The 2016 election promises to be a wild ride. Outsider candidates have thrown both parties into disarray. Obamacare, the economy and homosexual marriage have only added to the confusion. Meanwhile, the voters are literally drowning in a sea of candidates and a wave of conflicting proposals. What is clear, however, is that the people of America want to get this nation back on track.
In these bewildering times, the Republicans sorely need clarity of purpose. Whoever the eventual party nominee is, he will surely face an uphill battle. The fight to win over the vast bureaucracy of Washington will be fierce. Democrats may possibly surge in the House of Representatives on Bernie Sanders’ coattails. And liberals already have a substantial foothold in the Senate.
Faced with the possibility of an obstructionist Congress, a newly minted Republican president will find himself devoting his first months to domestic policy. Cabinet nominees, judicial appointments, debt ceiling increases, all could be held hostage by a democratic party bent on seeking revenge for a lost election.
While our domestic situation is dire, it will be crucial for our next president to attend to our international obligations. The most significant of these is the Middle East. Next to China and Russia, the gravest threat to American freedom is the terrorist state of ISIS. Under the Obama Administration’s reckless pacifism, we have lost ground in the global war against Islamic fundamentalism. The democrats have allowed ISIS to grow to an unconscionable size. The group has long ago eclipsed Al Qaeda and is even threatening the totalitarian regimes of Syria and Iran. Worst of all, this crisis has already spilled over into Turkey and Western Europe, where a steady stream of young recruits is signing up to fight against the American vision for global peace.
Grit & Gravitas in a Grim World
To face down this incredible threat, the United States will need a muscular foreign policy. We must show we are committed to a long-term solution. We will need a man of courage and unparalleled diplomatic credentials. Of all the possible candidates who possess these qualities, none is better prepared than former President George W. Bush.
As president, George W. Bush earned a reputation for fearlessness. He is a proven wartime leader who never backed down against a foreign threat. He has an experience with Islamic terror that cannot be duplicated. He is also a man of deep faith, who has never once suffered any doubt about the righteousness of his convictions. Furthermore, Mr. Bush enjoys the utmost respect of our military forces. They trust the man intimately, for his years of service have shown him to be a genuine ally. In the halls of foreign governments, he has the legitimacy of a powerful player. His deep connections to the leaders of the Middle East make him uniquely equipped to enact difficult policies. The King of Saudi Arabia considers Mr. Bush a dear friend. Assad of Syria and Ali Khamenei of Iran know enough of the former president to respect him out of fear.
The Department of Defense is a complicated, unwieldy organization that requires the sort of firm hand Mr. Bush can provide. Washington, D.C., itself a vipers nest of backstabbing and glad-handing, would benefit from the return of such a disciplined leader. Quite simply, George W. Bush has the cojones to get the job done.
A Presidential Partnership
If Jeb Bush is elected president, one could imagine a dynamic much like John F. Kennedy had with his brother Robert, who served as Attorney General. The fraternal bond was one of great trust and sage advice. For other possible Republican contenders — such as Ted Cruz or Mark Rubio — the appointment of George W. Bush to Secretary of Defense would indicate that the new administration is taking foreign policy seriously. It would signal a maturity desperately needed by a young president. On the global stage, it would inspire immediate respect. Even Donald Trump would benefit from Mr. Bush’s quiet wisdom.
As we enter the 2016 election cycle, it’s important to consider what a possible Republican administration will look like. Will the next occupant of the Oval Office surround himself with starry-eyed utopians and potential usurpers? Will the business of government grind to a halt while competing egos attempt to mark their territory? That was the Obama model in 2008. On the other hand, many doubted George Bush’s ability in 2000, but he proved his critics wrong by partnering with Dick Cheney and appointing seasoned hands like Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft to vital positions. What followed was eight years of unadulterated conservative vision.
If the Republicans want to be taken seriously, they need to follow in George Bush’s footsteps. Appointing a former president with international gravitas to a crucial position is just the sort of game-changing proposition that accomplishes that.