I was one of the first newspaper reporters to interview Jeb Bush in his first run for Florida Governor in 1994 — which he narrowly lost largely due to a last-minute dirty-trick push poll from the campaign of incumbent Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles. I later became a big supporter and defender of Jeb as a competent, relatively conservative governor.
That all seems like ancient history now as Jeb makes himself more irrelevant than ever after being humiliated by Republican primary voters in 2016. Yet he clings to the impression that he is germane to Republicans.
Bush is the man whose most memorable moment from the primary, aside from standing gob-smacked on the stage over and over, was forlornly pleading “somebody please clap” to a group of carefully selected attendees who did not get the cue — because he really had nothing to say. Nonetheless, he still stands more than ready to tell Republicans the importance of primarying President Trump in 2020 — the most successful if controversial conservative president since Reagan.
Sigh. As a former fan and supporter when governor of Florida, I implore you to please just go quietly into the setting sun, or do something productive with your education think tank. You were great on vouchers and those remain incredibly important.
If you want to do something for the good of the country — which does not involve improving the likelihood that the newly radicalized Democratic Party takes the White House — make the case for school choice, for parental choice, for vouchers. Raise a ton of money from your friends like you did during the primary, but use it for the good of the nation, of the next generation. Stop helping Democrats because the impolite man beat you.
Jeb went on David Axelrod’s show The Axe Files on CNN — a decision that should tell you a lot — and spoke very highly of Maryland Gov. Hogan’s potential to be an alternative to Trump in 2020. He told Axelrod — the top Democratic operative in Obama’s campaign for the presidency — that the Republican Party needs to “offer a compelling alternative” to Democratic ideas rather than just calling their ideas “bad.”
First, let’s remember he is doing this on the opposition network that has long given itself over to anti-Republican mediaship. And he’s doing it on the show of one of the best Democratic operatives in modern times. Presumably he will go on George Stephanopoulos’ Sunday show This Week on ABC — seeing as how Stephanopoulos was Clinton’s top strategist and it’s best to undermine the Republican Party’s political chances with its political enemies.
But most importantly, what is he even talking about? Just calling Democratic ideas bad. Well that would have been a good start for his dad and his brother. That would have been refreshing if President George W. Bush would have done that occasionally rather than just stand there like a Democratic fun-punching bag while many of us were trying to defend him. That polite “bully me” attitude is one of the streams that led Republicans to Trump.
But Jeb is unaware of this. And, probably because he gets his news from CNN, he is unaware that Trump has pursued a more conservative agenda than did W. — to the happy surprise of many of us.
Want a compelling alternative to Democratic ideas? Here are a few:
- Cut taxes and reform the tax code to grow the economy and allow Americans to keep more of their money. DONE.
- Deregulate, deregulate, deregulate to grow the economy and expand American freedoms. DONE.
- Appoint strong Constitutionalist judges to the federal Courts, starting with the U.S Supreme Court. DONE.
- Build a strong military to protect and expand human liberty. BEING DONE.
- Negotiate more free and fair trade agreements, such as the USMCA, which actually has net more freedoms on trade regarding un-tariffed flow of goods. DONE.
- Repeal the odious individual mandate in Obamacare. DONE.
- Create and strengthen work requirements for welfare programs. DONE.
And that’s just the beginning of a list.
In fact, after his first year in office, President Trump had embraced nearly two-thirds of the policy recommendations from the Heritage Foundation’s “Mandate for Leadership. He even favors Jeb’s school choice vouchers philosophies.
Trump and Republicans have put forth serious alternatives and enacted very conservative policies. If you were more of a principled conservative than you are a Trump hater, you would see that. I imagine Axelrod nodded right along in agreement with you. Stephanopoulos would, too.
I thought a lot of you, Jeb, at one point. But alas, you are leaving the legacy of a petty man.
EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission.