At long last, George W. Bush, the man who left the Republican Party in tatters as he left the White House, has some coattails.
His loose lips at a recent fundraiser last week about fellow Texan Ted Cruz have given the GOP presidential hopeful an invaluable shot of gravitas. And that’s saying something considering how Bush’s own brother, Jeb, has been running away from his family legacy by changing his surname to ‘exclamation point.’
But who wouldn’t rather declare punctuation as kin rather than a former claimant to the White House in this populist uprising disguised as an election? Nothing says vote for me like “I know my relatives either bore or vex you, but let me explain…”
Back to Cruz, though. According to Politico, Bush ’43 sized up Cruz as Jeb!’s toughest Republican opponent before heaping still more praise on him. In fact, big brother George gave Cruz the mother of all establishment endorsements.
“I just don’t like the guy,” Dubya said of Cruz, who previously served the former president as an advisor during his 2000 presidential bid.
Donald Trump called, and he thinks that’s a yuuuuuuge resume builder.
I know Cruz’s recent quarterly fundraising numbers were outstanding, but money can’t buy good tidings like that. You mean the ex-president, which every conservative goes out of their way not to mention on the way to deifying Ronald Reagan, doesn’t want you in his exclusive establishment club? The president who refused to openly criticize Barack Obama while the Marxist in the White House was dismantling the country thinks you worthy of his disdain? The ex-president who bottomed out in the polls and handed Congress to Pelosi-Reid has condemned you?
Well, I guess Cruz just won’t be able to call up Dubya when it comes time to abandon free market principles in order to save them or some horse puckey like that. In the meantime, he will just have to settle for being too cool for establishment school. And going into this week’s debate, the timing is outstanding.
Cruz has suffered a similar debate fate to several other GOP candidates the first two go-arounds—being forgotten. Long stretches of time have passed in a crowded field as no question has come his way and opportunities for rhetorical touchdowns have been missed. Yes, he has done just fine so far, but the road to the presidency will ultimately need a breakthrough moment or two.
Because the press likely won’t be able to help itself, Cruz should have such a moment set up on a tee for him on Wednesday, especially with speculation swirling that Dubya’s Bush brother Jeb! is prepping his last gasp. After the moderators try picking a fight between presumed frontrunners Trump and Ben Carson, Cruz’s turn will come to answer a version of the very question that has more or less defined the entirety of his Senate career: “Why is George W. Bush just the latest member of GOP leadership who has a problem with you?”
Cruz may have demurred when he was first asked to respond to Dubya’s “endorsement” last week, but that was then. No need to rush into an opportunity for a political disemboweling when millions are just days away from turning on their TVs to witness such thrills.
Then, when the time is right, you pounce like you’ve just come across a B-list Hollywood actress at the Iowa State Fair, or the overmatched president of the Sierra Club. No need for Cruz to pretend he isn’t dying to answer this question. In fact, if the first question directed at him during Wednesday’s debate doesn’t address Bush’s insult, he should proceed as if it was asked anyway. Cruz needs to put his name on this. With big, bold letters.
Not with animus and bombast, but with winsome precision. Perhaps it’s just a simple matter of style that keeps two Texans from joining in common purpose, Cruz might suggest. Perhaps John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are more to Bush’s liking, what with their untold treachery and antipathy among the base. Or maybe those guys are just a hoot at all those fundraising parties where they collude against the Constitution.
Cruz should consider calling upon the spirit of Charles James Napier, the British Army’s 19th Century commander-in-chief. When Hindu priests complained to him about the prohibition of Sati – the custom of burning a widow alive on the funeral pyre of her husband – he replied:
Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.
Let us indeed. American Exceptionalism. Judeo-Christian heritage. Constitutional integrity. Sanctity of life. Religious liberty. Those are the national customs Cruz has vowed to uphold against the Sati-like perversions of GOP party hacks.
These are the pillars of our liberty the GOP establishment, including the Bushes, outright surrendered to the Left the last few decades. Wednesday’s debate is the perfect time to paint with bold colors the difference between real leadership and the establishment’s failure theater with about 20 million potential voters watching.
First published at Conservative Review
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.