You'll need your wits about you for this column, so get a cup of caffeine. I'll wait.
Ready? Grab a pencil. Which of these statements are true?
• Of President Bush's most generous Hoosier donors in 2004, more than half have lined up behind one of the contenders for the 2008 Republican nomination.
• The Bush backers (who contributed $1.7 million to his '04 campaign) have ponied up more than $1 million for the presidential candidates they support this time around.
• You couldn't pay the Hoosier Bushies to write a check for Hillary Clinton.
Answers: False, false, false.
It turns out that many financiers of Bush and company have been demoralized by a number of factors such as Iraq, Katrina, sex scandals, etc. Sylvia provides a well-known local businessman for an example:
Take Dick Waterfield, for instance. The Fort Wayne Republican gave $500 to Barack Obama's campaign this year in part because one of his best friends hosted a fundraiser for Obama in Indianapolis. But Waterfield was also curious.
His curiosity has been fertilized over the past four years by the Bush administration - and that brings us back to the point about the halfhearted interest so many Republicans have these days in their party's contenders.
Waterfield described a litany of disappointments - the Bush administration's arrogance toward other countries, particularly U.S. allies; the effort by some in the party to “push us into some kind of religious war”; and the war in Iraq.
And this is from a guy who has contributed $4,000 to Bush's election campaigns.
So now, Waterfield said, “Do I consider myself less of a Republican than I used to? Yes.”
The Bush legacy is in the numbers: Hoosiers have given more money to the Democratic presidential candidates this year than to Republicans. The group of well-heeled Hoosier Republicans who supported Bush-Cheney in the past is by and large taking a pass this year, at least when it comes to the presidential race. Nationally, the Democratic contenders have twice as much money as the GOP candidates.
And then there's Waterfield's sentiment: “I used to just think which Republican candidate I would support. Now I look at the Democrats more closely.”
That's Bush's biggest donation to the Democratic Party.