How George Bush is helping the GOP

It may merely be good manners; Bush is not uttering anything that could make life tougher for his successor. But it’s also good politics. As Election Day approaches — and it looks as if voter dismay will lead to a rout of the party in power — Obama and the Democrats are increasingly arguing that Bush-Cheney policies caused the economic calamity that led to massive unemployment and a recession, and that Democratic policies have guided the economy in a better direction, with modest growth and job creation.

A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans believe that Bush deserves blame for the lousy economy. Only 32 percent tapped Obama for that dubious honor. The problem for the Dems: Bush is not on the ballot, and they are. Worse for the Democrats, voters likely to choose a Republican in their local House race, according to recent surveys, are twice as eager to vote as those supporting a Democrat. Many of these GOP voters are aiming at a specific target: Obama. The Democratic voters have . . . John Boehner, the House Republican leader who would become speaker if the GOPers take the House. Talk about asymmetrical political warfare. Any reminder of the bad ol’ Bush days would be quite useful for the Democrats — and nothing says Bush era more than W.

Yet he’s hanging out in an undisclosed location. He’s even done the R’s a favor by scheduling his memoirs to appear on Nov. 9, a week after the election. How convenient. Imagine were that book to come out a few weeks earlier. Upon publication, the book — which apparently chronicles the major decisions Bush encountered in the Oval Office — will trigger an explosive debate on the Bush presidency. As the above-mentioned poll suggests, such a discourse will probably not rebound to the Republicans’ benefit.