Jeb is a has-been whose last campaign was 14 years ago. During that time he has not done anything productive or constructive--except try to get rich. What he considers his biggest legacy, education, has turned out to be a failure and liability. He also faces a changed country: it's a lot browner, and his potential supporters have gotten a lot more racist and crazier.
But suddenly, he is now the GOP frontrunner.
He may just win the primary because just like Romney in 2012, all of the other GOP candidates are imploding. This time earlier than usual. But another Bush in the White House? Against a Clinton? I don't see it.
I never thought I'd be writing about him again, but here we are. Most people outside of Florida only know him from his disastrous handling of Elian Gonzalez, the 2000 election (selection) of his brother, and the Terri Schiavo debacle.
So just a few quick things about W's brother:
1. Jeb was paid big bucks by Lehman Brothers on a scheme to save them. Lehman Bros, as you recall, was the shady firm engaging in toxic mortgages that was the catalyst for the 2008 financial collapse. They hired Bush in a desperate bid to save themselves on a plan code-named "Project Verde". Essentially, Bush was to go to Mexico and convince (trick) a telecom mogul into making a large investment. It failed spectacularly. "Project Verde was unsuccessful", Bush wrote back. This is one of many instances where his quest for money overtook his judgment. Which brings me to #2...
2. Greedy. Rushed into very shady deals to make money. Jebbie is always all about the money. He has been chasing dollars since his early years. During the 80s, while Jeb was working real estate angles in Miami, he told the Miami Times "I want to be very wealthy". Jeb actually felt slighted and whined openly about having to rebuild his wealth during all those years "serving" the public as governor. He was in such a rush that the NY Times notes that a lot of these deals were quite questionable:
The Times chronicles the efforts of the brother of President George W. Bush – both sons of President George H.W. Bush -- to recruit investors for InnoVida, a Miami-based start-up company, as a handsomely paid consultant and member of the board of directors.
Leaders of InnoVida, a manufacturer of inexpensive building materials, had faked documents, lied about the health of the business and misappropriated $40 million in company funds, records show, according to the Times. The nascent company went bankrupt in 2011, its founder eventually went to jail and investors lost nearly all of their money.
Jeb Bush also sat on the board of Swisher Hygiene, a soap maker, “at a time when, its executives acknowledged, their financial statements were unreliable and their accounting practices inadequate,” the Times reported.
3. Tea party hates him. I mean really. He is the ultimate insider-establishment candidate. The tea party has little love for the Bush clan, and Jeb can't disavow all the spending his brother did out of family loyalty. Then there's the pandering. On his trip to kiss the ring of Sheldon Adelson, he gave the "act of love" immigration comment. (Re: Jeb's sudden interest in immigration means he is really running and he read Romney's showing with Hispanics). Although Jeb has probably shown sufficient contempt for blacks (in 1994, when asked what he would do to help the black community, he famously replied "probably nothing"), the tea party also hates brown. Jeb stabbed them in their racist hearts by not going with the "taking over our country" meme. (Speaking Spanish and marrying a Mexican is also tough for winning over the bigot caucas.) But the icing on their hate cake will come out when they learn that Jeb was on the board for Tenet, a company that aggressively encouraged Americans to sign up for *gasp* oBaMaCare!!!
You know you have your work cut out for you with your base when national joke Donald Trump has you booed at a tea party rally.
4. Jeb was the one responsible for Stand Your Ground. Compared to the incompetent, tone-deaf, and outright corrupt Rick Scott, Jeb looks good in comparison. But Rick isn't responsible for the most violent mistake in our state history (just for expanding it and now hiding it from public records). Bush turned Florida into an NRA meth lab, allowing them to draft awful bills like SYG and then celebrate passage with them. ALEC would then bring it to the rest of the nation. No one here asked for SYG; in fact, most of us fought against it--including law enforcement. There was not one instance in our entire state history that Jeb could point to where someone who shot in self-defense was prosecuted. But we did warn of the consequences. The media ran several stories saying it was a license to hunt and kill. Democrats in the FL House and Senate correctly predicted catastrophe if the bill passed. The blood of its many victimes, including 26 children, are on Jeb's hands. Speaking of children....
5. Ran the most dysfunctional Department of Children and Families in the nation. The DCF under Bush was beyond disgraceful. Rilya Wilson and Jami Cotter are just two horror stories involving two innocent children that should have sunk his campaign. They didn't. And since Rick Scott, the situation at DCF has only gotten worse. The fact that there is still no outrage is more a reflection on our apathetic citizens than these two men.
6. Bonus: His name isn't even Jeb. He calls himself that for the bubba crowd. Do you really think an elitist family would ever call their son Jebediah? His name is John Ellis Bush. Lawton Chiles, who defeated Jeb in his '94 bid to be Florida gov, made sure everyone here knew that.
I could go on with his "palling around" with terrorists, his imaginary Chinese friend, or any number of fails during his tenure, like eliminating our growth management, but I'll let others pick apart his record once he dives in. And he will.
I had really hoped Florida would at least learn something from having a Bush at the helm. Instead, we elected Rick Scott, who is so bad that even his supporters discourage him from seeking higher office. But Rick is also a man who Jeb Bush whole-heartedly endorses for governor. Knowing all that Rick has done to Florida, that says everything you pretty much need to know.
Jeb wasn't as dumb as W or as horrible as Rick Scott, but that's hardly something to build a campaign on. Unfortunately for the GOP, that's the best they have.