family politics

George W. Bush: Mo’ Presidents in Your Family, Mo’ Problems

George W. Bush campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination with Jeb Bush on November 8, 1999. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Liaison

The Bush family has made it clear that even they have mixed feelings about political dynasties, and on Wednesday former President George W. Bush opened up to a crowd of 7,000 health IT experts about the issues he’s created for his brother, saying the problem with Jeb’s 2016 campaign is “me.” “It’s an easy line to say, ‘Haven’t we had enough Bushes?’ After all, even my mother said, ‘Yes,’” he said, according to Politico. “That’s why you won’t see me out there, and he doesn’t need to defend me, and he’s totally different from me. The role of family is not to be a political adviser or a policy adviser — there are plenty of those around — the role is to say, ‘Hey man, I love you.’”

That’s a pretty sweet explanation for why W. won’t be hitting the campaign trail, but Bush’s tone grew darker as he described his time in the White House. “The president needs people around him who are there to say they want to help. Imagine if instead Laura had been saying to me, ‘What the hell did you get us into this for?’ You’re living in a museum. It’s cold. It’s not your furniture. It’s Jefferson’s furniture,” he said.

And apparently, when Bush was deciding whether he should run, his family didn’t make things easy for him either. “My two girls had no desire to see me run for office. Their response was, ‘You’re not as good as you think you are; you’re going to lose.’ And when that didn’t work, ‘You’re going to ruin our life.’” If W. can get past Barbara and Jenna’s soul-crushing criticism, Jeb can probably overcome having two presidents in his immediate family.

George W.: Mo’ Bush Presidents, Mo’ Problems