On Tuesday, papers were filed with the Federal Elections Commission forming a new Super PAC. This new PAC is called “43 Alumni for Biden.” As its name suggests, this group is being made up of former officials from the George W. Bush administration to support the Presidential campaign of former VP Joe Biden. George W. Bush was the 43rd President and is often referred to as “Bush 43” or simply “43” to distinguish him from his father who was the 41st President.
While details are scant at present, one thing that is known is that Karen Kirksey, who was an official in the Treasury Department during the Bush 43 administration, is listed as the group’s treasurer and custodian of records. At this time, details about who else is involved and what their strategy is have not been divulged.
During his time in office, President Trump has not been good buddies with the Bush family. During his first campaign for President, Trump often levelled just as much criticism at the administration of Bush as he did at the Obama administration. In particular, he was heavily critical of Bush’s Middle East policy and the Iraq war which he viewed as ill-conceived and poorly managed.
Additionally, one of Trump’s opponents during the 2016 primary was the former President’s brother Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida. While he was an early front runner and seemed to be the favorite of Republican power brokers, Trump quickly overcame him in the polls and hit him hard on the campaign trail. Jeb even earned one of Trump’s famous nicknames: Low Energy Jeb.
While Trump was, and has been, very critical of the administration of “43.” And while he did soundly defeat Jeb during the primary, it is doubtful that either of these factors are the motivating force behind the formation of this Super PAC.
The fact is, despite his criticisms of the Bush administration and his defeat of Jeb, Trump’s policies are, in many ways, more closely aligned with the Bush family’s than Biden’s are. Trump has been in favor of lower taxes, cutting government regulation, supporting the second amendment, and appointing conservative judges. All things championed, at least in word if not in deed, by both Bush Presidents and Jeb. Biden has not been in favor of these things.
So, by turning to Biden instead of Trump, these former officials are turning to many policies that are the polar opposite of what they supported before. This doesn’t make sense. That is, it doesn’t make sense unless there’s another motivation.
I think this motivation lies not in policy disputes or old grudges or even Trump’s off-putting character: it lies in the swamp.
Lest we forget, Trump didn’t only defeat Hillary Clinton in his run for the Whitehouse. He didn’t just defeat a crowded primary field that included Jeb Bush. He defeated a nationwide Republican political machine and a nationwide Democratic political machine that tried like hell to stop him. He defeated a deeply entrenched system that a lot of people were invested in.
Among those invested in this system were, undoubtedly, officials from the Bush administration. The officials would have very likely found themselves with cushy jobs in a Jeb Bush Whitehouse as well. But, alas, it was not to be for them, because of Trump.
However, it does not have to be too late for these people. While Trump defeated them in 2016, he did not destroy them. These swamp creatures are still there and they are still ready to pick up where they left off in a new Republican administration. While that won’t happen in 2020, there is still a chance it could happen in 2024. But that chance only exists if Trump is defeated.
If Trump wins reelection, he will continue his war against Washington in all of its facets. If Trump wins reelection, he will continue to reshape and remake the Republican party. If Trump wins reelection, he will have more influence over who the nominee will be in 2024. He will undoubtedly use that influence to find a nominee who will continue his work and not a nominee that is part of the Washington system. And this nominee will not turn to former Bush officials in his or her campaign and administration.
If Trump loses, though, Washington can resume business as usual. If Trump loses, the Republican party can and will return to its swamp culture. If Trump loses, a Republican machine candidate can win the nomination in 2024. If this candidate wins the general election, these former Bush officials will have their resumes ready and waiting.
There are a lot of reasons to dislike Trump. A lot of reasons. These reasons can be aspects of his personal behavior or they can be policy issues. But one thing is certain, if you profess to be a conservative, there is no good reason to vote Biden over Trump. You would be better off casting a throw away vote for the Libertarian Party candidate or Constitution Party Candidate as a means of making a statement. However, if you’re a Washington swamp creature looking to return to power, then Biden is the perfect choice.
“There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”-Daniel Webster.