(image: DonkeyHotey / flickr)

Here’s the central aspect of the Rmoney Presidential Campaign: he and his rich cronies need the American people, engaging our vaunted short-term memory, to forget all about the global depredation and financial collapse of the Bush Years. Mitt’s rebranded the GOP to be all about a Businessman President, who’s Compassionate Yet Principled, who will deregulate America to get bureaucrats out of the way of entrepreneurs and Big Bidness. Also: taxcuts!

Wait, how is this different from W?

Well, it’s not. Additionally, of course, Mitt’s foreign policy advisers are mostly W’s foreign policy armchair adventurers (“Finding New War Theatres for Other Americans’ Kids!“) and except for the Boston-based Mormon War Room, many of his moneymen are Bush Money Men and his domestic pollcy is, well, Bush Domestic Policy.

Let’s face it, Mitt and the GOP need to get at least the appearance of BushStank off themselves for the inattentive American voter. Because the reality it that a Romney presidency will be a more magical-underpanties version of W. So the appearance of Non-Bushiness needs to be front-and-center for the rest of Mitt’s effort to unseat the Kenyan Devil-Baby Usurper.

The one event Legacy Media is holding its Labor Day front-pages and covershots for is Mitt’s Veep selection. This is when he’ll get the most attention; pundits will expound endlessly about how it’s “Mitt’s first presidential decision” and how he got lots of input but “made this decision himself” and why “this choice defines the Rmoney presidency, his values and his appeal.”

To divert attention from the BushStank that permeates his policy, which no one pays attention to anyway — hell, it’s a presidential campaign for pete’s sake, aren’ their illegal aliens on his lawn care payroll, or something? — he needs a Non-BushStank Veep choice.

A bright shiny object smelling New, not Stanky.

This, to say the least, presents a problem for contenders, both likely and not so.

Jeb!
: Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it? Kinda hard to make the rubes forget the disaster that was the W presidency when you’ve got his brother on your ticket, Mitt. Even with the media buy-in that “he’s the smart one!”

Condi: Not much better. She’s not directly BushStank-related by blood or marriage, but not for lack of her Freudian attempt. This is the woman who popularized the phrase “no one could have anticipated…” which became the motto of those eight years. Also: shoe shopping. Not to mention the ingle-say ady-lay aspect of America’s only black lady Secretary of State. Also: black. Has anyone seen her birth certificate?

Mitch Daniels
, aka The Short One. W’s first Budget Director, wee Mitch flipped the Clinton quarter-trillion surplus into a half-trillion deficit in his two-year tenure. He also famously estimated the Iraq War cost at fifty to sixty billion dollars. Every florid tendril of Bush budget foolishness was seeded under Mitch. Also: his wife ran away with another guy, married him and then slunk back to Mitch, who took her back. For the GOP, that’s simply puzzling, way out of their rest-stop romp or serial adultery comfort zone. You can see the Tampa delegates scratching their grey heads: “He took her back after she what???”

Rob Portman, aka W’s Trade Rep and (third) Budget Director. Really, does anyone in the Mitt Romney campaign want the words “Bush Budget” uttered anytime the Veep is mentioned? (not that Legacy Media wouldn’t try very hard to comply and ‘forget’ to mention it.) But can the Obama-loving media be relied on? After all, look how they turned on their old barbeque-buddy Ace! Press relations with Mitt have been chilly, to say the least. It’s likely the words “Bush Budget” will get uttered every time wannabe-Veep Portman’s face shows up on the teevee screen. Also: boring.

Marco Rubio. Of Florida. How can “Florida” not serve to remind the American electorate of the Supreme Court’s 2000 path to choosing W? I mean, besides Marco’s expense-account corruption and weasel-y origin story (three religions in ten years, really? and fleeing Cuba long before Castro came to power?)

Bobby Jindal
, governor of Louisiana and Kenneth-the-Page cariacaturist, has a remote but memory-triggering Bush connection, to the matriarch of the Clan of High Stank. No Veep from Louisiana is going to escape reminding people of Katrina, of Barbara Bush’s heartlessness, of her son’s fecklessness in the face of an American city drowning.

A brand of Silent-but-Deadly BushStank, of course, is Whiff-of-Palin. Unfortunately for co-genderist and South Carolina post-Sanford-hike Governor Nikki Haley, she can’t seem to get out from under the Palin shadow. Not by endorsing Romney, earning the emnity of Tea Partiers or by turning down and begging for federal money. She’s less popular in her home state than Obama. But she doesn’t have direct BushStank, even though the idea of a women untested on the national stage must give Steve Schmidt deja vu and Romneyworld the heebee-jeebies:

“I think, unfortunately, Palin poisoned the well on that,” said one informal Romney adviser, fretting that any woman selected as VP would draw inevitable comparisons to the former Alaska governor. “I would guess if I were inside the Romney mind that they’re worried that any woman chosen will be subjected to a higher level of scrutiny. “

Mama Grizzly, ruining any future woman’s chance to be a GOP Veep: such a legacy.

Here’s who is left, lacking any BushStank I can get a sniff of: John “Pretty” Thune, and Tim Unlikely-to-Out-Charisma-Mitt “Bridge Too Far” Pawlenty. I can’t see any others for him to choose.

As they say, the floor is yours. But, hey, put that ceiling down! That stays; it keeps the stank out.