Never gets old. The picture, we mean.

Republican senators whose seats are already endangered are seeking fundraising help from George W. Bush of all people, if only because compared to their party's actual nominee, Dubya seems like a responsible elder statesman. If nothing else, it's a nice illustration that everything is relative:

In the weeks since Mr. Trump emerged as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Mr. Bush has headlined fund-raisers for two Republican senators and has made plans to help three more. Among them are Senators John McCain of Arizona, who was one of Mr. Trump’s earliest targets of derision, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who has struggled to respond to Mr. Trump’s inflammatory talk.

Turns out the guy who got us into two land wars in Asia is a pretty big draw compared to the guy who, depending on his mood, wants to either nuke Fox News or invite Kim Jong Un to the White House. Shrub declined to talk to the New York Times for its story on his service as a temporary life rope for sinking candidates, but unnamed friends of the former president say that he's not a big fan of Donald Trump's anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric. He's not planning to endorse Trump and won't attend July's Republican convention, and for all we know starts going "Na-na-na-na I can't hear you!" whenever the subject of how he'll vote this November is raised. But he does hope he can help salvage the Republican majority in the Senate:

At the event with Mr. McCain, Mr. Bush stressed the importance of preserving the Republican-held Senate as a “check and balance” on the White House, suggesting that such a check was needed, whether the next president is Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

In what might be a masterpiece of understatement, the Times calls 2016

a painful year for the Bushes, as Mr. Trump has not only upended the party that they dominated for decades but has done so by publicly repudiating the 43rd president’s legacy. Mr. Trump denounced the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a foreign policy disaster, blamed Mr. Bush for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and painted his presidency as a failure. Yet Mr. Trump suffered little backlash from voters in the Republican primaries as a result.

Well of course not. In this year's meaner, creepier Republican primaries, poor old Dubya would be painted as too damn liberal. But the mainstream R's he's helping think they might actually benefit from the ol' doofus's contrast to Trump. To borrow a phrase from P.J. O'Rourke, Bush may have been wrong, but he was at least "wrong within normal parameters."

How bad is it? Sen. Ron Johnson, who looks set to lose his Wisconsin seat to Russ Feingold, is delighted to have some help from former president George Walker Bush. Whoever that is:

Mr. Johnson said he was looking forward to his reception with Mr. Bush, in part because he has never even had a conversation with the former president, underscoring how much Mr. Bush has withdrawn from politics.

“All the Bushes are people of integrity,” said Mr. Johnson, who is locked in a difficult race with former Senator Russ Feingold.

OK, that actually surprised us. We had no idea Ron Johnson could tell a funny story.

For his part, Donald Trump, who had apparently been fed a dinner of Mexican orphans and was happy in his tum-tum, told the Times he doesn't mind Dubya going out and campaigning for Republicans, which would normally be something the nominee does, but that would mean sharing the spotlight with another person anyway:

“I like that he’s helping certain Republicans,” Mr. Trump said, adding that Mr. Bush’s brother “had a great chance to beat me” and did not.

So yeah, if Dubya wants to hang with losers like his brother, that's all good with Donald. Ask him tomorrow and he'll tell you it's sickening.

And just like a Katrina refugee being able to get some free food after losing everything, it's all working out pretty well for Dubya, who now looks downright presidential compared to the flaming turdbag who won the nomination. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 47 percent of people view Bush positively now, which was higher than during much of his second term, while a Bloomberg poll showed Trump with only 31 percent national favorability. Our '96 Oldsmobile looks pretty good parked next to a trashed Hyundai, too.

Not surprisingly, we also learn that going back to Texas has left Dubya with no more intellectual curiosity than he had while in office:

In retirement, unlike former President Bill Clinton, Mr. Bush does not devour daily political developments and intrigue, and largely shuns television news coverage.

But thanks to his brother getting whupped in the primaries, Bush at least became vaguely aware that it was an election year and that he disagreed with Donald Trump, so he's been prodded into occasional action on behalf of Republican Senate candidates, as long as the donor money keeps coming in and there aren't too many big words to read. As for taking a public position regarding the top of the ticket, Shrub isn't about to get gotcha'd by the media:

Mr. Bush declines to praise or criticize either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton in public settings. “My candidate lost,” he tells audiences, referring to his brother.

Not gonna say anything more than that. It's like the old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again.

[NYT via TPM]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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