George W. Bush just called for a nobler politics. But in the GOP, Trumpism reigns.

For liberals who have been around long enough to have spent a healthy chunk of their lives writing about the misdeeds of the George W. Bush administration and thought we’d never see a more destructive presidency in our lifetimes, Dubya’s emergence as a voice of GOP moderation has been more than a little disorienting. Today he gave a speech with some thinly veiled criticisms not just of President Trump but even of developments within his own party.

Yet at the same time, Ed Gillespie, an old aide of Bush’s, is waging a positively Trumpian campaign to be governor of Virginia — and Bush is raising money for him. Which reveals that despite the better intentions of some within their party, Republicans will always revert to stoking fear and hatred if they see electoral advantage in it. And their continued use of those poisonous tools ensures that their own voters will keep responding to the ugliest appeals.

Here’s a sampling from Bush’s speech:

We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions, forgetting the image of God we should see in each other. We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism. Forgotten the dynamism immigration has always brought to America. …

Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility. … This means that people of every race, religion and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.

It should be said that as president, Bush did advocate comprehensive immigration reform. But now his former adviser Gillespie has all but centered his gubernatorial campaign on fear of the MS-13 gang, alleging that because his opponent Ralph Northam…

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