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George W. Bush: How Ever Did the GOP Become So ‘Isolationist’?

Um...

Credit: NBC/Today/YouTube Screenshot

George W. Bush is doing political punditry now:

Former President George W. Bush described the modern-day GOP as “isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist” in an interview Tuesday that was packed with implicit criticism of the most recent Republican president.

“It’s not exactly my vision” for the party, Bush told NBC’s “Today” show in a rare live TV appearance. “But, you know, I’m just an old guy they put out to pasture.”

I’m occasionally tempted to view Bush, with his paintbrush and his easel haunted by the dead, as a tragic figure. Certainly many of the worst ideas to come out of his administration didn’t originate with him, even if he was ultimately The Decider. But come on, man. It takes some doing to be that obtuse. The adjectives listed by Bush all fall under the umbrella of nationalism. In which case, the question is why the GOP isn’t as internationalist as it used to be. And is he really puzzled as to at least one reason why? Single word? Four letters? Begins with an I?

If Bush wants to posit that the Republican base has gone too far in a nationalist direction, then that’s fair. But let’s not pretend this happened in a vacuum uninformed by events.

about the author

Matt Purple is a senior editor at The American Conservative.

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