Will the Reemergence of George Bush Help or Hurt Democrats?

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With Bill Clinton's presence being hailed by Democrats on the campaign trail, another ex-president is slowly starting to emerge from his "cone of silence." George W. Bush, who is beginning a promotional tour for his new book Decision Points, has given several speeches about his post-presidential life and dished on his failed effort to privatize Social Security and described how his decision to bail out banks "wasn't that hard" of a call. Embattled Democrats, anxious to change the election narrative from a potential Tea Party triumph, are looking forward to once again aiming verbal barbs at Bush."He gave us a gift then, and he's the gift that keeps on giving," Nancy Pelosi stated on MSNBC. Pundits parse whether Bush's reemergence will be a potential boon to Democrats.

  • Bush Is Still Conspicuously Absent on the Campaign Trail and the reason is that his poll numbers are still low, reports CNN's Ed Hornick: "A USA Today/Gallup Poll in early September found that 71 percent said Bush should get blame for the country's economic troubles. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll taken at the same time indicated that 53 percent blamed Bush and Republicans for causing the current economic conditions, while 33 percent blamed President Obama and Democrats."
  • His First TV Interview May Be After Election Day  The New York Times' Brian Stelter notes that Bush is scheduled to appear on Oprah on Nov. 9, the day his book is published. His "first sit-down TV interview will be with Matt Lauer, of the 'Today' show, and will be shown in prime time on NBC on Nov. 8...Ms. Winfrey’s interview is notable in part because she showed her Democratic leanings by being an avid supporter of President Obama during the campaign in 2008."
  • Privatizing Social Security Is an Issue Again and Bush's 2004 effort is part of Democrats line of attack, observes Time's Jim Abrams. He quotes the House Speaker's office stating "Instead of helping seniors Republicans, backed by their allies on Wall Street, are threatening to privatize and cut Social Security, just as they tried to do under President Bush."
  • Bush Is Already a 'Frequent Punching-Bag' in Election describes The Hill's Michael O'Brien. "Democrats accuse Republican candidates of wanting to revive Bush-era policies, which by implication includes an effort to privatize or curtail Social Security. Pelosi's comments on Thursday underscore the extent to which Democrats have relied on the attacks for political traction."
  • He's Back in the Spotlight  Rachel Rose Hartman at Yahoo! News reports that the ex-president recently admitted that his "biggest failure" was not privatizing social security, which may "play into the strategy" of Democrats. "Bush supported the partial privatization of Social Security, and Democrats say Republicans will try to advance that goal if they win power in Washington."
  • This Might Be Bad Timing  Elyse Siegel at The Huffington Post notes "the comments from the former president may leave some members of the GOP community a bit uneasy. Over the summer, it was reported that the release date for Bush's memoir -- November 9 -- had Republicans concerned that the timing could hurt the party's chances at the polls."
  • Here Is What His Book Says  National Journal's Rebecca Kaplan summarizes the decisions Bush makes in his new book. "Bush says the book begins with his decision to stop drinking at age 40 ('a decision I could not have made without faith') and tells viewers that after a biographical overview of his life, he'll offer a chapter on how he selected his Cabinet and senior staff....Bush calls the bailout his 'decision to set aside ideology to prevent an economic collapse.'" Topics also mentioned include: 'Setting a stem-cell research policy; sending troops into Afghanistan and Iraq; his 2004 reelection campaign; tax cuts; the global AIDS initiative; attempts (and failures) at Social Security and immigration reform."

The ex-decider has also taken to YouTube to give readers an unfiltered glimpse of Decision Points:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.