Will George W. Bush’s Legacy Haunt Romney if he is nominated?

At the end of George W. Bush presidency, he had an approval rating at a dismal 22 percent, leaving the Republican Party tired and disconsolate.  President Bush had run on being a compassionate conservative, but ended up expanding the size and scope of government as well as adding trillions more in national debt. Some liberal pundits claimed the Republican Party was going to need 20 years to recover from the damage that Bush did to the party’s reputation.

Although not always Bush’s fault, in many ways they should have been right.  The Republican Party was poised to see difficult election cycles for years to come.  They had two horrible cycles in a row, 2006 they lost Congress and in 2008 Democrats owned the lower house and the Senate.

Then Democrat misjudged the American electorate.  President Obama and the Democrats passed a leftist agenda that spawned the Tea Party, which stood for Taxed Enough Already.  All around the country the Tea Party rallied and helped spark the resurgence of the conservative base, and with that, the Republican Party was saved from the projected years of electoral defeat. In 2010, the Tea Party helped Republicans take back the Lower House and they almost took the Senate.

It was only because of the Democrats misjudged the electorate, and moved to usher in big government reforms that were not promised by the 2008 candidate that led to the disastrous mid-term election for President Obama, who ran as a centrist in 2008. The Democrats did not calculate that some of the reasons they had found so much success in 2006 and 2008 was because of conservative’s irascible response towards President Bush’s own big government push at the end of his second term.

By all objective measures right now, we should be seeing a Reagan Conservative renaissance; instead, we are inching closer to nominating a candidate that is atypical to the very thing that helped drag the party back to winning, but he also has surrounded himself with the same oldRepublican Insiders that permeated throughout the Bush administration that had brought the party towards the precipice of obscurity in the first place.

More than two dozen veterans of the Bush administration have surrounded Romney’s campaign. Everything form policy advisers to campaign strategists have all worked for the former president and now work for team Romney.

Matt Lattimer, who is a former Bush speechwriter, plainly states that Romney’s campaign is “a restoration of the Bush establishment,” and that these people “all want to be back in power” and have coordinated around Romney as the best method to get this accomplished.

President Obama’s campaign is already indicating that if Romney becomes the Republican nominee, they will mark the presence of so many members of the Bush-Cheney administration on Romney’s team as a winning issue for them. 

Moreover, why wouldn’t Team Obama take this as a winning issue?  The voters did not vote for the Republican Party in 2010, they voted against the Democrats who supported President Obama’s unpopular agenda.

As a leading contender for president, “you have the choice of every adviser in the world,”

[Romney] “picked the people who had been advising Bush and raising money for Bush because I think they have been consistent with the way he wants to run the country and what he believes.” said Houston venture capitalist Fred Zeidman, who is a friend of the Bush family and a Romney supporter.

This is a problem for a man who is attempting to run for president as a conservative outsider who has experience in the private sector.  Heck, George W. Bush had experience in the private sector, and that did not make him an economic genus.

I can tell you this; I am not ready for Bush 2.0, because even though Republicans do not expand government at the rates Democrats do, we will still be left with another expansion of the federal government. 

The premise is that conservative will come out in force to support Romney if he is the nominee out of desire to expel the president.  This could be true, but it could just as likely not be the case.  In the past three cycles, conservative have only come out in force once, and that was when they had what they felt were true conservatives on the ballot.  If Romney is the nominee, many may just decide that he is another big government Republican and stay home.  Romney could run up numbers in the middle but if he does not manage to excite the base, he has little chance of occupying the White House come 2013.

President Obama will likely have success pointing to the Bush loyalist on the Romney team in the general election.  The Republican establishment has attempted to take the party back from the same conservative base they not long ago depended on.  They had better hope that base does not decide to abandon them when they are so close to gaining that power back.