Poor John Ellis (Jeb) Bush. No matter what you think of him as a politician, you have to like him as a man. The comparatively moderate Republican, who many have labeled a good son and family man, was unfortunately cast into the bind of his life by the vagaries of fate.
Pressed to run for the presidency by a Republican establishment fearful of the rising power of the Party’s radical right but advised not to do so by a wise mother who thought the American people had had enough Bushes in the White house, the former Florida governor reluctantly chose party loyalty over wise maternal counseling. (What’s Wrong With Jeb?).
From day one, Jeb’s family name was both his biggest liability and his biggest asset. Many Americans associate the Bush name with the disastrous presidency of big brother George W. But, at the same time, a large group of conservative Republicans, mostly Evangelicals, still have a favorable view of the former president.
Very early into Jeb’s presidential run, it became clear he was not ready for prime time. It was one gaffe after another. Jeb had been out of politics for over 8 years and the rust showed.
The biggest dilemma facing Jeb was how to handle his older brother and the legacy of his miserable presidency. Did he throw W under the bus or embrace W’s policies?
It appears Jeb’s handlers thought distancing him from the brother sharing the same last name was best. Hence, the “Jeb!” campaign logo. While it was ridiculed at the time, leaving out the family name was a wise move.
Jeb Bush began his campaign by telling the world he was “his own man.” He even hinted that his brother’s decision to invade Iraq was a blunder. In February, he made it clear “there were mistakes in Iraq for sure.” But the closest he has ever gotten to a direct criticism of W is when he jokingly says that he’s “younger” and “better looking” than W
The war issue came to a head when Megyn Kelly of Fox News asked Jeb the very predictable question about the wisdom of going to war with Iraq. Proving that blood is thicker than water, Jeb told Kelly he would have done the same… even knowing what we know now! Of course he tried to walk back that statement. But it was too late.
So much for distancing himself from W! Now, in response to heavy criticism from Donald Trump about W’s responsibility for 9-11, Jeb has doubled down on his absurd statement that his brother “kept us safe.”
It appears the circle has been closed. Jeb is now incredibly defending his brother at ever turn.
While other candidates move up in the polls, the depth of Jeb Bush’s campaign incompetence just keeps marching on. But to be fair, Jeb was put in an untenable situation by the Party establishment that convinced him he could be the Party’s savior. (R.I.P GOP – The Slow Death Of The Grand Old Party.)
John Ellis (Jeb) Bush … a decent man but not presidential material for the rabid base of today’s GOP.
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Photo | AP/file 2006