Having endured some of the most harrowing downsides from the Great Recession, there's no reason I should ever give George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt, especially when we fold into the mix the disastrous Iraq War, his torture policy and all the rest of it. But I'll be the first to admit that in contrast to Donald Trump, Bush appeared remarkably sane and competent.
I'm ashamed to say I've found myself giving Bush more deference than before, knowing the colossal Trump crisis.
Not any more.
In the past year or so, Bush has elliptically criticized Trump during at least one speech and, yeah, we've also seen W appear on late night talk shows, joking and giggling -- generally savoring a public rehabilitation, knowing he's no longer considered the dumbest or most inept chief executive since, I don't know, Buchanan? Furthermore, during John McCain's funeral, W applauded right along with everyone else when Trump was pointedly and rightfully eviscerated by everyone from Meghan McCain to Barack Obama.
Likewise, it's no secret that the Bush Family is, at the very least, disgusted with- and resentful of Trump for stealing the Oval Office from Jeb! during the '16 primaries, successfully framing the smart Bush as an impotent, low-testosterone sad sack.
All that said, I'm sorry-not-sorry to announce: the rehabilitation of George W. Bush is over.
This past week, W launched a round of fundraising stump speeches in support of various Republican candidates running in the midterms. The tour began on Wednesday and includes stops in Florida and Missouri, the latter being in support of the GOP challenger to Claire McCaskill's Senate seat.
Simply put, W is campaigning to make sure Trump isn't checked by Congress -- this unforgivable monster who publicly humiliated Jeb and who's been highly critical of W's presidency as well as the roster of #NeverTrumpers who worked in his White House. W is helping to ensure Trump has zero accountability, no checks on this clown-dictator's power, tempting more damage and the potential for cataclysmic events that'll make the death toll in Puerto Rico seem quaint.
“While he prefers to consider himself retired from politics, President Bush recognizes how important it is to keep the Senate and decided to help a few key candidates,” Bush spokesman Freddy Ford told Politico.
He should go back into retirement. Keep painting those weird (albeit not awful) portraits and stay away from politics, especially knowing he's adding himself to this Voltron Of Assholes that includes Trump as the Orange Lion. No, America doesn't need W to join forces with Trump -- forming a singularity of dumbness from which nothing can escape.
I mean, results-wise, it might not make any difference in the long run. W doesn't carry the same gravitas with conservative voters as he did during the aftermath of 9/11, so I doubt he's going to change too many votes. But that's not the point. He's chosen to support Republicans who support Trump, knowing a Republican Congress will enable more atrocities from the White House, so we can safely describe W as a Red Hat By Proxy. Until he says otherwise, W is cool with a Congress that'll turn a blind eye toward Trump's institutional damage, not to mention his most egregious crimes.
Am I surprised? Not at all. Despite the favorable contrast with Trump's ineptitude, W is the same old shit-kicking imbecile he's always been, amplified by his two degrees of separation from being a genuine Trumper.