Bush argues — and it is an excellent argument — that a governor’s record in office is a much better indication of what his performance is likely to be as president than does, say, a volume of Senate speeches made in an effectively consequence-free environment. That is a very compelling case for rallying behind Rick Perry, which the Republican electorate does not seem much inclined to do, or to fall in with Scott Walker or Bobby Jindal.
If we are looking for a compelling new policy idea, Bush is not our man. (It isn’t clear who is.) If we are looking to radically change the posture of the Republican party, then we might be inclined toward Senator Rand Paul; but the Republican primary electorate is, at the moment, zombie-walking in the opposite direction of Senator Paul’s libertarianism, as a coalition of frustrated immigration reformers (hurray!), anti-trade autarkists (boo!), and a small-but-larger-than-you’d-think group of very vocal white nationalists (egad!) of the Le Pen school express their opposition to insufficiently conservative Republican coastal elites by throwing in with a New York City real-estate heir and lifelong progressive whose main political activity thus far in his seven decades has been nurturing the careers of Chuck Schumer and a certain Mrs. C.
If the best we can say for Bush is that the people who dislike him most intensely exhibit a worrisome compound of rage and stupidity, that’s not much of an endorsement, either.