(Disclaimer from Elementary Politics Staff. These articles were compiled in April. There has not been a single debate. We fully admit that it is too early for any rational person to settle on any one candidate. A dark horse that we now think has no chance may rise, someone who looks great may find their inner Todd Akin and blow it. The most we can do is look at the limited information we have at present and look for glaring red flags on which to completely dismiss a candidate at this early stage. But at this point no clear endorsement is being made by Elementary Politics…although we do believe several of them have some glaring red flags).
Let’s just start with the fact that Jeb said he would govern like LBJ. You honestly could stop reading now. But we’ll be fair and show all the other ways Jeb isn’t the one for America.
John Ellis “JEB” Bush. That’s right, his name isn’t JEB (those are his initials…in which case saying Jeb Bush is saying his last name twice…and saying Bush twice is somehow worse and stupid…like that first season when the show was Navy NCIS because the network thought people would confuse it with CSI) it’s something actually simple and normal, John. I think we all get why Willard Romney went with his middle name of Mitt, but why on earth would you go switch from John to Jeb (which makes you sound like you belong on the Beverly Hillbillies more than anything else). It’s like the character of Gob Bluth, a bizarre abbreviation in place of the name.
Now one must wonder why I’ve spent so much time on his first name? Because everything else about the man is pretty much just as stupid.
Now it might be unfair to bring up the fact that he comes from a family of losers: father an idiot, brother a moron, mother a sociopath. The whole lot of them completely unable to consistently pick the right path, and always unable to follow the correct path when they occasionally stumble on it. But bringing up his family is fair, because as you’re about to see, if it weren’t for his family his resume is so unimpressive you’d be considering any one of a dozen other forgettable governors before you ever touched Jeb (who was the last GOP governor of Montana, they’re probably more qualified and I have no idea who they are).
There are multiple red flags when it comes to Jeb Bush’s views on the economy. The first being that during his time as governor of Florida the state budget was allowed to grow by 27%. The Cato Institute gave him a “C” for having overseen “explosive growth”.
Well his economic policy is…um…well he cut taxes and balanced a budget, but more accurately a very friendly legislature did it and he signed off on it. But as far as anyone here at Elementary Politics can tell he never had to negotiate, never had to compromise, never had to make really hard choices with the budget. He had a Republican legislature that did most of the budget work for him and he rubber stamped it. Yeah he cut a lot in some places, and required new spending to be cleared by him but this seems more related to his desire to control everything, not by fiscal conservatism. Some might try to portray that as conservative economics, we just feel it’s a man who’s never had to put his principles to the test.
And what spectacular principles. After seeing dear old dad stab us all in the back with going back on his promise to not raise taxes, and dim brother saying dipshit things like “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system” and giving us temporary tax cuts (when every economist will tell you if it isn’t permanent it won’t have any long term effect on the economy), what does Jeb do? He says he might raise taxes. Most Republicans try to channel Washington, Adams, Lincoln, Coolidge and of course Reagan…Jeb thinks he should channel Walter Mondale. This is an easy one for Republicans. “I won’t raise taxes.” You know what I’m willing to understand that some major situation comes up and you need capital, but that is taking a principle and yielding to reality…when you start out with no principles, you’ll give away everything to the Democrats at the first chance. Or I could respect someone who said we’re going to raise taxes in conjunction with all the other recommendation of Simpson-Bowles Commission report—that would at least show some depth of thought and long-term thinking even if we weren’t in favor of all the points of the bill. But no, all he’s said is he might raises taxes. Jeb, you sweet-talker.
