But unlike most candidates, Gillespie also had to scramble to scrub his online history -- the Republican official started hiding media appearances and policy positions from their online homes, hoping far-right activists in Virginia wouldn't notice his previous support for, among other things, comprehensive immigration reform.
Gillespie is less concerned, however, about a different part of his c.v.
As George W. Bush's public image improves, more former Bush officials are running for office -- and are starting to tout their connections to the former president rather than running from them. Top former Bush advisor Ed Gillespie included photos with his old boss and talked of his work in the White House in the video announcing his Virginia Senate bid on Thursday. [...] Bush veterans privately admit the president, who left office in 2009 with an approval rating that dipped as low as 25 percent, was an albatross for many years in both primaries and the general election. The Wall Street bailout and other expensive Bush-era programs infuriated the Tea Party base, while Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War tarnished him with independents. But five years later, they say things have changed and that he's no longer toxic.
In 2012, Bush became the first former president since Nixon to skip his first post-office national convention, and he made no appearances on the campaign trail.
But in 2014, plenty of Bushies will nevertheless be on the ballot.
Gillespie ... joins a long list already looking to launch their own electoral careers: Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (R); Elise Stefanik, the current GOP front-runner for retiring Rep. Bill Owens's (D-N.Y.) seat in upstate New York; North Carolina congressional candidate Taylor Griffin (R) and West Virginia House candidate Charlotte Lane (R). Former Bush officials Tom Foley (R) and Asa Hutchinson (R) are also running for governor in Connecticut and Arkansas. Neel Kashkari, who served both the Bush and Obama administration as assistant Treasury secretary running the Troubled Asset Relief Program, is mulling a bid to the GOP nominee for governor in California. One of Gillespie's little-known Republican primary opponents, Howie Lind, served in Bush's Department of Defense.
Let's not forget, this is just looking at the 2014 cycle. If we expand the search a little more, we see that Rob Portman was the Bush/Cheney budget director at a time when the federal budget was something of a disaster, and Ohio voters elected him to the U.S. Senate. Tim Griffin was a Karl Rove protege caught up in the U.S. Attorney scandal, and Arkansas voters elected him to Congress.
Mitch Daniels was another Bush/Cheney budget director when the federal budget was a mess, and voters in Indiana made him a two-term governor. Bobby Jindal worked in the Bush/Cheney Department of Health and Human Services, and voters in Louisiana made him a two-term governor, too.
And that's just electoral politics. Elsewhere in the political world, a wide variety of prominent Bush/Cheney aides -- Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, Dana Perino, Mary Matalin, Frances Fragos Townsend, et al -- became media stars soon after leaving the White House.
Remember in 1937 when Americans turned to former Hoover administration staffers to serve in Congress, run for governor, and help shape the public's understanding of current events during FDR's presidency? Well, no, probably not, since that didn't happen.
I've long believed the political establishment never fully came to grips with the scope and breadth of Bush's failures, mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption. With so many Bushies on the ballot, the thesis looks better all the time.