“Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”
John Ellis Bush "Jeb" Bush (born February 11, 1953) is a son of George H.W. Bush ("Bush 41") and younger brother of George W. Bush ("Bush 43"), whom many people touted in 2015 and 2016 as "Bush 45," assuming that yet another Presidential campaign between a Bush and a Clinton would be more nearly winnable than waiting for new ideas from the Republican Party.
Jeb was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. This gave him a record of executive experience a voter could study which, unlike that of Hillary Clinton, did not feature cover-ups, "bimbo" eruptions, or murdered ambassadors. He even killed 1 mass-transit project, and that is more than the other two President Bushes combined, though Florida voters did a brief end-run around him and resurrected it, at which time, he drove a stake through its heart, cremated it, and opened the urn in a tornado. In fact, the only storm on his horizon was not his past but the stuff he kept saying in the present.
Just as Barack Obama let Americans overcome a generation regarding Jimmy Carter as "America's worst President," Jeb's fleeting, ill-fated, and enormously expensive campaign freed voters from years spent thinking George W. Bush was the dumbest person who could ever sit in the Oval Office.
Jeb was born in Midland, Texas, at a time when most Texans were preoccupied either reading J.R.R. or trying to determine who killed J.R. It will surprise the reader to learn that "Jeb" is an acronym for Jeb's given name — and a damned better acronym than U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T., which should have occurred to his brother George W. after the September 11 attacks. If he had named it the Jeb Act, we would not have to futz with secret anti-terrorism courts and could have put telescreens right in living rooms by now.
In fact, it was not until the age of 34 that the family gave Jeb any nickname at all, a slight that surely weighs on the adult. With being passed over in favor of his father and older brother for President, these continuing slights suggest that this obvious third fiddle might compensate by returning to the Middle East or even starting a personal nuclear war. However, either decision could set the stage for a future campaign inspiring pity, the first since Hubert Humphrey confessed that his campaign sucked and threw himself on the mercy of the electorate. Focus groups are already testing slogans such as, "What is he, chopped liver?"
The Latino thing
Jeb's close relationship with Latinos, Hispanics, and stuff like that, is of intense interest to the Republican Party — which, election after election, continues to see 85% of Latino votes going to its opposition. This is just below African Americans, 95% of whom vote Democratic every time, and who have been rewarded by getting out from under the thumb of slavery and put under its full-fledged "legacy."
For Jeb actually studied their quaint little language. (Latinos, that is; not blacks. Heavens!) At the age of 17, he taught English as a Second Language in Guanajuato, Mexico, though never disclosing what his first language might be.
While teaching in Mexico, he met his future wife, Colombia, as he time travelled between courses. Together, they have three children. Unlike W's daughters, none of Jeb's children was ever caught underage-drinking plus trying to game authorities with a fake I.D. Instead, Jeb's daughter went straight to hard drugs. She hopes to enter rehab and hobnob with the sons of Al Gore and Joe Biden.
In 1973, Jeb earned a B.A. from the University of Texas in Latin Grievance Studies in 2½ years. This was not quite as demanding as being a fighter pilot like Dubya, and the reader should not take either as evidence of a lot of intelligence in the Bush family, at least compared to a politically correct expert on global warming.
In April 2015, Jeb's close relationship with Hispanics got closer, as it came out that Jeb had checked off "Hispanic" on a voter form he filed six years earlier. This went off as poorly as John Kerry's 2004 campaign, in which he claimed to be both Irish, Jewish, and hayseed; and Barack Obama claiming to be an American.
At family reunions, relatives identify Jeb to one another (in whispers) as the family member with the "little brown ones." The three Bush children will be ready for combat, like a new generation of Star Wars adversaries, the moment the public starts believing that Chelsea Clinton was a "successful journalist," and America will stagger through a fourth decade of mind-numbing Bush/Clinton Presidential contests.
