Former President George W. Bush, for the second election in a row, won't be attending the Republican National Convention, a move that makes sense if you imagine that he probably wanted to attend about as much as the Romney campaign wanted to have him there. Politico's Jonathan Martin notes that former presidents are typically offered a speaking slot if they attend, and the Romney camp hasn't been eager to bring the Bush years back up during the campaign. Bush's spokesman told Politico:
He supports Governor Romney and wants him to succeed. President Bush is confident that Mitt Romney will be a great President. But he’s still enjoying his time off the political stage and respectfully declined the invitation to go to Tampa.
As we say, it's not terribly shocking. Bush didn't attend the 2008 convention either, when wars and financial crisis made him particularly toxic. On the other hand, Bill Clinton spoke at the 2000 Democratic convention at a time (cough: Lewinsky!) when the Gore campaign wasn't so eager to discuss him. Toxicity aside, in a recent interview, Bush reiterated his hope to stay far, far away from politics for the time being. Or as he put it, so charmingly, "Eight years was awesome and I was famous and I was powerful ... But I have no desire for fame and power anymore. … I crawled out of the swamp and I'm not crawling back in." Florida does get pretty swampy this time of year.