The Republican presidential frontrunner, Arizona Sen. John McCain, not a favorite among hard-core conservatives, proudly accepted the endorsement Tuesday of former president George Herbert Walker Bush. Standing side by side at a Houston press conference, the 71-year-old candidate and the 84-old-year-old former commander-in-chief couldn't have looked more like dinasaurs than if they had been perched on the 4th floor of New York's Museum of Natural History. The contrast to the rock-star candidacy of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the Democrats' frontrunner, couldn't be more startling. There they were, just a couple of really old rich white guys who'd love to see the party return to the glory days when another really old rich white guy, Ronald Reagan, first took the White House at age 69.
When asked about McCain's struggle with the party's base, Pappi Bush referred to Reagan, also criticized by the Right during his presidency for being "a turncoat," and likened it to the onslaught against McCain, which he referred to as "an unfair attack." He said that McCain has "a sound conservative record but not above reaching out to the other side."
But just what value will Bush's endorsement bring to McCain in his quest to win over the base? Remember "Read my lips...no new taxes?" Conservatives never forgave Bush for that broken promise. I'm sorry, but getting cozy with Pappi ain't like getting a nod from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the 5-star General who led the famed Republican Revolution of the early 90's. In fact, in this week's New Yorker, Gingrich said that McCain's candidacy is "...the victory of the moderate wing for the moment. But I think that's partially due to a collapse of the Delay wing of the party, and secondarily a collapse of the Rove-Bush wing of the party." See what I mean?
To e sure, if Obama does indeed find himself across the stage from McCain during the autumn pre-election debates, it will be like 1960 all over again, when John F. Kennedy looked like a suave, charismatic, cocksure Cary Grant compared to Richard Nixon's sweaty, desperate, 5-o'clock-shadowed Peter Lorre.
And what about Junior? Bush 43. The absolute worst president in history. It's probably safe to say that McCain would rather throw himself under the wheels of the Straight-Talk Express than pick up his endorsement.