July 30, 2016


Why the Bush Family Should Endorse Hillary Clinton : Donald Trump's Russian flirtations are a rebuke of the family patriarch's greatest foreign policy legacy. (DANA HO, 7/29/16, New Republic)

[George H.W. Bush] was and remains a member of the New England-New York elite. Though he referred to his grandchildren as "the little brown ones," he appears to have embraced having a family blended with Mexican immigrants. He was a serious adult as president, in particular in his conduct of foreign policy. He didn't have to be pushed to repudiate David Duke.

And unlike Donald Trump, he never suggested we should abrogate international treaties, toss aside our international commitments, and disdain diplomacy and international institutions. He didn't invite Russian aggression by saying we may not come to the defense of NATO allies. And he never held a press conference in which he asked Russia, sarcastically or otherwise, to conduct espionage against his election opponent.

Bush dedicated his career to maintaining an international order that kept the U.S. in a preeminent position of global power, and that prevented the USSR and Russia from extending its power beyond its contiguous sphere of influence. As president, he oversaw what he hoped would be the creation of a new Europe, with a shrunken Russia unable to intimidate Eastern Europe and unable to keep the West on a constant war footing.

If he can get past naked partisanship, it should be easy to endorse Hillary Clinton--the only nominee in at least a century whose experience and preparation for the presidency rival his when he was a candidate.

What about the rest of the Bush family? Barbara appears to loathe Trump. Jeb has already said he will not vote for Trump. Laura hinted she may have already decided to vote for Hillary. And one of his closest former colleagues, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, has already endorsed Clinton.

George W. Bush has pledged to support Republican candidates for Senate. But he has openly mused that he may be the last Republican president. George W. Bush may have misread Vladimir Putin, but he didn't openly play footsie with him. That--plus Trump's attacks on his brother, and on his own legacy--might be enough to switch sides, especially if it was an endorsement accompanied by an endorsement from his father.

Would a Bush family endorsement be a net gain for Hillary? Without a doubt. It might embolden more Republicans to at least disavow Trump. It would make it even harder for the press to treat Trump like something other than an unstable extremist grossly unfit to be in charge of our nuclear codes, military and prosecutorial power, and state secrets. Like Gaullist-Socialist alliances against Marine LePen's National Front in France, it would signal that Trump is outside what's acceptable in a liberal democracy, and that protecting the republic is more important than inter-party rivalries. A Bush family endorsement of Hillary Clinton would convince many mainstream Republicans (especially college-educated Republicans and Republican women) to vote for Clinton--there might even be enough converts that Trump would have no path to victory.

Given the good relations amongst them, Bill should co-ordinate a joint appearance with GHWB, W, and the UR.

Posted by at July 30, 2016 9:18 AM