Romney equals Bush

Huh? Bush wasn’t even invited to speak at his own Party’s convention:

Fewer than four years after George W. Bush left office, his team members are back in high places, their reputation is being reconsidered, and the Bush name is regaining its old luster and then some.

But it is interesting to read how thoroughly Romney has embraced Bush advisors:

Particularly striking is the degree to which Bush 43 foreign policy players have assumed leading roles in shaping policy for Romney.

Oh boy, more wars. And this is reassuring:

Cofer Black, a former top executive at the Bush-era security contractor once called Blackwater, is a top adviser to Romney on intelligence issues, shaping his views on subjects such as interrogations of terrorism suspects.

Reading that is tortuous. It’s not just Romney, it’s Ryan too:

And Dan Senor, who was a top official in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in the year after the invasion, is now at the right hand of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Senor was also cited as one of the influential thinkers behind some of Romney’s controversial comments during his trip to Israel, when he said the innate superiority of Israeli culture is one reason the Israelis are doing better economically than the Palestinians.

So Romney and Ryan are taking Bush policies to heart, and trying to hide it from voters:

Barack Obama was swept into the presidency four years ago in part because of his explicit rejection of Bush’s policies. The Bush vision of an America unhesitant to impose its will with or without international support had cost the country too much in lives, resources and international standing, and the neocons and other top Bush figures had fallen into disrepute, perhaps never to be heard from again. But now they’re out of the wilderness — and finding homes in the Romney campaign.

They may be finding homes in the campaign, but they are being hidden in closets lest people figure out the degree to which Romney is embracing Bush. And I don’t think this is correct:

Even Dubya himself has begun to get more respect, whether it is MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough saying that Bush was more direct and principle-driven than Romney, or a senior diplomat from the developing world telling me recently that “we miss Bush. You knew where he stood.

I view that as more of an indictment of Romney — he’s worse than Bush — than a rehabilitation of the former president’s reputation. I’m not sure this is correct either:

the rebound for Bush and his team has been uncommonly and surprisingly fast. And while the dubious case for the war in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and the Patriot Act still stir deserved resentment and criticism in many circles, apparently people have begun to forgive, even before they have had time to forget.

As far as I could tell, Republicans ran from these issues at the convention (too bad, because they need to be discussed — Democrats won’t raise them either), and they are still running from Bush. It seems to me that Bush only looks better in comparison to Romney because Romney has fallen in their eyes. But maybe it’s correct that Republicans are forgiving Bush, and I’ll look forward to them making him a prominent part of the Romney campaign. Voters will surely love that.

About Mark Thoma 243 Articles

Affiliation: University of Oregon

Mark Thoma is a member of the Economics Department at the University of Oregon. He joined the UO faculty in 1987 and served as head of the Economics Department for five years. His research examines the effects that changes in monetary policy have on inflation, output, unemployment, interest rates and other macroeconomic variables with a focus on asymmetries in the response of these variables to policy changes, and on changes in the relationship between policy and the economy over time. He has also conducted research in other areas such as the relationship between the political party in power, and macroeconomic outcomes and using macroeconomic tools to predict transportation flows. He received his doctorate from Washington State University.

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