Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

The Jeb Bush Presidential Trial Balloons Launch!

WE DID IT! WE GOT THE GUY WHO WAS MEAN TO OUR DADDYThis is a very funny-and very important-little Jeb Bush profile from Matt Bai in the Times today. It's fascinating, and there are some very odd things about it!

1. "Jeb, who now runs his own consulting firm, seems at ease out of public office."

That this passes without a word on who Bush's clients are seems negligent. (They are: "everyone," I gather. Jeb Bush & Associates is just a little shop-it's all Bush, making connections, bringing friends together.) Also, describing him as being "out of public office"-although, obviously, true! He is not in public office!-barely begins to explain Bush's extremely central position in all Florida (and even southern U.S.) politics. When Bai writes "He has been deeply involved as an informal adviser to the party's candidates for governor," that approaches expressing the kingmaking, political don position that Bush is in.

2. Jeb Bush "is said to have mentored Marco Rubio, the Senate challenger in Florida who gave the Tea Partiers a national lift." Okay, so Rubio-a longtime lobbyist, which makes him the most unlikely person to be so successfully identified with the Tea Party-"is said," in fact, to be exist at this level solely due to Bush's steering and stewardship. When people talk about Rubio, they talk in almost literal terms about Jeb Bush being something even more than a Darth Vader to Rubio's Luke Skywalker.

3. "…Some influential Republicans persist in believing that Mr. Bush might still make a strong candidate in 2012… Mr. Bush says he has no interest in running, because he wants to make money for his family, but his political allies seem to read a 'for now' into such statements."

In fact this extremely rare appearance of Bush talking to a reporter, and this is something he does not much do, is related to these very "some influential Republicans," which are, actually, "pretty much all of them," and is also part of their quest to float a trial balloons of how a third Bush candidacy would go. ("Some" is probably properly to be said as "including Jeb himself.")

As for money: well, being in office cut down on his income for a while, sure. That's the problem with politics (though Cheney showed how to solve it). Bush left the Florida's governor office with a net worth of a mere $1.3 million, and immediately renewed his real estate broker's license, went on some fancy boards and became a consultant to Lehman Brothers.

This making "money for his family" is a strange thing to say, isn't it? All of his children are grown and scattered around; two are in their 30s! His son George Prescott Bush, at first moved to Texas, went into real estate and has since disappeared from public view after joining the military; last anyone heard, he was going to be shipped overseas. Who knows what Noelle is up to, but the other Bush son, still in his 20s, also went into real estate as well as politics after college, at least in part because it's an easy way to make money when you're from a well-connected family and also because Jeb was, for a time, South Florida's most successful real estate broker. Jeb Bush is often called a "real estate developer"; that is incorrect.

If things go even vaguely right, Jeb Bush will be a candidate for president, if not in 2012, then not long after. That America would even consider a third Bush is, to me, bizarre-even if Jeb Bush is the least objectionable of any Bush. But everyone knows that we're a country where brands succeed almost solely based on name recognition. That advantage is incalculable.

22 Comments / Post A Comment

Wouldn't the more appropriate metaphor be Bush : Emperor :: Rubio : Darth Vader?

My Honey would probably take great pride in the fact that that was the first thing I thought of, too. Nerd alert!

I would vote for Tommy Hilfiger for city councilman.

BadUncle (#153)

I hope the next Surgeon General is either Doctor Zizmor or Pepper.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Ambassador Tommy Bahama enforces a really relaxed dress-code.

FDR only won because of his resemblance to Mr. Peanut.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Liz Claiborne always has my vote.

NicFit (#616)

That making "money for his family" thing reminds me of how dubya explained late in his presidency that he planned to "fill up the old coffers" after his second term. The level of shameless greed, lack of a sense of civic duty and ignorance of relative wealth is a Bush family trait.

flossy (#1,402)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can't… be.. fooled again? Fool me thrice, uh…? Can't be shamed again? Yeah, that's it. Can't be shamed.

zidaane (#373)

Real estate is the refuge for the uneducated.

Bush the Second basically co-opted the entire structure of his dad's campaign when he ran in 2000 (donors, consultants, state chairs, endorsers), so what's to say that Bush family loyalists wouldn't maybe get in line for another go-round with the hopes of some spoils (a cabinet position, fancy ambassadorship). Also, we cannot fail to note that the Republican party is hierarchical. And the Bush family is on the higher rungs of that ladder.

KarenUhOh (#19)

Thank God there aren't any more Nixons.

Onjay (#2,679)

Ah, but there are always Cheneys.

My late mother is probably turning in her grave. Despite being a very conservative lady indeed, she despised Bush the First. "He has a mouth like a letter-box", she would say. She also loathed Bush the Second. "A rotten son-of-a-bush," was her early verdict. I wish she was still around to give me a terse comment on Bush Trois.

ProfessorBen (#1,254)

Not only are there more Nixons, but they are marrying money, and running for office!

doubled277 (#2,783)


semiserious (#2,430)

I despise Rubio with a passion, but to label him a "longtime lobbyist" is really stretching it.

"Don't make me come back there!" -Stalin

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

He's Jeb Bush! And he drives a truck!

Not Bob (#113)

Trial balloon? The man has been running for president since before Clinton beat his father in 1992. He and his brother each ran for governor in 1994, but Jeb was viewed as the heir to the throne. But for a canny old Lawton Chiles holding on to his job in a very Republican year, Jeb might have been president. (Gore may have beat him, but certainly not if it hinged on Florida's electoral votes). Chiles totally discombobulated Jeb by calling him "John Ellis" and, when down in the polls, uttering the classic line: "the old he-coon walks just before the light of day." Anyway, Dubya won his race in 1994, Jeb lost his, and the rest is history.

Jeb (or, per his campaign sings, later copied by Lmamr Alexander, "Jeb!") is smarter and harder working than his brother. He's also more ideological and socially conservative. (Remember Terry Schiavo?) a primary campaign between him and Palin would be fascinating to watch.

Not Bob (#113)

I can't even count the number of goofs and typos. Note to self — don't write long comments on the Blackberry. Or just don't wrtie long comments.

katie_SF (#5,011)

I kind of hope he runs. Can you imagine what the Bush Family will do to our beloved little Snowbilly? There will be nothing left but twisted glasses frames and hair extensions.

Janis Lentz (#5,696)

Jeb and the Republican party of Florida are irrelevant. Look at the candidates–a lobbyist and a Medicare fraudster! The choice for Scott would have been: cheat the government out of record dollars, or run for guv of Florida. You can't do both. Then there is Howdy-Doody Do Nothing. And I mean nothing, other than waste Billion$ of our Treasury and dividing our nation in a disgraceful failed witchhunt to destroy Bill Clinton's presidency. No, Bill McC, we will NOT forget your disgraceful role in that! Jeb is and was a crooked real estate slickie who specialized in taking out government-backed jumbo loans and then defaulting on them, at the taxpayers expense! He demonstrated disastrous lack of political or governing skills for 8 painful years, during which he trashed all that was good about Florida! He is universally scorned by ordinary Floridians whom his stupidity harmed immeasurably! In short, there is NO run at the presidency or any other office for Jebthro!

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