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Posted by on Jul 9, 2009 in Politics | 10 comments

Inside Jeb: Is the Smarter Bush Brother in Line to Take Over the GOP?

So Jeb Bush, according to Tucker Carlson, may be, whether he knows it or not, the future of the Republican Party.

That’s right, as if two Bushes haven’t been more than enough, another — this time the smart one, at least when compared to his more famous brother, Obama’s predecessor — may be on the way to presidential politics. If, that is, he can find a way back to high-level elected politics at all.

You can read the Jeb-Tucker interview here. It was published just yesterday at Esquire, but it took place way back in April, presumably, just days before Arlen Specter’s aisle-hop to the Dems.

There really isn’t much new here. It’s pretty much just Jeb commenting on the sad state of the Republican Party and of a possible (in his view, likely) conservative resurgence. What it does show, I think, is that Jeb remains a formidable political figure (with a fairly formidable mind, especially by Republican standards) even out of office, and one only imagines how things would have been different had he, and not Dubya, been elected in 2000, had, that is, the GOP gone with the right Bush boy. What we also find is a deeply curious and engaged man, again in stark contrast to his brother. At the start, he’s talking about his Kindle, and about how he subscribed to HuffPo, “just to see how the forces of evil are conspiring.” One assumes that that is intended hyperbole.

Evidently, too, Jeb is a Republican who thinks seriously about his party and a conservative who thinks seriously about his preferred political ideology and the movement to which he belongs. This should concern Democrats, I think — it certainly concerns me (Americans have elected two Bushes, so why not a third) — which is why they ought to take him seriously well ahead of a future run for the Oval Office (or, perhaps, for the Senate, though, in Florida, there may not soon be an open seat for him). And it is what makes this interview rather interesting, and well worth the read.

Let me just address a few points:

1) On Limbaugh: “I feel happy for Rush to get all this attention. He’s one part of a mosaic of people and thought in the conservative movement.” I’m not sure the Dear Leader of the conservative base of the GOP is just part of a mosaic, or that he actually considers himself just another tile in a pattern of diversity. And how is conservatism, in its present form as an increasingly absolutist movement, just some sort of “mosaic”? Jeb may want it to be that, but it is not. It’s not a mosaic, it’s a white-out.

2) On Republican unpopularity and the Democratic gains: “I don’t think there’s any seismic shift. The Democrats have won on tactics. Barack Obama would not have gotten elected if he’d let us in on his secret plan prior to the election.” First, the Democrats may have won on tactics, but they also, and more importantly, won on substance. American voters didn’t reject Republicans because they didn’t campaign effectively but because their ideas are a black hole of failure. Simply put, Americans, while not fully behind Democratic policies (obviously, the country is still polarized), trust the Democrats on issues like national security and the war on terror (as well as the Iraq War, a specific Bush failure), the environment and global warming, health care, and the economy. Second, what is this “secret plan”? The scope of the economic downturn was not fully known during the campaign, but Obama spoke to the need to address the crisis in a meaningful way (and not just through those old Republican stand-bys of tax cuts and deregulation). As well, he spoke to the need to address the climate crisis. There’s nothing “secret” about his agenda.

3) On Obama’s popularity: “First of all, who cares? His popularity is no greater — in fact it’s less — than what my brother’s was during the beginning of his tenure, in a time of unbelievable friction, if you think about it, because of the 2000 election. His approval ratings were higher than Barack Obama’s during his first one hundred days.” This is silly. It was a different time — there was nothing remotely like the current economic crisis, 9/11 was still months away, the Democrats weren’t nearly as negative and obstructionist as the Republicans are now, and there wasn’t a liberal anti-Bush campaign to rival the concerted conservative smear campaign against Obama today. Although there were some who questioned Bush’s legitimacy, what conservatives are doing to Obama is much more nasty and much more ugly.

4) On global warming: “I’m a skeptic.” He may not be an Inhofe-like denialist, but he seems to buy into industry-manufactured denialist propaganda. Yes, he’s a good Bushie.

5) On the leaders of the GOP: “Newt is fantastic.” Okay, that’s enough. I can’t take anymore. Just read it, if you have the stomach for it.

