Jeb Bush for President?

Jeb and Dubya: Two Too Many Bushes

The last thing the United States needs is another Bush – any Bush. But that’s exactly what some Republicans are talking about giving us. Specifically, Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida. Bush served two terms as governor of Florida and the Bush family is still popular among conservatives. It would not be a surprise if – despite his denials and his brother the former president’s doubts on that score – Jeb Bush threw his hate into the ring.

The Republicans would be banking on voters forgetting just exactly how terrible a president George W. Bush was, his two wars (one still raging without any end in sight), Katrina, the terrorist attack on his watch that destroyed the WTC and killed 2700 people (nearly 3000 people died altogether on 9/11 in the various attacks), and his thorough destruction of the American economy (we won’t even get into his plundering expedition in Iraq).

I’m not as confident that Americans have forgotten Bush. Leading up to the primaries, polls still demonstrated that most Americans blamed Bush for our economic woes, this despite the millions of Republican dollars spent on re-branding the catastrophe as Obama-cased. Of course, they have also tried to recast 9/11 as a Democratic failing and called Afghanistan (that war that is still raging) “Obama’s War.”

We know that voters have short memories and that they can be fickle. We know they tend to blame the party in power. That worked to the Republican advantage in the 2010 midterms. But importantly, the Republicans failed to take the Senate and they didn’t do as well as they had expected. Then there is the fact that President Obama’s approval rating rose after the midterms and that there are two years remaining before the next presidential election.

It is important to note that during these two years the Republicans will have control of the House. The GOP propaganda machine will not be able to claim that the Democrats control the government, or that things aren’t getting done because the Democrats are sitting on their hands. The Republicans have already announced their intention to bring government to a halt. The voters won’t have to remember this in 2012; they will be experiencing it for the next two years, right up until Election Day.

George H.W. Bush had already sent America to war for the first time since the Vietnam War. The economy had stagnated, growing at a rate of 1% annually and unemployment was rising. His son took over from Clinton, who had been anything but a “tax and spend” liberal, the broad brush with which all liberals are painted in Republican propaganda. George W. Bush ignored Clinton’s warnings about terrorist threats and on 9/11 the WTC was attacked. Bush stared like a deer into headlights, then attacked Iraq (which had nothing to do with the attack) and Afghanistan, where terrorist cells were at least lurking (al Qaeda was not allowed by Saddam Hussein to operate in Iraq). The American economy crumbled, Katrina was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and the Constitution was attacked on an almost daily basis. People were tortured and we learned a new word: rendition, which is the abduction and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one nation to another, in other words, torture by proxy.

Human rights abuses and illegal wars cast America in a bad light internationally. Our reputation, along with our economy, suffered. American exceptionalism became the order of the day, a “New American Century” which recast the United States, the world’s sole remaining superpower, as a New Rome, an empire which claimed the right to do anything it wanted to do to anyone it wanted to do it to. These are facts, and they are not in dispute.

It is only fair to ask if Jeb Bush would be more like the father or the brother, as president. He is more popular with Latinos than his brother (he is married to one), which might pose problems for the Democrats, who enjoy Latino support overall, but his take on immigration would be decisive. The Tea Party is ardently opposed to immigration. The two Republicans who did well with Latino voters took a more nuanced view of the issue than any Tea Partier – Marco Rubio (55%) in Florida and Susana Martinez (38%) in New Mexico.

Would Jeb Bush run as an establishment Republican or as a Tea Partier? It is unlikely but not impossible he could successfully straddle the fence but it is a hazardous course.
Ideological purity is the prime motivator in Republican politics these days, and a soft stance which would gain Latino voters would lose WASP voters. While the GOP rushes headlong into line to build a Great Wall of America along the Mexican border, Jeb Bush would quickly find himself swimming against a tide of hate and xenophobia. Working to his advantage are the facts that Jeb Bush is anti-choice and anti-gay, which would endear him to Tea Partiers and Religious Right alike.

