Given this hands-off approach, it is unsurprising that Mr. Bush plans to sit out his first Republican National Convention as an ex-president. Beyond his own desire to remain on the sidelines, other factors are conceivable explanations of why he would choose Crawford, Texas over Tampa, Florida. With Romney reeling from a disappointing summer of campaigning, a polarizing former president directly associated with the current economic malaise could become easy fodder for President Barack Obama partisans. And GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's slash and burn fiscal policies would only provide greater contrast to Mr. Bush's bloated deficit spending. Finally, by absenting himself, Mr. Bush pre-emptively fends off a potentially unenviable speaking slot on the convention floor, a fate several earlier ex-presidents had to weigh seriously.