Monday, February 22, 2016

Why Jeb should never have run for President

Charles Pierce (in Esquire magazine) describes how poor Jeb Bush never saw it coming. In Lincoln's words about one of his defeated generals, Bush was "confused and stunned, like a duck hit on the head."

He spent gobs of money. He hired all the best people. He had the name and the pedigree. And every one of those conventional credentials were turned against him as vehicles for mockery and derision by He, Trump, the wild-card for whom nobody had planned. Trump mocked Bush's spending for its lack of results. Trump mocked Bush's campaign for its lack of results. Trump mocked Bush himself for being low-energy, and for his lack of results. Meanwhile, Bush and his campaign worked day and night to lend obvious substance to every charge levelled by He, Trump.

Please clap.

He should have dropped out right at that moment.

(Do not make the mistake of thinking that I sympathize in any way with the sad political destruction of Jeb (!) Bush—except, of course, in the sense that it makes the presidency of He, Trump more of a possibility—because I still remember how, out of raw political ambition, he made the lives of a lot of good people miserable. Fuckabuncha him forever for having done that.)

Now, though, Jeb (!) is merely the symbol of a political party and a nominating process gone truly rogue, burning and consuming itself, using itself as its own fuel like some great breeder reactor of rage and fear. Bush, like all the members of the now vestigial Republican "establishment," who spent 30 years developing the perfect context for something like the Trump campaign to occur, was stunned into incoherence when it actually happened. Watching him in his farewell on Saturday night was to recall what Abraham Lincoln said about General William Rosecrans after the Union's defeat at Chickamauga; Rosecrans, Lincoln mused, was "confused and stunned, like a duck hit on the head."

Right. These establishment types created the Trumpenstein and are now "stunned into incoherence" and, apparently, incapable of controlling their monster as he marches on Washington to claim the throne, demolish the constitution, and lay waste to democratic values.

But there is a piece of history alluded to by Pierce that deserves your attention. Do you remember how Jeb Bush, as governor of Florida, made "the lives of a lot of good people miserable"?

Pierce, in an earlier article in December of 2014, chronicles in detail the lives of those good people involved in the Terry Schiavo case. He starts this way.

Now comes son Jeb (!), and he has this family trait in spades, even though a lot of people are working hard through the holidays to re-cast him as the reasonable candidate of the "Republican Establishment." However, back when his dim sibling was in the White House, Jeb (!) was governor of Florida and, as such, he helped put some wonderful people doing god's own thankless work through a personal kind of hell just because Jeb (!) thought there would be a political advantage to be gained by doing so, both for himself and for his dim brother. He allied himself with vandals, trespassers, and people who put bounties on other people's heads. He put the power of his office behind the efforts of people who call in bomb threats to elementary schools just because they happen to be down the road. He threw in his lot with the people who phone in death threats to federal judges. For his own pathetic political aggrandizement, he helped an organized brigade of dangerous, god-bothering lunatics to threaten and to torment some people whose shoes he is not fit to shine.

It is a very long read and, I assure you, on the way you are likely to feel sick to your stomach about how Bush and his allies put these people through hell. Here is a sample.

On October 21, 2003, at the encouragement of Governor Jeb Bush, the Florida state legislature passed "Terri's Law," a measure specifically giving Bush the unilateral power to replace Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, which had been removed, for the second time during the endless litigation, six days earlier. The law was nakedly, almost hilariously, unconstitutional, in part because it directly contradicted a law the legislature had passed during a less frenzied time several years earlier.

Never mind that Bush was out of step with the political waves overtaking Republican politics in 2016. He should never have been considered as suitable for the high office of the Presidency because of his actions in 2003.

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