We don’t know how Jeb shapes up among voters because polls focus on Republicans like Palin, Huckabee, Romney, and Gingrich. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey offers the following results:

Huckabee leads Obama 52 – 44 percent

Romney leads Obama 50-45 percent

Obama leads Palin 52-44 percent

Obama leads Gingrich 49-47 percent

It is notable that Palin is only number three for Republican respondents when asked to pick a Republican nominee (21% for Huckabee, 20% for Romney, 14% for Palin, 12% for Gingrich), and she loses to Obama in the poll.  As Jason Easley wrote yesterday, a new Gallup poll makes Palin seem almost unelectable. Another possible Republican candidate is Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, but his pragmatism will likely alienate him from Republican purity fanatics. He’s far too sensible to be a Republican candidate for president.

It will be interesting to see in coming months if Jeb Bush’s name begins to appear in polls and if so, what that will do to the Republican dynamic, especially if despite Palin’s overall unpopularity with Americans, support from the Republican base keeps her in the running; and if an America suffering from Bush fatigue will show interest in him in any appreciable numbers.

24 Replies to “Jeb Bush for President?”

  1. Even with GW’s being out of office for nearly two years, I still haven’t gotten past Bush fatigue. One (the father) was bad enough, while the second one (GW) was the last straw. I get the impression that Jeb is a sharper blade than his older brother, but I see him implementing exactly the failed policies that have gotten us where we are today.

  2. I agree Anne. We’ve been screwed by two Bushes and I see no reason to believe that the third would be any different. Same economic and moralistic policies, same abhorrence of regulation. I find it difficult to believe we could survive another Bush.

  3. the perception of a Bush hopefully will be enough to keep them out of the White House forever. But what truly scares me is the poll between Pres. Obama and Newt Gingrich. New Gingrich is a maniac. One who should never hold public office again and quite frankly I wouldn’t even want him as a pharmacist.
    Gingrich would really go after the destruction of this country. And I mean that as concerning the social structure of the people.

    President Bush is really getting knocked around with his book. And to me it is also frightening that he is still popular with conservatives considering that most everything he did was a result of VP Cheney’s demands.

  4. Jeb’s kids have too many skeletons in their closets. Doubt if he’ll run. Not that skeletons have kept any Republican from anything. There a set of rules for them and a set of rules for everyone else.

  5. OK Hrafnkell, I have had bets with friends for some years now:
    Jeb Bush will be the compromise candidate at the republican convention to come.
    Would like to pay for those dinners… and eat crow… because he might be viable.

    Having been under his governorship, this is not a good thought.
    I know he is a low-key, articulate, anti-public education, anti public service, anti choice man who speaks the language well enough to rally the brown vote, especially as he is married to a latina.
    I believe that so far he has the silent support of the republican establishment.

  6. You write: “The Republicans would be banking on voters forgetting just exactly how terrible a president George W. Bush was, his two wars (one still raging without any end in sight)…”

    Cordially, kind sir, The Iraq war isn’t over. That’s a misnomer, intentional on President Obama’s part, because he wants folks to think of the Iraq was as history. It ain’t. The US has 50,000 troops stationed in occupied Iraq, and will continue to have thousands of troops stationed there, engaging in combat and dying for nothing, probably for as long as you and I are alive. It’s an ongoing outrage that shouldn’t be ignored or glossed over.

  7. I don’t agree. The war in Iraq is over. The American troops are there to bolster the regime we put in place. The last U.S. combat brigades departed Iraq in the early morning of August 19, 2010. The troops still present in Iraq are not combat forces and are to leave by December 31, 2011.

  8. The statement doesn’t state that the Iraq war is over, just that the other is still raging without any end in sight. Combat operations have ceased in Iraq and the phase out of troops is still on schedule from what I’ve read. Whether or not Obama intended it to be a “misnomer” as you put it, one can only speculate. The point being, the Bush name is linked to the wars and thank goodness G.W. put it all in his new book. Some are moving for the book to be shelved in the crime section, much like Tony Blair’s book. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds as far the Republican (or Tea Party) nominee. I may be way off base, but could they be grooming Rubio for it? If so, do you think their stance on immigration will change?