(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)

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  • Father_Time

    The “Smarter Bush”. You mean he can speak four coherent sentences in a row before breaking down as opposed to his brother’s two. Well that is a 100% increase. You go Tucker.

  • DLS

    I’ll ignore Mikey’s latest tantrum details and just note that everyone with an IQ above 50 already knew that Jeb Bush would be a GOP heavyweight by default and obvious future candidate for the Presidency. We knew that before Dubya got the default (last survivor among the lackluster) in the 2000 GOP contest.

    And he has an IQ above 50, so naturally there’s no guarantee he’d be among the global warming stupidly faithful.

  • Silhouette

    I pray on my hands and knees that Jeb is nominated to run for the GOP ticket in 2012. Oh please God please let it happen..

    Unless the election then is as rigged as the recent one in Iran and the one here in 2000, the name “Bush” will be a godsend to the Independant or Democratic runners.

    Oh, pretty-please!…

  • DLS

    Silhouette — who else do they have currently, other than the Demented People’s Obscession, Palin?

    Note that Crist is the one trying for the Florida Senate seat for the GOP, not Jeb Bush, who’s .. free.

  • DLS

    Actually, the Dems failed to steal the election _after_ they lost it, Sil. It’s back to pre-election mischief!

  • AustinRoth

    Hmm, wonder what the reaction to “Obama is fairly honest, especially by Democratic standards” would be?

    Or perhaps “Obama is fairly patriotic, especially by Democratic standards”.

    Or my favorite, “Obama is fairly sane, especially by Democratic standards”.

  • shannonlee

    The Bush name has been ruined. Jeb may be a much better politician, but his last name might as well be Mudd.

  • “…well ahead of a future run for the Oval Office (or, perhaps, for the Senate, though, in Florida, there may not soon be an open seat for him). And it is what makes this interview rather interesting, and well worth the read.”
    Actually, Mel Martinez has announced his retirement. Unless he changed his mind, that means there will be an open seat for Jeb, if he wants it.

    As for Bush in 2001 versus Obama in 2009 – Bush hovered between 44 and 63, and averaged something close to 55; Obama through April had not fallen below 62%, and 58% is the “new low”. So either Jeb can’t read a poll, he has a bit of memory loss, or he is just being kind to his dumbass brother.

  • mlhradio

    Saying that Jeb Bush is one of the strong points of the republican party is not that impressive — to use an old phrase, it’s like the one-eyed leading the blind. I will readily admit that among republican circles, Jeb Bush is most definitely one of the smarter, most level-headed of the bunch. Sadly, that has more to say with the current weakness of the republican party more than it does to the strength of Jeb Bush.

    Personally, I don’t think we have seen the new face of the republican party…yet. Think back to 2005 — I would confidently guess that 99% of the American public did not see Obama as a *serious* contender for the presidency (and except for the handful of people that watched the Democratic convention the year before, or lived in Illinois, I doubt 90% of the public had even heard of him at that time). I suspect — I **HOPE** — the future republican leadership comes from completely outside the current old-guard framework. A fresh, new face that is relatively unknown on the national scene, somebody like Huntsman (if he hadn’t already accepted the ambassadorship).

  • rlsikes

    If Jeb is the future of the GOP, it has the future of the Whigs. The GOP is a 3 legged stool and no one can obtain the White House unless they have all 3 legs of that stool in support of it. One or two leg support will only get you a loss in the general election. Case in point McCain. The problem the neocon moderate leg has is that the libertarian freedom leg will no longer support under any condition a member of the other two legs of the stool as their nominee. They have had enough and while the moderate leg and the religious right leg may not like it, they can never and will never win without the libertarian leg in place.
    If anything the other 2 legs of the stool further fractured the party with their treatment of Ron Paul in the 08 primaries.

    So it comes down to this, adopt the libertarian agenda with true conservatism and social libertarianism or face the same end as the do do bird. We will not budge and if the other two legs will not budge either then we can look forward to the destruction of the GOP and most likely in time the death of the Republic. We have given too much and we will not give anymore.

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