Then, of course, comes his feelings on immigration and the economy. Jeb wants “A guest worker program to deal in the areas where there are shortages.” Currently 93 million Americans do not have a job. Tell me more about these shortages Jeb? Because maybe, maybe, you’re talking about high skilled labor jobs that no one here is qualified to meet…okay fine, we do need real reform to that labyrinth of an immigration system we have…but guess what no one is really focused on what amounts to, at the most, half a million jobs. We’re more worried about the 11-20 million illegal immigrants who come here with effectively the same skill level as your average high school drop out. If you’re making comments about what is a fraction of a fraction of a problem and ignoring the glaring drain on the economic and social fabric of the nation, it’s not only a serve point against your economic understanding, but just more proof that you have inherited your family’s clear ability to focus on the right things.
Now we could go to speeches he’s made. Like the major speech on economics he gave in Detroit a little while ago. It’s full of many nice platitudes, but few specifics (and I’ll admit that might be unfair as no one really has specifics at this point, and even Romney didn’t release his great 160 page, 50 point “Believe in America” plan until September of the year before the election…but most have more interesting resumes than Jeb and he’s got to show us something). The closest we get to any sense of where he is going
“And in the coming months, I intend to detail how we can get there, with a mix of smart policies and reforms to tap our resources and capacity to innovate, whether in energy, manufacturing, health care or technology.”
Given that 3-D printing is pretty much going to put the mass majority of the manufacturing industry of the entire world out of business it worries us when any candidate starts talking about the brave new economic opportunities of the 19th century.
So his economic policy boils down to rubber stamping, he might raise taxes, empty platitudes, and 19th century thinking. Oh how can any of us possibly contain our excitement?
Bush also said in a 2009 interview in Esquire that he supported George W. Bush’s bailout plans, because he “wasn’t sure there was another choice.” While you can say many good things about Jeb’s brother, fiscal conservatism was not one of his strengths and it appears Jeb may have the same problem.
In Jeb’s defense, he did say that he supported a Constitutional amendment to require an annual balanced budget, but that was in 1998 and his actions sense then seem to negate the fiscal conservatism of that. And given the wording of every proposed balanced budget will lead to even greater disasters, such an amendment remains more a populist fan-favorite rather than practical policy.
While not the most inexperienced candidate in foreign policy, he still has little experience outside of Latin America and Mexico.
Jeb has been making all the required pro-Israel, anti-Iran, anti-ISIS statements that you would expect from a Republican leader…although with significantly less detail. And whoever takes over for Barry is going to have to go into Iraq and clean up the ISIS mess, and going into Iraq cleaning up some of it but leaving the job completely unfinished is what the Bush’s do best after all.
But other than that the most experience he’s had with foreign affairs was the Elian Gonzalez mess in Florida while was Governor…for a major event in his state and an issue that really matters to his constituents, and also a major issue for conservatives…Jeb’s record on this is oddly silent. You know if he had stationed Florida State Police around the kid’s home with the message to shoot to kill anyone who tried to cart the child off to tyrannical hellhole, we might have respect for him. But again he pretty much did nothing. Pulled out all the stops to save a vegetable, as we’ll get to later, but to save a child from being sent to a despot, nothing. That’s the spine of the Bush’s we’ve come to expect. I don’t know about you but if Federal thugs storm the house of one of my state’s citizens I’m going to be demanding their heads on a silver platter and making sure they are known to the entire country as the wannabe Gestapo they were. Jeb, not so much.
But here’s the real fun part. Do you remember when CNN reported that there were 500 tons of yellow cake uranium from Iraq that Saddam had stockpiled…or last year when even the New York Times admitted that there were stockpiles of chemical weapons in Iraq…yeah well Jeb apparently didn’t get those memos. Because 5 months after even the New York Times admitted there were WMD’s in Iraq, Jeb stated that his brother was wrong to believe there were WMD’s in Iraq. You would think that if anyone would know the truth, it would have a been a Bush family member…but hey, what’s truth and family when you have to pander to low-info voters. If he had wanted to complain about W.’s lack of a plan to build Iraq and Afghanistan, that he gave control of the countries over too quickly, that unlike a real Neocon he clearly didn’t have the first clue as to what nation building was, or even a general statement that W. had failed to properly rebuild the nations, that would have shown some depth and understanding of the situation. But no, let’s repeat a lie that even the New York Times has given up on repeating.