Jeb has a set of political positions almost as diverse as the Bush family, if you count the "little brown ones":
- He supports the Common Core program (that is, that the United Nations should be in charge of curriculum at the local public schools). In 2013, Jeb said that "criticisms and conspiracy theories are easy attention grabbers," but Common Core could be a real solution, as there are many times more international bureaucrats to look for answers to problems of their own making than even Washington bureaucrats.
- He supports "comprehensive immigration reform that avoids Amnesty," the name his brother gave to Amnesty, which started W's conversion from re-elected President to historical asterisk. Jeb wrote for the website Newsmax that "A growth agenda is linked with a welcoming immigration policy," making the point that even new Americans who don't speak our language or tell the truth will instantly make supermarket check-out lines twice as long, provided we give them EBT cards with which to pay for their purchases so they don't have to steal.
- Jeb swears that, unlike his brother, he could even succeed at getting Presidential geisha Harriet Miers onto the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jeb's intimacy with the Latino community, again, is a key to Republican campaign strategy. Strategists such as the always-successful Karl Rove know that the GOP loses when Democrats appeal to voters as mindless members of voting blocs, and the only thing Republicans know about Latinos is that they have flooded across the southern border ever since health care, free telephones, and stigma-free steak tips became human rights. It is with the approval of these strategists that many of Jeb's speeches begin with praise for the "people who love America enough to break her immigration laws." Lines like this are sure-fire election winners.
As opposed to Blue-Ribbon Commissions and foreign fact-finding missions, Jeb has been active in actual productive corporations, which is predicted to lead to heated controversy (instructions below).
- He has served on numerous Boards of Directors; which proves that, if he is not a member of the hated One Percent, he is at least closer to them than he is to the average voter.
- One of these was the health care concern Tenet, which obviously stands to gain, lose, and be made whole with a federal check for, billions of dollars. Thus, the moment Jeb throws his hat into the ring, the Democrats will stop claiming that Obamacare was an even-handed, populist attempt to get filthy lucre out of medicine but a corrupt payoff to industry that will benefit people like Jeb.
- Moreover, Jeb has reportedly served on the board of a private equity firm. Most recently, Mitt Romney fatefully proved that it is impossible to explain to the American people what one of these does, except wear three-piece suits and wing-tip shoes and discuss safe executive candidates such as friends and family rather than someone who sent in a resumé and might even be a Negro.
Despite the certain controversy, Jeb's corporate connections mean the money boys love him, compared to candidates such as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Those candidates believe in ideas, which would need defending with persuasive arguments. As we are discussing Republicans, that makes those other candidates "unelectable."
Scorecard of Failed Bush Presidencies
Although Jeb's 2016 campaign failed to establish Jeb as a failure reaching the level of the two Presidents Bush, the following scorecard demonstrates the eerie similarities.
|George H.W. Bush||George W. Bush||Jeb Bush|
|Weasel words to claim he was actually conservative||"Kinder-and-gentler conservative"||"Compassionate conservative"||"Committed conservative" (Then, for emphasis, "I'm my own man")|
|Slip-of-the-lip that sank a ship||"No net loss of wetlands" extends a law on "navigable waters" to cover puddles in cornfields||"Mission accomplished!" instantly ruins credibility on military plans||None at all; was a low-energy candidate|
|Hints that he was not up to the job||Has a problem with "the vision thing"||Lacks "gravitas"||"Please clap!"|
|Fake future spending cuts needed to troll Bush into real tax increases now||6×, for new taxes for first Iraq war||No; only "stability" through continual temporary two-year tax cuts||Told a House committee in 2012 it would take 10× to make him fold.|
|How Democrats ruined his career for doing exactly what they asked him to||"Read my lips!"||(1) Democrat at the CIA reports Saddam is shopping for WMD;
(2) Pelosi, briefed on waterboarding while grinning and nodding, declares it shocking torture;
(3) Bernanke and Geithner blow up the economy just before the next election
|Does Democrats' bidding without having to be asked|
|Went (back) into Iraq after human-rights outrages with no particular legal justification?||Yes; "Kurds and Kuwait"||Yes; "WMD"||Probably; "ISIS and Boko Haram"|
|Amnesty for illegal aliens?||Yes||No — Blew through all his "political capital" first||Yes; overstaying their visas proves love-of-country|
|Tax money for rich bankers?||Yes; savings-and-loan bail-out||Yes; TARP bail-out||Probably; seeds of next Mortgage Meltdown being planted now|
|Personal Waterloo||Looking at wristwatch and waiting for democracy to be over||Flying over Hurricane Katrina damage and wishing there were more school-kids to read comic books to instead||Successfully shushed during each debate with Donald Trump|
|Fidelity to campaign promises||"Read my lips!"||"I'm against nation-building."||Various promises, no chance to break them now|
|Everyone said he was conservative and he seemed fine to me||Justice David Souter||Chief Justice John Roberts||Justice Whoopi Goldberg, probably|
- In the Bush interregnum, Mitt Romney was "Severely conservative" (but no animals were harmed).
