With the 2010 midterm election campaign heating up, Republicans are starting to worry that the looming release of George W. Bush's memoir, Decision Points, could drive voters into the Democrats' arms. The book is scheduled to come out a week after the November elections, but leaks and pre-launch interviews are expected to focus attention on Bush's presidency in the final days before the vote — potentially reinforcing the efforts of the Democrats to remind voters why Bush was unpopular when he left office. But some Republicans, including Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), say President Obama's deficits and other problems make the Bush years look better all the time. Will Bush's book hurt the GOP, or help it?
The timing couldn't be worse for Republicans: "There is nothing that the Obama administration would like more than to re-lasso the GOP to the Bush years," says Matt Latimer in The Daily Beast, With the economy stagnant and the Afghan war dragging on, the Democrats' best hope is "that well-worn Washington tactic: Blame the other guy." Leaked excerpts from Bush's book will provide the perfect way to revive issues the GOP "still has nightmares about" — Iraq's non-existent WMD, Katrina, the collapse of the economy on Bush's watch.
"The Bush book bomb"
Bush's book won't help Democrats as much as they think: It's understandable that Republicans are nervous, says Colleen McCain Nelson in The Dallas Morning News. They have "finally gotten their groove back," and they don't want Bush to rock the boat. But this election will be about President Obama — and a Bush book might even help the GOP. As Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said recently, "voters are starting to miss George W. Bush."
"How will Bush's book affect election calculus?"
Voters are warming to Bush as a person — not his policies: It's true that George W. Bush is looking better "through the sentimental gauze of hindsight," says Julie Mason in the San Francisco Examiner. Bush's Iraq troop surge has aged especially well. It also helps that Bush has been quietly "hunkered down in Dallas writing his memoirs." But Republicans have spent two years distancing themselves from Bush, not defending him, and when he returns to the public eye they may regret it.
"Obama era makes Clinton, Bush look better"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
- The real lesson of Rick Perry's mug shot
- Why your employer should clean your house and do your laundry
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- The big policy question libertarians can't answer
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
Subscribe to the Week