  9. “Misnonmer” is a bunch of crap. I was in Iraq and I should know. We spent a year drawing down and training IA. Hell yes, Bush started this. This was never Obama’s war no matter how many morons try to call it that unless cleaning up crap your predecessor left for everyone at work makes it your mistake.

  10. Jeb Bush has several HUGE issues. His wife is Hispanic – he married her when he was in college. They have children who have both been in trouble with the law.

    How will the GOPers get past the “brown” know, the color they HATE?

  11. I’m sorry Hraf – I disagree with you. The war is NOT over, we still have troops there and until they can all come home, Iraq is draining our treasury.
    And how long will be hanging in Afghanistan when even the President we picked wants us out?
    If you truly believe the hogwash being fed to us by this Administration, I find that short sighted and sad. I think most Americans realize we are in an unending couple of wars and there is no clear goal or objective other than death and destruction paid for by the American taxpayers.

  12. I agree with what you say – but 50,000 of our citizens are at risk still. It was never Mr. Obama’s war – but it will look that way if our troops are there when he leaves office.
    Mr. Obama made many promises. To repeal DADT. To end the wars. So far – he’s coming up short on the “Death and Destruction” category.
    It would be much nicer if it could be said that he actually ended the wars, instead of letting them linger for years, quietly with no publicity. Both of these conflicts should be 24/7 on the television – all the blood and destruction on all sides. It would have ended much sooner.
    The US has totally destroyed Iraq and allowed massive ethnic cleansing. They have us to thank for that.

  13. Hraf, please.

    At least Jeb Bush has executive experience, unlike Odumbo’s community organizing.

    Thank God Hussein’s wealth redistribution/reparations agenda has been stopped.

    Thank God.

  14. This is almost 2011, and even nearly 2 years into the presidency dwarfs experience as governor. When I read or hear people calling the president an inexperienced community organizer, it tells me they have not moved beyond 2008. I suspect that by the end of 2012, you’ll still be saying the same thing and by then it will make even less sense than it does now. Trust me, there’s no logic in it in November 2010.

  15. Dems blame Bush policies. It became ‘Pop Culture’ trendy opinion for people to hate Bush, his presidency tenure endured the greatest adversity of any term(s). Jeb seems like a reputable candidate for the GOP. So long as it’s not Palin, the Republicans will win by landslide in 2012.

    Rebuplicans blame Obama policies. Policies are cyclical, and are not the reason for our ensuing depression. The jobs are gone people. We compete with a communist state running a human animal farm. American product will always be superior, but with intentionally devalued currency, a $.48/hr minimum wage floor, and a communist dictat, the deck will always be severely stacked against U.S. Anyone who has ever produced anything for a profit (or with a lick of common sense) can see that the production cost gaps are too big for U.S. to compete.

    – 25% import tax on China (Trump Policy)
    – Cut off U.S. unemployment benefits (it’s amazing what American’s are capable of with backs against the wall)
    – Buy American manufactured goods
    – Revolution by Chinese poverty class

    Obama policy really has nothing to do with our current economic state. The democratic slashing in congress is rather indicative that a majority of Americans feel compelled at there core to resist inefficient gov. policy created by an Obama administration that has never created an item and sold it for a profit. The approval rating don’t lie. Legislation continues to be passed entirely against the will of the majority. Tea Party goers aren’t represented by huge incomes but yet they rally for less handouts. There is a fundamental restoration for an end to the entitlement society America has become.

    I simply hope Atlas does not Shrug.

  16. But we can’t judge Obama’s tenure as president until he has had that tenure of president. “Praise the ice when crossed” as my ancestors said.

    I don’t agree with everything he’s done and I think he could have done more, but he’s already kept many of his promises and undone SOME of the evils of the Bush administration. It’s not the rapid progress some of us hoped for but it’s progress nonetheless.

