Here we go. Jeb Bush thinks his brother George Bush got a raw deal as president. He thinks they should have fought back harder against the bad press in the last three years of Bush’s presidency. He also thinks that he can bridge the fractured gap between the conservatives and the establishment wing of the Republican party.
In an exclusive interview for Politico’s ‘Off Message’ podcast, 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush got angry enough to slam his fist into his other fist, rattling the table holding the microphones when he spoke about the bad deal he thinks his brother George W. Bush got as president.
Jeb Bush is “angry”, the Politico headline reads.
But Bush was most emotional when I asked what he’d learned from his brother’s tumultuous final few years as one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history.
“I would say the last part of my brother’s time, the part I didn’t like, was that they just let the incoming come,” Bush said, his voice rising. “I got tired of that, tired because I love my brother, and my impulse watching the news in the last three years where they — no one seemed to defend him — was get out there and fight.”
And here the man Donald Trump thinks is “low energy” slammed a balled right fist into an open left palm — with such force that it rattled the two microphones set up on the small table in the back of the bus — and shouted, “Hit back!”
If this is Bush’s attempt to show passion, it’s misguided. Bush could have chosen to show his “passion” over the fate of the people’s lost retirement accounts after the Bush recession, or income inequality, or really anything that wasn’t about his brother, W, as victim.
Something that showed he could see beyond the myopic emotionalism of the Bush family legacy that is George W would have been helpful. W’s knee-jerk emotional reactions left many lasting wounds. The country is not ready for another emotionally driven president.
But it’s truly amazing that Jeb, who branded himself Jeb! In order to try to get around the bad branding of his last name, has managed to acknowledge the bad branding and fail to admit the reasons behind it.
Bush told Politico that he saw himself as a uniter of the Republican party divide, “We are fractured ideologically. We’re fractured in terms of tone. We’re no different than the — it’s the political system that is cracking up. I don’t know what form it takes going forward, [but] here is the unifying thing that could happen: the desire to win.”
Sure, that might work in the Republican primary, though it’s not working so far. But what of the general election?
The larger problem is that Republicans would rather stay mired in the comfort of denial and resentment than face what went wrong with their party under George W. Bush. Their efforts toward denial gave way to the frothing insanity of the Tea Party, a Koch brothers funded movement that seemingly cares little for actual issues but gets enraged at whatever conservative media tells them they should hate today. This is why they can’t get the White House back.
So of course, the establishment thought Jeb Bush could run in 2016. Only a party so clueless about what went wrong would miss that it was too soon for another Bush. Way too soon. And Jeb Bush fell for this press, too. He sees his brother as a victim yet thinks he can be the uniter of the fracture brought on in large part by his brother’s presidency.
Jeb Bush thinks his brother George got a bad deal. And that explains everything about why Jeb will not be president in 2017 and why the national Republican party is the epic disaster that it currently is.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.