the Wagon. I said it, so it must be true. Pass it along. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 10, 2010 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Our liberal media- still mot liberal

Posted by: Jamie on August 10, 2010 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Shrub is out of sight because he's in Haiti. As if those poor folks didn't have enough to deal with. Hopefully we'll see some video of him wiping his feces-stained hands on somebody's shirt. The reason the book has been delayed is that he can't reach a deal with DC Comics and Stan Lee to publish it.

Posted by: buddym on August 10, 2010 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is out of office and out of politics so why does it matter whether he's on the campaign trail or not? It still doesn't change the fact that Democrats don't want to be seen with Obama. That's a problem. And trying to deflect by asking "Where's Bush?" doesn't help any.

Posted by: Da Pup on August 10, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I just saw Gee Dumbya Bush having gang bang sex with half a dozen Saudi princes, so he's in bottom heaven and having the time of his life :wide stancing" the people that own his family I'm sure. The spinless, dim witted failure seems so happy that he was brought up as a cum dumpster for oil sheiks so I say we leave him with his sausage fest fun.

Posted by: Bush = Saudi Cum Dumpster on August 10, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Bush out of office has all the comfort of an released Satan bug . Invisible to the dead , but still a terror for the remaining victims of bush .

Posted by: FRP on August 10, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush ?? Hmmm, name is familar -- dated my cousin? No? Umm... the mechanic down at johnson's old place? No? Hmm ... gee, just ... can't .... place .... him .....

- Rep. Dick Head
R., Tinfoil co., AL

Posted by: bigtuna on August 10, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

pup: It still doesn't change the fact that Democrats don't want to be seen with Obama.

Wow. Anything to bash Obama, hud?

How about: "It still doesn't change the fact that a few Democrats in mostly red districts that they wouldn't have won in 2008 without Obama at the head of the ticket don't want to be seen with Obama, just like nearly any other mid-term election when the party in power is trying to maintain difficult seats with a president whose approval rating has naturally dipped.

Posted by: cr on August 10, 2010 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is out of office and out of politics so why does it matter whether he's on the campaign trail or not? It still doesn't change the fact that Democrats don't want to be seen with Obama. That's a problem. And trying to deflect by asking "Where's Bush?" doesn't help any.

I actually agree with sentence one. In most cases, Clinton being the exception, former P(s)OTUS (POTUSes? POTI?) law low when it comes to electoral politics.

Sentences 2-4 are clap trap. Almost every sitting President has people who will want to duck him because he isn't particularly popular in their districts/states. National Dems haven't been popular in the South in about two generations.

This is no big deal.

Posted by: howie on August 10, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: yiranzaijian on August 10, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is sort of silly, since Bush has been keeping an extremely low profile ever since he left the White House. I don't see why he should just pop up out of nowhere now and start campaigning for people. Bush has taken himself out of that game, as he has shown the last 18 months.

Last Gallup checked in July, Bush had a 45% favorability rating. Clinton is at 61%. Obama? A whopping 7% above Bush, at 52%.

If the DNC feels that Obama is "popular" enough to go campaigning with certain people, then the statistics really do not contest why the RNC or Republicans should feel similarly about Bush.

The difference, of course, is that those who view Bush favorably now will have a feeling of nostalgia if they see him, whereas Obama is bogged down with all the misery that is currently going on.

But hey, Democrats, keep whispering yourselves sweet nothings, I bet it will help in November.

Posted by: George on August 10, 2010 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

As much as we conservatives would like to take pointers from raging libtards...

Thanks, but no.

We don't need your "advice" about how to run our campaigns. Doing so results in stuff like McCain (endorsed by NYT) getting the nomination.

Nope...what we aim to do doesn't have a whole lot to do with GWB (not a fan of his spending...his cave-in on socialized medicine...his failure to address illegal immigration, etc...). He can chill out at the ranch as his legacy improves over time. On that note, if "I told you so"'s turn out to be testicles, GWB will end up looking like he's taking a hippity-hop for a spin...prone.

Y'all be sure to keep running against GWB. It makes us laugh - especially since, Conservatism-wise, what we have in mind and what is coming to pass is far grander than whatever we could have ever accomplished under GWB's tenure. It took Carter Redux to remind people just how dangerously incompetent Democrats are. I'm Frank Bartles, this is Ed Jaymes, and GWB is nowhere in sight. We thank you for your support.

Now get back to your business of trotting out Slick Willie and hoping he doesn't tip his hand about the challenge Hillary is going to hit BHO with in 2012. w00t.

Posted by: Impugn on August 11, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK



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