    I don’t think you can actually “end” wars because you want them to be over. It’s easier to start them than to finish them and there is no such thing as a quick war. It takes a long time to get all the troops – and all that heavy equipment – home again.

  17. Iraq is draining our treasury ,yes. 50,000 troops are not free. But we had troops in Germany after WWII and troops in Korea after the Korean War. But the wars were over.

  18. “Daddy” Bush was a great president. “W” Bush was an even greater president because he served twice as many terms, started twice as many wars and spent four times the money…

    Given the amazing Bush track record, Jeb would be the greatest Bush president of all time.

  19. Perhaps if you asked the Iraqis who are still being killed over there, they might respectfully disagree with you.
    We are OCCUPYING a MUSLIM country. How trashy of us. We have a Christian army occupying a country with a religion and culture we do not understand.
    And this non-war is draining our resources on an hourly basis.
    How many Iraqis must die for the Bushies?

  20. Hraf – WHY are we in Iraq? We pretty much allowed the ethnic cleansing – maybe there are a few more people who have managed to escape the death we “sponsored”. But in all honesty, could you please explain why we are IN IRAQ? What have we accomplished that was to our benefit?

    I’m not trashing you – but so far you have said nothing that would in my opinion, justify our actions including the not only use of torture, but the advocation of torture.

    To what end??????

  21. How is it Bush’s fault that Katrina happened? Or 9/11? He wasn’t worried about being “politically correct”, call them the things that they are: terrorists, not “misguided youths”. At least Bush had the balls to fight back against the war on terrorism. He wasn’t afraid to torture the terrorists to get the information that he needed, instead of putting them through “civilian court”. He was there with the people of 9/11, Obama was on vacation during the Gulf Oil Spill. Sure George Bush started the war in Iraq, but Obama is keeping us there. Leaving in 2014? What for? He is commander in cheif now and you people with no other argument than “It’s Bush’s fault” should be ashamed of yourselves to support a guy like Obama. He is killing this country and people should start to see the truth about him.

  22. As a resident of Florida and a former NewYorker and Democrat since birth, I have to go with a split governement. I voted for Bill Clinton twice, but later on it unfolded that Newt Ginrich and the Republican congress met halfway for the best of all americans. No all republican and no all democrats should control it all! The top 5% percent of our nations wealthiest already pay 90% of all income taxes, and create jobs, and donate 90% of all charities, so the poor are taken care of by the rich. The problem our nation faces is 100 million americans who under report income and dont pay taxes, non-w-2 workers and business owners. We need a flat tax and then subsidized help for poor and rid of dam IRS. Far as foreign policy, Obama is very weak with no faith in God. Far as Healthcare, I voted all republicans to punish Democrats for not listening to us. Far as healthcare, we should follow state of Mass., where 99.3% have health insurance, also minnesotta, States should provide. Far as Socialism, Hitler and Germany was a socialistic nation, far as Nancy Pelosi, I wanna puke, as same with Sarah Palin. Far as JEB BUSH, i love him, speaks fluid spanish, wife columbian-catholic, he:s normal, smart, speaks english, good looking, was a good 2 term governor, not only would he court latinos, cahtolics, but take florida…not to mention Mrco Rubio as his vice President, Latinos, would vote for them. Far as Obama, ammesty for illegals??? my mom waited 7 years, to be a proud citizen, yeah, and it would cost a fortune for subsidized federal healthcare aide to all the new law breaking citizens awarded for breaking the law. Americans are Americans, we cant let all in, end up like France or england. Far as Obams, he is a wimp, an Anti-american who dislikes whites, I will vote ALL REPUBLICAN in 2012, i am disgusted with Democrats, what ever happened to days of Kennedy”s, where Democrats were the real thing? I am now a registetred independent this year.

  23. I think Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi should have a thong-toppless mudwrestling contest to raise money for Social Security.

    Sarah Palin loves to hunt and kill animals, and Nancy Pelosi needs more Medications, these are our leaders??? WTF!

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