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February 16, 2016

War on Error: Trumping Jeb and George Bush in S. Carolina

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (C) stands with his brother, former President George W. Bush (R) and former First Lady Laura Bush (L) at a campaign rally on February 15, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Bush campaign is seeking support in South Carolina, where George W. Bush is popular with the state's large military population, before the Republican primary on Saturday, February 20.

Well, the Bush’s are back — at least, in the Palmetto State.

If Trump serves no other function in 2016, however, he deserves credit for doing what no one in senior government or presidential politics (for three cycles now) has dared to do. Among other things, that’s to call out Bush 43 for lying to invade Iraq, miring America in a decade of war, then drowning the country in patriotic theater.

As the new favorite son staggers into the first southern primary, it’s understandable the Bush family would be deployed as a firewall. As predictable as it was, however, the South Carolina rally came with all the old wrapping paper. Joining Jeb! in North Charleston, Dubya doubled-down on the red-white-and-blue, even bringing back that signature, hangar-sized, “let’s roll,” American flag.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush and his brother, former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush at a campaign rally on February 15, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Bush campaign is seeking support in South Carolina, where George W. Bush is popular with the state's large military population, before the Republican primary on Saturday, February 20.

Like the “shoot first, ask questions later” days had never ended, Laura was the model of grace while Dubya easily reprised the “good old boy” role. Credit Spencer Platt and Campaign 16’s allergic reaction to artificiality, though, for the photo below. Consistent with the “rip off the bandaid,” tone this presidential go-around, Getty Images makes us privy to this more candid snapshot of the former first couple.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush (L) at a campaign rally on February 15, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Bush campaign is seeking support in South Carolina, where George W. Bush is popular with the state's large military population, before the Republican primary on Saturday, February 20.

Tiny recompense, most would say. Still, the tart expressions mirrored an exercise yesterday Dubya has avoided for the last eight years. Forced into the open by his brother’s mess and  Trump’s withering “war on error,” those looks come from having to defend oneself.

(photos: Spencer Platt/Getty Images. caption: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (C) stands with his brother, former President George W. Bush (R) and former First Lady Laura Bush (L) at a campaign rally on February 15, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Bush campaign is seeking support in South Carolina, where George W. Bush is popular with the state’s large military population, before the Republican primary on Saturday, February 20.)

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