Politico notes that Bush has pulled together an incredibly diverse set of foreign policy advisers, but wonders if this “may only confuse rather than clarify where he stands” which seems likely given his choices that include people like James Baker, who is well known for his anti-Israel sentiments while Jeb’s latest discussions about foreign policy have emphasized his support of American allies like Israel.
He has been criticized most recently for a “puzzling” speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs that the Observer said was “not a meaningful discussion of policy but partisan and generic statements…[t]he speech was also woefully short on specific of how a new President Bush would handle Iran, Islamist terror or Putin’s Russia. The takeaway from Mr. Bush’s speech is primarily that he is a Republican who doesn’t like President Obama and who, while lacking any brilliant or new ideas about foreign policy, will position himself more hawkishly than President Obama, but still comfortably in the mainstream American foreign policy thinking.”
Well at least with Rand Paul in the race he won’t come off as the dumbest person on foreign affairs.
On illegal immigration. He said violating US laws was an ‘act of love.’ It’s a sad day when you realize W. was the skilled rhetorician in the family. We’d like to be defensive here, because we find the populist wing of the party throws the terms “Amnesty” around a little too freely—calling even reasonable plans to deal with border security, reform of the system and then only deport what makes economic sense “Amnesty”—but in Jeb’s case the word Amnesty is very, very accurate. Also bringing your children to live as second-class citizens, teaching them to run away from their problems, and have no faith in your country is not an ‘act of love,’ it’s cowardice. If the nations south of the border had fewer ‘acts of love’ and more people standing up to their corrupt governments they wouldn’t be corrupt or such economic disasters people are trying to escape in droves. But, really he’s been quoted as saying “it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.”, (and by the way it is a felony) this isn’t all that surprising considering Jeb’s experience with immigration has been through the lens of Florida and it’s Cuban population, among which he is very popular. The problem here is that it shows that Bush has no understanding of the issue of illegal immigration on a national scale.
He tends to view illegal immigrants in an overwhelmingly positive way and, while he was right in an interview with C-Span when he said we need to reform immigration in this country, his views on amnesty will not make him popular with much of the Republican party in the primary. He might be able to salvage his reputation if he puts a strong foot forward on border control in addition to amnesty, but so far he has not verbalized a plan for dealing with the border.
Gay Marriage: On gay marriage Jeb has remained fairly consistent. In 1998 his view was not in favor of gay marriage, since then he has expanded his views to allow for support of civil unions while he still does not support gay marriage, even saying in 2006 that he was leaning toward supporting the constitutional ban on gay marriage in Florida which was approved by voters in 2008.
Abortion: Bush’s pro-life record starts as far back as 2003 when the Florida legislature passed “Terri’s Law” allowing Bush to keep Terri Schiavo on life support. In the midst of this debate Bush apparently proclaimed himself “probably the most pro-life governor in modern times,” which might not be an exaggeration, given his other actions in attempting to prevent abortions in 2003 to a severely mentally disabled woman who had been raped in a state home and in 2005 his attempt to stop a 13 year old from getting an abortion.
But before we move on how can we possibly skip the defining moment of Jeb Bush’s governorship in more depth. Terri Shaivo. Forget arguments about the value of life (because to say she was a vegetable is actually an insult to cauliflower everywhere). This was a governor who called for special legislation to get involved in a family dispute. For being a guy who has talked about the “sanctity of marriage” that apparently doesn’t apply to having control over your spouse’s medical care. Okay, you say, the husband was shady…but that’s an issue for the judicial branch. Bush and the legislature getting involved was a clear disregard for the separation of powers. Just keep in mind Bush had his legislature pass a law to allow him to get involved in a family squabble. Now give this man the power of a bureaucracy that Obama has built. That thought should frighten conservatives as well as liberals and everything in between. It shows that he puts his personal beliefs above, law, separation of power, limited government or judicious use of power. No thanks, I’ve lived with that since 2009.
