Monday, May 04, 2009


The Republican Party is dead, and yet it still walks among us:

Bush Library Raises $100 Million in 100 Days

... Longtime financial backers of the 43rd president have raised more than $100 million for a presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas that will house his official papers, sources close to Bush told TIME. Much of the money was collected in the 100 days or so since Bush left the White House, a pace much faster than that of his recent predecessors. At least so far, none of it has come from overseas, the sources said....

Talk about partying like it's 1999 -- it's the old gang all over again:

...Some of Bush's oldest and biggest financial backers form a board of directors for the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, chaired by former Bush Commerce Secretary and Texas oilman Donald L. Evans. Members include Los Angeles investment banker Brad Freeman; Dallas hotel developer and former Bush ambassador to Costa Rica Mark Langdale; and Cincinnati-based businessmen and Bush ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Mercer Reynolds....

Well, apart from a certain have-a-beer-with quality, the ability to raise gobs of money was just about the only strength the GOP brought to the table in 2000. So one Republican, at least, is getting back to the party's roots, and his own (or perhaps taking a zombie walk through his past).


Republicans, of course, have horrible ideas and can't actually govern, but they used to be the absolute masters of two things: fund-raising and message discipline. Politico reports that some Republicans want to make a roots move on the message side:

Republicans looking to recover from Bush-era defeats are turning to an unlikely source for advice: top aides to former President George W. Bush.

Former White House press secretary Dana Perino, former Bush counselor Ed Gillespie and former White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto are among those set to provide words of wisdom to House Republican press secretaries at their annual workshop this Friday....

"We are battle-tested," said Perino, who was Bush’s last press secretary....

The point seems to be that it's not really a problem if all you have to say is "No," just so long as you get to say it in the front the maximum number of microphones possible. Don't dedicate your party to seeking new ideas or, heaven forfend, actually engaging in the legislative process -- just hire even more people to yell the same old non-ideas even louder:

...In November, after Republicans lost 21 seats, Conference Chairman Mike Pence went so far as to urge members to cut their legislative staff to make room for communications aides.

Today, House Republicans point to growth in their communications departments. House Minority Leader John Boehner has added Antonia Ferrier, a former staffer for Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), to respond to White House issues, while House Minority Whip Eric Cantor has brought on veteran press operatives John Murray, Matt Lira and Brad Dayspring and rapid-responder Joe Pounder. Pence has doubled the size of the Conference office’s communications team.

Even nonleadership offices have been expanding their ranks, with rank-and-file lawmakers such as Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and freshman Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) adding several press aides....

Although, given the ingrained habits of the Beltway press corps and the knee-jerk fear of being liberal-baited on the part of conservative Democrats both old and newly minted, who's to say this won't work?


Meanwhile, how sad is the GOP? Newsweek's Holly Bailey noticed last week that George W. Bush is stealing jokes from John McCain:

Vanity Fair is out with a more expansive look at what 43 has been up to and how he and his former aides are trying to shape his legacy. The reporter, Nancy Jo Sales, got access to Bush's maiden voyage into paid public speaking last month in Canada, and it sounds like the former prez basically delivered a total stand-up comedy routine. In one anecdote, Bush is quoted talking about a man he met at his local hardware store last month who pulled him aside to tell him that he looked remarkably like George W. Bush. "Yeah, man, happens all the time," Bush responded. "Oh, that must make you mad," the man replied. (Funny, your Gaggler thinks she's heard that line before.)

The latter link goes to a Reuters story from last summer that cites one of the "old jokes" McCain was using on the stump:

Or there was one about the man who came up to him and said, "'Did anybody ever tell you, you look like Senator John McCain?' I said yes. He said, 'Doesn't that make you mad as heck?'"

Bush stealing McCain's creaky jokes -- is this a political party or a lunch at the Carnegie Deli with Broadway Danny Rose's client list?

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