Jeb: Is He Really the Smarter Bush?
Jeb is the smart, practical, more compassionate Bush. So we have all been told. The more we learn about him, the less I am sure about that. Though, to be honest, the bar is so low it hardly matters.
So let’s take a look at Foreign Policy. His trip to Berlin doesn’t seem to be going well.
Having Jeb Bush come to Berlin to argue on behalf of US foreign policy in Europe is a bit like sending Edward Snowden to give a speech on NSA reform to the Republican National Committee. Bush has come up in nearly every conversation I’ve had here since arriving, and always with a warning: that skepticism of the US is already high here, that the German public’s support of tough policies toward Russia is tenuous, and that the mere sight of a Bush makes Germans want to run in the opposite direction of US foreign policy.
It’s not great politics for him, either. American voters are not going to decide Bush’s fate based on his reception in Berlin, of course. But he already has a problem of being associated with his unpopular brother, particularly on foreign policy. Seeing Jeb get a chilly reception abroad could bring back memories for Americans of the global backlash from George W.’s 2003 Iraq invasion, heightening already problematic comparisons to his brother.
Another take on the Berlin trip via Bloomberg View.
And then there was the content of the speech. “The U.S. has to lead, and we have to do it in partnership with our allies,” Bush said. That’s different from Obama’s message of “building bridges,” and it’s hard to find people in today’s Germany, even among the safely conservative audience that Bush chose, who would publicly agree that America should lead and Germany should follow.
There were other things Bush said that grated. The audience murmured disapprovingly at his remark that one can “combat climate change a lot by hurting the economy.” His compliment to Merkel for her toughness on sanctions against Russia sounded like faint praise, once he warned against “tepid” reaction to President Vladimir Putin’s “bad behavior.” And his argument that the U.S. doesn’t do industrial espionage, because it doesn’t have state companies, fell on deaf ears. There’s a strong feeling in Germany that U.S. spying has gotten out of hand.
OK, I don’t think I need to mention his awful blunder over the Iraq question, so lets move on to his time as Governor of Florida.
Jeb actually suggested in his 1995 book, “Profiles in Character,” that we need to bring back public shaming for unwed mothers.
One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.
Bush points to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” as a reference for how this kind of thing might work, writing: “Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Scarlet Letter’ are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots.”
Bush wasn’t just riffing, he was setting up policy prescriptions for his future tenure as governor. As Bassett points out, Bush waived his veto power after the state legislature passed a 2001 law requiring single women who wanted to put a child up for adoption to publish their sexual histories in a newspaper. The ads included women’s names, ages, physical descriptions including her hair, weight and eye color. Women were also required to provide details about their sexual encounters — including names of sexual partners, dates and locations.
Women were required to pay for the ads, which ran once a week for the duration of a month. The law included no exceptions for victims of rape or minors. Bush expressed reservations about publishing these details, but declined to veto the law while it wound its way through the courts for two years.
Now, Bush did not sign this “Scarlet Letter” law, but neither did he use the veto to kill it. Eventually, after it was found to be unconstitutional in 2003 (doh) the repeal was signed by Bush.
Recently Jeb has been criticized for skirting campaign finance laws by not declaring he is a candidate for POTUS. This allows him to deal directly and in conjunction with SUPER PACS. Does he think we are the stupid ones?
He has recently had a big shakeup in his campaign…ooops, I mean non-campaign.
Well, finally the big day is almost upon us as Jeb Bush is expected to declare next week. Whooopeee!