AND Magazine Menu

Bush Changes His Spots

If blandness comes into vogue, Bush might have a chance.



On the cover:

Jeb and George W. Bush
Jeb Bush with brother, former President George W. Bush. ©2017 Reuters

Bush defies gravity: Both for and against

Jeb Bush

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, born February 11, 1953, is an American businessman and politician who served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. | Photo: Archives | Jeb Bush, Governor, Presidential Candidate, Florida,

Bush defies gravity: Both for and against

135.8K

Views/Shares

[Comments] Republican Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush is doing what the leopard couldn't do in the old saying by, "Changing his spots."

In fact, Bush seems to be searching for a consistency among his positions on the issues and although it's too early to accuse him of "flip-flopping," all the groundwork is already in place.

One day Jeb is a moderate. Then the next day he's a hard-liner. I don't think Jeb knows what he is as he seems to grope forward like a blind man in a fog for what so far he has seemed to lack----a public persona. He doesn't have one like Donald Trump does with his Mussolini-style clenched jaw, his finger pointing and rancor.

If blandness comes into vogue, Bush might have a chance.

Maybe that's why he turned up the heat.

Bush said the government needs more extensive, broader spying powers on Americans to curb terrorism. This is an example of Bush the strong, although his delivery was so mild it reminds you of a greeting from your postman.

During the Republican candidates' debate in Detroit Bush proposed (hinted) at a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. This is an example of Bush the moderate.

If we just wait we'll have an example of Bush the liberal.

What will Bush be next week? It seems to depend on the political winds of the moment.

In pitching an aggressive foreign policy including more troops stationed in Eastern Europe in addition to greater spying on American citizens, Bush placed himself at odds with many of his Republican challengers and Congressional leaders. They favor cutbacks in the collection of bulk phone records.

Bush disagreed greater spying on Americans through changes made to the Patriot Act would remove Constitutional guarantees of privacy to Americans.

"There's a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and the NSA doing its job," Bush said.

Of course Bush meant taking away from the former and adding to the latter.

"I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way," Bush added.

Instead of spying Bush must have been talking about the emergence of Trump as a front runner.

Bush also criticized private technology firms from using encryption techniques to make it harder for their customers to be spied upon.

"It makes it harder for the American Government to do its job while protecting civil liberties to make sure evil doers aren't in our midst," Bush said.

Sorry Jeb. I'm more afraid of you and the government. The notion that you protect civil liberties by removing them is an interesting one. It's kind of like a robber who robs you at gunpoint and says he's placing you on a leaner budget by removing your money.

Bush also indicated his solution to what he said is the aggressiveness of the Russians, by recommending what virtually every Republican always sees as the solution to any foreign policy crisis----send troops.

This hawkish stance is no doubt intended to appeal to traditional Republican voters and to help break Bush away from the rest of the pack of candidates. Being Mister Nice Guy will only get you so far. Trump has proven that.

Bush also faces the continuing quandary on questions about his older brother and former president who initiated the Patriot Act and launched the Iraq War of 2003, a war many candidates of both parties now admit was a mistake.

Bush has handled questions on these issues (like Iraq) as though he were a man walking on hot coals, one minute saying he wouldn't have done it (Iraq) if he were president, the next minute saying he would have.

The Bush of the moment has shown his capacity to defy gravity. He's both for and against some issues.

Flip-flopping on issues can be a candidate changing their mind based on new evidence. That's okay. But it can cross a line when it becomes a candidate tooling an inconsistent message to appeal to different groups of voters----which becomes flagrant opportunism.

It can also demonstrate an inability to learn from past mistakes.

Bush has a real problem on his hands. How to demonstrate he's against big government when he's really for it.


John Sammon

John Sammon, : John Sammon is a writer whose experience includes newspaper reporting, magazine writing, personality profiles, interviews, celebrity interviews (Clint Eastwood), historical pieces, investigative and crime. He was selected “Most Valuable Reporter” for California’s oldest continually operating newspaper, and covered the weekend crime beat for a daily newspaper in Nevada. If you beat your wife on Friday, he wrote about it and got you in deep trouble on Saturday. He covered business,... (more...)