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Dole Endorses Bush – Big Government GOP Desperate To Save Jeb's Failing Campaign

Students of post-Reagan Republican politics will no doubt be surprised  to learn that yesterday former Senator (and losing 1996 GOP presidential candidate) Bob Dole endorsed Jeb Bush for President. However, students of how what Ted Cruz calls “the Washington Cartel” works will immediately see the logic and inevitability in the Dole endorsement of Bush. 

But let’s start with a little history; the antagonism between Bob Dole and Jeb Bush’s father, George H.W. Jeb Bush Bob Dole George H.W. BushBush, was deep and personal. 

As competitors in the 1988 Republican primaries it was Bob Dole who promoted the attack line that the elder Bush was a “wimp,” and it was George H.W. Bush’s (truthful) attacks on Dole’s big spending ways in the Senate that prompted Dole to launch an angry tirade in New Hampshire that doomed his candidacy and set Bush on the path to the presidency. 

Such was the personal dislike between the two that even though Dole held the second most delegates going into the 1988 Republican National Convention, and Bush was perceived to have a tough hill to climb against the Democratic candidate, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, Bush refused to follow Reagan’s example and unite the party by putting his competitor on the ticket as vice president. 

After the 1988 election, Bob Dole was of precious little help to George H.W. Bush while he was President. But even after supporting the 1990 tax increase that probably doomed Bush’s reelection, Dole was, by the old establishment Republican rule of primogeniture, next in line to be the GOP nominee because after all, it was “his turn.” 

Dole’s campaign manager in 1996 was one Scott Reed. Reed was not a movement conservative, but one of DC’s top young professional political operatives and the losing campaign he ran on behalf of Bob Dole was perhaps the classic example of the content-free establishment Republican campaign – the same kind of résumé-heavy campaign that Mitt Romney ran and lost in 2012 and that Jeb Bush is running now. 

As CHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie pointed out in his book TAKEOVER, in 1996, Bob Dole ran on his biography as a war hero, attacked Bill Clinton’s character (as establishment Republicans are attacking Hillary), and tried to make himself out to be a conservative, but you couldn’t find the social issues or any part of the conservative agenda in a Dole campaign ad.

The low point in Dole’s campaign came when, in a ham-handed effort to appeal to conservatives, Dole said, “If that’s what you want, I’ll be another Ronald Reagan.” 

The “stand for nothing” strategy didn’t work for President Ford’s 1976 campaign, it didn’t work for President George H. W. Bush’s reelection, and it certainly didn’t work for Bob Dole—or John McCain’s losing 2008 campaign, or Mitt Romney’s losing 2012 campaign. 

The result of this content-free campaign was summed-up on the eve of Election Day 1996, by conservative columnist and opinion leader George F. Will who delivered this “pre-mortem” to the Dole campaign:

Bob Dole’s unintelligible campaign—the “Finnegan’s Wake” of presidential politics—was premodern in its indifference to the rhetorical dimension of the modern presidency, and postmodern in its randomness. His contention that the liberal media made matters worse called to mind the sign on the ruins of an ancient British church: “Anyone damaging these ruins will be prosecuted." 

“Reagan,” said Will, “faced media much more hostile than the often affectionate media Dole faced, but Reagan won because his candidacy, unlike Dole’s, was about something larger than the candidate’s lust for the last rung up the ladder. Which is to say, the secret to getting out a message is to have one.” 

Will saw in Dole, “an incoherence and superficiality born of his intellectual laziness and the incompetence of his staff of rented strangers [that] trivialized every issue he touched, from the coarsening of the culture as exemplified by partial-birth abortions, to the Balkanization of the country by racial preferences.” He predicted, “On Tuesday the country will make the mistake of extending a squalid presidency, but the country cannot be said to have missed the chance for a luminous presidency.” 

George F. Will’s devastating indictment of the 1996 Dole–Kemp campaign included a number of criticisms that bore an eerie resemblance to what conservatives would say about the failures of the 2012 Romney–Ryan campaign, and with good reason.  

In both campaigns, the Republican establishment forced their candidate, and their policy of running a content-free campaign, down the throats of the conservative grassroots of the GOP, and lost the election to a Democratic candidate that in any rational universe would have been soundly defeated by a competent candidate and campaign. 

