With Jeb Bush struggling to connect with some Republican activists, his campaign has begun exploring whether to bring in the person it thinks may be best equipped to give him a boost with skeptical conservatives: his brother George W. Bush.On September 24, I pointed out the disturbing popularity of Dubya among Republicans -- a plurality of Republicans in one poll even said they'd vote for him if he could run for a third term. I said:
The 43rd president is a very popular figure among Republican voters and could deliver a needed jolt to his brother’s sluggish campaign....
It may ruin the race for him down the line, but it could win the race here,” said Katon Dawson, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.
So maybe Bush has been dealing with his family all wrong. Maybe, if he wants to win the Republican nomination, he should appear with W. as much as humanly possible. Maybe he should campaign with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Maybe he shouldn't have answered that question about whether he would have authorized the Iraq invasion with a defensive "I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody" -- maybe he should have said "Hell yeah I would have!"I think Jeb could turn this into an entire campaign narrative. Remember the huge round of cheers he set off in the last debate when he said George W. "kept us safe"? Start with that -- then move on to the notion that Iraq and Afghanistan were completely pacified and trouble-free when Dubya left office (literally every Republican in America believes this now). Who made everything go bad, according to the GOP? President Obama -- and his first-term secretary of state, Hillary Clinton!
Embrace the notion of a restoration of the '00s, Jeb! Defend your brother's administration defiantly! Primary voters in your party will eat that up!
Know what else you could do? Get some high-profile veterans of W's wars to endorse you. "Lone Survivor" Marcus Luttrell was a Rick Perry man (you might remember Luttrell and his twin brother standing behind Perry when Perry announced his candidacy), but now he's unaffiliated. George W. awarded Luttrell the Navy Cross in 2007; Luttrell arranged to have his battle patch sent to George W. Maybe Jeb should beg his brother to hit up Luttrell for an endorsement. Same with Taya Kyle, the widow of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle -- she also endorsed Perry, but remember that Chris Kyle famously got into a 2006 bar brawl with Jesse Ventura because Ventura insulted Dubya and the Iraq War. So I think she might come around after a word or two from the ex-president.
(I suppose it might seem odd for a tough guy and a tough guy's widow to endorse someone like Jeb, but, hell, Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed Mitt Romney, so stranger things have happened.)
Really, Jeb, just go deep into this. It could be like Reagan calling the Vietnam War a "noble cause" in the summer of 1980. It sure would be "politically incorrect." Yes, it would be awful, but the only way to become the GOP nominee is to say awful things as often as humanly possible. So get cracking on this, Jeb.