There’s a strong sense of irony as Bob Dole — who lost as the 1996 Republican presidential candidate — now endorses single-digit Jeb Bush, who will not secure the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Former U.S.Sen. Dole, a severely wounded World War II vet, used Veterans Day to announce he had joined Jeb Bush’s campaign as its National Veterans’ Chairman. Jeb Bush never served in the military.
“I will do all I can to be helpful to Jeb’s campaign,” Dole, now 93, pledged. His proven leadership skills “will fix the country.”
“I think he’s the most qualified, and we need somebody with experience and there are a lot of good candidates — I like nearly all of them,” Dole said of Jeb Bush and the rest of the field. He then added, “Except Cruz.”
Last year, at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference, Ted Cruz offended Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney, all members of the GOP establishment, when he challenged their moderate political postures that didn’t resonate with conservative voters.
“All of us remember President Dole, and President McCain and President Romney,” Cruz told the CPAC crowd. “Those are good men, they’re all decent men but when you don’t stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don’t stand for principle, Democrats celebrate.”
At the time, Cruz noted the “heroic” military service of Sens. Dole and McCain, which he said he greatly respected, but made clear he would not hesitate to talk about substantive matters of conservative principle that are important to bringing Republicans to victory — even if others may disagree.
That fragrant scent is ripe truth.