It was reliably reported this week by the Dallas Express-News that a ghost has been seen in the Risen Creek residential area of Dallas near the home of ex-President Bush. Observers have ranged from patriots practicing their pistol-shooting skills – in two cases laser-equipped Rugers have produced reflections of a pale image – to scholars en route to their research on intelligent design at the George W. Bush library at SMU.

The Bugle claimed that police have been fielding a number of such reports, but Chief Ricky Bob Jacinto felt the information should remain ”under our sombrero,” as he put it. He was concerned about policing problems with tourists that visit the area in hopes of seeing Mr. Bush cut some brush or ride his mountain bike.

Deputy Gov. Bull Brahma referred all questions to Gov. Perry, who was campaigning somewhere in the East – or South, he wasn’t sure. But the Texas Ranger bureau in Austin reassured citizens that Dallas enjoyed an average gun possession of two sidearm per resident and at least one automatic weapon in each residence, and that a well-armed citizenry was always safe.

It was up to a political science student at Texas Christian University to figure out that the ghost was in fact George W. Bush. Debt has risen at a terrifying pace over the last three years for reasons that have a great deal to do with the Bush tax cuts, the Bush prescription drug benefit, the Bush wars and the interest payments on the Bush debt. The student’s conclusion was that the national Republican Party has made George W. into a ghost in the hope he will be forgotten.

Among the ever-fluctuating Republican presidential debates, weeks go by and the name of (you know who) never crosses the lips of the candidates. The student cited an example: Rick Santorum lost his thin chance at becoming the presidential candidate when, in the midst of a customary rant against the evils of sex with animals and the contamination of bodily fluids by atheists, he uttered the name of our 43rd president. His decline in the polls was immediate.

With the exception of Eisenhower (who took himself out of the Republican playbook by approving a 90 percent tax on upper incomes), there has not been a Republican president since Teddy Roosevelt who can be mentioned without embarrassment. Nevertheless, since a hero is needed, and time warps memory, Ronald Reagan has been given the lead in this political play.

Despite the fact that he allowed a dozen tax increases; put Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court; signed the immigration reform act, which gave amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants; traded weapons with a hostile state; and was a personal friend of the Democratic speaker of the house, every Republican knows that Ronald Reagan was a flawless chief executive, a brave defender of American values, a loyal family man and a keen economist.

Republicans should lionize the other George Bush. To any sane audience, he would be a red rose in a candidate’s bouquet. But his budgetary approach runs counter to current Republican anti-tax obsessions – so he is “ghost status” also. In fact, when he spoke well of Romney the other day, Mitt’s staff pretended it was some other guy.

In Florida, where the next episode of the Republican primaries will be unveiled, there will be a “ghost” problem. There’s still another Bush – a popular ex-Florida governor whose blessing in the Sunshine State would be a political gift.

Maybe they can just refer to him as Good Old Jeb.

Devil’s Dictionary ?Quote of the week:

Government: Organized extortion, coercion and violence, the purpose of which is to keep us from unorganized extortion, coercion and violence.

Rodney Quinn, a former Maine secretary of state and university history and government instructor, lives in Westbrook. He can be reached at [email protected]

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