Drugs: Bush’s stance on drugs is firmly against legalization, saying “[a]llowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts,” in August 2014 when the state of Florida was voting on amendment 2 to legalize medical marijuana.
Executive Experience, Character, and Leadership
Bush served two terms as the governor of Florida. He also founded and chaired the Foundation for Florida’s Future and founded Jeb Bush & Associates consulting group.
And that leads us to that other problem. Jeb Bush is a micromanager. He is an aggressive micromanager who used a lot of executive orders to carry out his will (who does that sound like?). But worse than his executive behavior in itself, what really shows how much of a micromanager he is that he read and personally answered every email sent to the governor’s office. That might be something cute and folksy for a Congressman or a mayor…but when you’re the governor of one of the largest states it’s not even bad management skills, it’s bordering on a psychological problem. The minutia which he concerned himself with in every area is something you cannot do in a large organization. And as there seems to be no evidence he ever stopped there is no hope that he would be any different as President. You know who the last president to be a micromanager of this level was? Jimmy Carter. Think about this Obama’s understanding of the limits of government power mixed with Jimmy Carter’s need to control everything.
It’s fairly clear that he has not shown the ability to surround himself with qualified people. Where is that more obvious though is in his choice of James Baker as one of his foreign policy advisers. James Baker has a well known record of anti-Israel sentiments that should be a no go for a Republican candidate, especially in a political climate that this current administration has put us in with Israel and the rest of the Middle East.
In addition to this, while Bush has been trying to promote himself as his “own man”, because of the presidential resumes of both his brother and his father. However he has put together a foreign policy team that is almost solely comprised of foreign policy advisers that worked for either George W. or George H.W. or both.
What are the biggest problems with their taking office?: Despite nostalgic memes starring George W. Bush along with the words “miss me yet?” the truth is that the Bush name, while well known, still carries a lot of political baggage. Even were that not a problem for Jeb, his positions on economic issues, lack of foreign policy experience, and stance on immigration and amnesty put him in a position to lose support from the far right, while his strong stances on social issues like gay marriage, abortion, and drug legalization will cause him to lose support with independents, moderates, and libertarians.
We’re just going to let you run screaming for the hills now.
Okay the one bright spot in the Jeb Bush resume. He championed school choice and high standards in Florida and raised the level of education there.
That you have to give him.
But then he blows it on the federal level when he tries to champion Common Core. Now before we get into this let’s go over some basics. People hate “Common Core.” The problem is what people call “Common Core” usually has nothing to do with Common Core. Common Core is ONLY a set of general standards in reading, writing and mathematics for states to adopt. But Obama’s Race to the Top plan is called Common Core—and yes it’s a complete mess. Bad textbooks whose only change in the last 5 years is to have a Common Core Compliant sticker put on the front, well Common Core take the blame for those too. And the idiotic implementation by state and local school boards, somehow Common Core gets blamed for them too. Oh and idiot teachers (the kind the standards were supposed to help us find and fire) they’re getting a pass as well because people want to blame Common Core. One could make a very good defense of the Common Core standards because 99.999% of what people hate about “Common Core” has absolutely nothing to do with Common Core. But again, as with the Amnesty thing, it’s not that Jeb is really bad at messaging—he’s actually championing Obama’s Race to the Top program and calling it Common Core. He wants federal control of education (which is not what the actual Common Core standards are), and he is part of the reason why Common Core gets blamed for things it has nothing to do with. So regardless of how you feel about Common Core, Jeb’s desire to see federal control of education is really disturbing and hardly conservative by any measure.
In a good year Jeb Bush would be the worst Republican candidate running for president. Sadly it is not a good year.
One does have to wonder how any state could be dumb enough to elect this man twice…but, hey, we know Floridians have problems with ballots.