This campaign season senatorial Republicans are passing over their current Republican presidential nominee for a former president who left office with one of the lowest approval ratings in presidential history to help them raise money.
When George W. Bush was leaving office in 2008, he went into a “self-imposed” exile, but in truth, there wasn’t a Republican in America who wanted to be spotted in the same zip code with the former president.
Fast forward eight years, Republicans up for re-election are trying to find a way to raise money without inviting their walking offensive joke of a Presidential nominee to the parties. But it must have been a certain rock bottom moment when someone decided to find Bush’s number and see if had had any plans for a few months.
Republicans currently control 54 seats in the 100-member Senate. And Bush is tasked with helping them preserve their razor-thin majority. Bush, who Republicans privately regarded as a political pariah not so long ago, is being hailed as a conservative savior.
I think that this is a one-off, temporary thing that where he can be helpful he will be,” said Dana Perino, who was Bush’s White House press secretary.
Condoleeza Rice, Bush’s former Secretary of State who’s now a political science professor at Stanford University, is also out and about raising money for Republicans. And on Friday, after managing to keep a straight face, she politely shot down the rumor that she might be drafted to serve as Trump’s vice-presidential running mate.
Dr. Rice has repeatedly said in past cycles as well as this one, she’s not interested in being vice president. She’s happy at Stanford and plans to stay,” said Rice chief of staff Georgia Godfrey.
Friends (yes, he still has some) say Bush was reluctant at first, not wanting to get involved, feeling that his time in politics had passed. However, they say he was overwhelmed by how hard so many Senate candidates begged him for his help.
And so far Bush has headlined fund-raising functions for Arizona Senator and former primary rival John McCain and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte. He’s also set to help Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
Even though Bush is in some ways doing Trump a big favor by taking on a role that’s traditionally reserved for their party’s presidential nominee, the billionaire still continues to take swipes at the Bush family, especially Jeb Bush.
On Wednesday Trump whined about Jeb’s decision not to honor the pledge he made last year that he would support whoever won the Republican presidential nomination.
He signed the pledge but he hasn’t endorsed me,” Trump said.
And like his brother, Jeb Bush is also raising money for Republican congressional candidates.
The Bush family has a deep love for the party and cares about the future and in light of Trump’s capacity to damage the brand, I think this is part and parcel of doing what they can to preserve the party,” said Jeb Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell.
One of the most hated presidents in generations has become a welcome sight for nervous Republicans facing the prospect of having Donald Trump as their party’s flag bearer during an election year. Good times.
Featured image mashup via Chris Jackson/Staff and Joe Raedie/Staff Getty.