George W. Bush left office as one of the least popular presidents in American history, but the Bush family brand still looms large in GOP politics.
Former President George H.W. Bush endorsed Mitt Romney last week; Former President George W. Bush has remained quiet; and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — perhaps the biggest prize, for candidates chasing after conservative voters — has kept his name in the spotlight on some key issues. The bottom line: Republicans still have their eyes on who the Bush family is supporting.
The Washington Post reports:
The current presidential election cycle is the first since 1976 to be taking place without a Bush in a statewide or national office or seeking a national office. Yet the Bush family primary — a behind-the-scenes drama that has been playing out in the GOP contest for months — is taking on as much significance as ever.
But that’s not all. We here at TPM actually think the Post might be a little too narrow in its definition of Bushes holding national office. If we relax the standard ever so slightly, we end up going way back — a lot back — to find a presidential election year without a Bush somewhere.
2008: George W. Bush is the term-limited president.
2004: George W. Bush is the incumbent president, winning re-election.
2000: George W. Bush is elected to the presidency, though losing the national popular vote.
1996: George W. Bush is the governor of Texas.
1992: George H.W. Bush is the incumbent president, but loses re-election.
1988: George H.W. Bush is elected to the presidency.
1984: George H.W. Bush is re-elected Vice President of the United States, on the Republican ticket with Ronald Reagan.
1980: George H.W. Bush is elected Vice President of the United States, on the Republican ticket with Ronald Reagan.
1976: George H.W. Bush is the country’s Director of Central Intelligence, having been appointed to the office by President Gerald Ford.
1972: George H.W. Bush is the country’s Ambassador to the United Nations, having been appointed to the office by President Richard Nixon.
1968: George H.W. Bush is a Congressman from Texas.
1964: George H.W. Bush is the Republican nominee for Senate from Texas, losing to incumbent Democrat Ralph Yarborough.
1960: Prescott Bush — George H.W. Bush’s father — is a Senator from Connecticut.
1956: Prescott Bush is re-elected as a Senator from Connecticut.
1952: Prescott Bush is first elected as Senator from Connecticut, winning a special election held at the same time as the presidential race.
1948: Here we are — as near as we can tell — the last time that a member of the Bush family did not currently hold, or run for, a significant national or state office.
(But just to be complete, in 1948 Prescott Bush was a delegate to the Republican national convention!)