DALLAS — George W. Bush has spent much of the month with relatives at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he played golf, rode bicycles and dined with friends. Back in Dallas, the former president will mostly play golf, ride bicycles and dine with friends.
Bush, who left office in 2009 with a historically low popularity level, seems content in self-imposed exile. “I crawled out of the swamp, and I’m not crawling back in,” he said in a rare interview with the Hoover Institution this year.
This is not exactly a shattering development for a Republican Party that is hoping to put its best face on display at next week’s convention in Tampa. Despite rallying around Bush for years, especially after the Sept. 11 strikes, the party hasn’t exactly clamored for input from the man who led the country for eight years.
“Why would people care?” Alberto Gonzales said in response to questions about what Bush had been up to. The former U.S. attorney general, who is now a law professor at Belmont University, said he last saw Bush at the dedication of his official portrait at the White House. At the end of the ceremony in May, Gonzales said, he found himself alone with Bush in the East Room, staring up at the painting. “What I recall was that he was very happy,” said Gonzales. “Very happy with the portrait, particularly the face.”