David Frum, from his perch in the heart of the Beltway, is very excited that a substantial number of veterans of the George W. Bush White House have collaborated in an ad endorsing Joe Biden for President. For someone less consumed by hatred for Trump than Frum, however, different thoughts come to mind.
Regardless of what its participants intend, the Bush alumni ad for Biden is a stark reminder of why Donald Trump won his improbable victory in 2016. Trump defeated sixteen Republican politicians to win the Republican nomination, then a former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, because an enormous number of Americans had grown disgusted by a bipartisan Beltway consensus that produced cozy lives for those inside the Beltway and something rather less pleasant for the rest of us. Indeed, without the endless wars, shuttered factories, shattered communities, stagnant wages, and porous borders that were the fruit of that consensus, all served up with generous dollops of barely concealed disdain for ordinary Americans, the election of such an outlandish character as Donald Trump would have remained what it had been when Trump flirted with White House runs before, unthinkable.
The Bush White House in which Frum served arguably epitomized the very worst parts of this consensus. After all, the Bush Administration began with a disastrous march toward war in Iraq, ended with a profound financial crisis, and was marked in between by the disappearance of roughly 50,000 factories and millions of manufacturing jobs, repeated efforts to increase legal immigration and legitimize illegal immigration that had no popular support in the party Bush led, and an overarching preference for a globalist future that offered nothing to many Repubican voters, despite Dick Cheney’s breezy assurances that a good living could be made selling trinkets on Ebay.
The Bush alumni ad for Biden simply reinforces the belief that there is little real difference between the Bushes, Romneys, and McCains on the one hand and the Clintons, Obamas, and Bidens on the other, and that all the millionaires inside the Beltway have more in common with each other than any of them do with the rest of us. In fact, I can’t think of any message more likely to help Donald Trump win his uphill battle for reelection than that one. So, fire away, Bush alumni. Please.