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The ex-president no one loves: George W. Bush invisible in primary campaigns


The following Postmedia News story ran in various Canadian news outlets, including the March 29, 2012, edition of the Star Phoenix. Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

April 9, 2012

By Sheldon Alberts

WASHINGTON — First Barbara Bush, then Jeb Bush and now George H.W. Bush has endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.

But George W. Bush is still nowhere to be found in the 2012 campaign — and that's likely just as well as far as Romney is concerned. 

The 43rd U.S. president, whose foreign and domestic policies shaped the GOP in the first decade of this century, has deliberately kept a low profile throughout the long Republican primary season....

"I think the consensus opinion within the Republican establishment is that the less Bush says, the better during the campaign," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where Bush is building his presidential library. 

"I think George W. Bush wants to be quiet and wants to be out of the limelight, and the Romney campaign, I imagine, sees little upside in drawing him out." 

Most recently, Bush has been busy with his eponymous political institute. This week he unveiled an online Freedom Collection video highlighting the stories of prominent democracy activists around the world.

"I think that George W. Bush is still largely shell-shocked from his experience as president," said Jillson.

"As he left the presidency we were bogged down in two wars of nearly a decade's length at that point, and the economy was in collapse. Whatever his leading principles in domestic economics or foreign policy were, they were in disarray if not in disrepute."...

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