And, as Mr. Viguerie noted in TAKEOVER, Bob Dole has remained true to his Big Government principles.  

Long after he was out of office and had ceased to be relevant in Republican politics, Dole joined with another “great compromiser,” Howard Baker, the former Republican senator from Tennessee, and his predecessor as Senate Republican leader, to support the passage of Obamacare. 

“This is one of the most important measures Members of Congress will vote on in their lifetimes,” the former Republican Senate majority leader and presidential candidate told an audience in Kansas City. “If we don’t do it this year I don’t know when we’re gonna do it.” 

With a “commitment” to conservative principles like that, it is no mystery why Bob Dole was soundly defeated in 1996. 

So what does this have to do with 2016 and the Jeb Bush campaign? 

Bob Dole’s campaign manager, Scott Reed, is still a top operative for the Washington Cartel, only now he heads up Chesapeake Enterprises a political consulting firm that represents clients in energy, gaming, chemicals and financial services – all industries that are part of the Big Business – Big Government axis that this years’ outsider candidates want to break. 

Reed is also the senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose leadership is among Jeb Bush’s earliest and strongest supporters – and who are now desperately trying to salvage their investment in Bush’s failing campaign. 

If you connect the dots, and the Washington Cartel money, there’s a straight line from the Big Government Republicans, like Bob Dole, who supported the George H.W. Bush tax increase that broke his “read my lips” pledge and led to his defeat, to the content-free campaign of 1996, to the Big Business – Big Government axis of Chamber of Commerce money supporting Jeb Bush, to the Bob Dole endorsement of Jeb Bush. Unsurprisingly, that line also leads straight to the financial interest of Scott Reed’s Big Business clients, and their desperation to save Jeb Bush’s foundering campaign.

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Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush made one comment that showed his true beliefs. He stated substantially, "If I am elected President, I will govern exactly as Lyndon Baines Johnson." That told me all I needed to know; Bush is simply another damned RINO. He looks like the kid in high school every boy wanted to and could whip his sorry sissy butt. We have had two Bushes too many already. It is time this nation got wise and elected someone like Judge Jeanine Pirro or Atty. Gen. Pamela Jo Bondi or Rep. Cynthia Lummis or Nikki Haley. Men have held the reins for far too long. Women are better equipped to lead just as they have the perfect qualities, traits and attributes to be Mothers rather than fathers. We certainly could not do worse than we have done since our founding as a Democratic Republic in 1787. 57 other nations have discovered that the ladies make great national leaders, e.g. Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto. Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher. Dr. Thomas E. Davis, Colonel, USA (Ret)/ [email protected]

Dole supports Jeb Bush

What Bob Doles does or does not say means nothing and has zero effect. Jeb Bush could be a decent candidate except for his support of Common core and Immigration. And another thing. If I were advising Bush I would tell him to keep the stupid retarded looking grin off his face and to get rid of the glasses and get contacts. He would do better looking serious instead of flashing that stupid looking grin. Makes him appear feminine and weak. Other then that, loved George W but can't get behind Jeb. I'll take a Cruz, Santorum and even consider Florina or Christie Carson??????Can't speak, closes his eyelids constantly before replying and that makes him look stupid and like he is trying to make up an answer. And the tone of his voice is also feminine and weak sounding but he remains a gentlemen but not a leader. Trump. Love what he says but hate the way he says it but weak on appearing Presidential but I would love to see him up against Putin but could he run the Country?, very questionable. Does not know how to speak like an educated, knowledgable person and so tired of his same hand expressions when he speaks. He needs lots of coaching or how to speak, better control of facial expressions and hand gesturing could clean up his act. He's a one line zinger!

Another RINO supporting another RINO.

I was at the 1996 National GOP Convention in San Diego, CA. A 1996 Conservative Presidential candidate, Pat Buchannan asked to be allowed in addressing the National Convention. Sen. Bob Dole and/or his team disallowed Pat Buchannan to address the Convention.

I suggested that if Pat Buchannan was not allowed to address the RNC Convention, Bob Dole would lose in November.

You all know the history.