A Jeb candidacy struggled against the above similarities. When "Bush 43" was asked why he was not simply a carbon-copy of "Bush 41," he answered with a single word: "Texas." Jeb was never asked the same question, but he could not simply have intoned, "Florida." While Texas suggests machismo, Florida mostly suggests double-wides and incest.
Jeb's Southern drawl was not magic either, at least for voters who remember four decades of malaise under clueless Southern Presidents from Lyndon B. Johnson on. If Jeb intended for Americans to feel good about a President from the South, Jimmy Carter would have had to emigrate to Venezuela, not just keep sending valentines.
Jeb's ultimate weapon was a TV cartoon locomotive with a boxcar with a sign on the side declaring: "You know where he stands!" Unfortunately, he was not propelled into the White House on the resulting laughter.
In summer 2015, 17 Republicans remained in the Presidential race, including two authentic Hispanics, whereas Jeb only claimed to be one on certain filings. It became clear that large donors and a larger last name would not turn the trick. The dullest bulb on the Bush Christmas tree needed an actual plan of action as President.
- Four percent promised...
Jeb's advisers noted that America's recovery from the recession (see George W. Bush) was a shadow of past recoveries. Perhaps it was something about Obama squandering billions giving the Interstates thin new coats of asphalt, buying and crushing cheap cars, paying cronies for solar energy schemes, bundling health care with every job unless companies cut workers back to 29½ hours or moved them to Pakistan, and compelling everyone to overpay for crappy insurance with deductibles that kept them from ever filing a claim anyway.
Jeb never pointed to a problem, but his backers agreed that the goal should be to return America to 4% growth. Obama originally ran on "Hope and Change" but tellingly failed to tell how to Hope this Change was actually better than what came before. Jeb would solve this problem.
Jeb did not say how he was going to achieve the 4%. Presumably he would slash taxes on corporations. And Congress would not oppose it and try to filibuster it. Another "stable tax regime" like the one Dubya had to re-do every two years to sneak it past the Democrats. The proposal put Jeb in tune with the motto of his allies in Congress: "Well, we tried."
On foreign policy, Jeb likewise distanced himself from his smarty-pants brother: "We don't have to be the world's policeman but we certainly have to be the world's leader."
- ...Four percent achieved
One place Jeb did achieve 4% was in polling. The money boys raised him $133 million during 2015, which achieved the 4% — compared to 15% in June when he announced his candidacy. Moreover, it only took half the money. The second half could bring the poll numbers to 1% in the election year itself. Jeb embraced this task with zeal — or rather, it was the "independent" Political Action Committee, Right to Rise (its name hastily changed from In Free Fall), which has No Official Connection.
A cool 10 million of those Simoleans went to recall the Jeb! lawn signs (a style borrowed from the wildly successful Lamar! campaign in 2000), and replace them with the obviously more serious JEB signs.
One-a-day mailings touted Jeb's success (a decade ago, before he withdrew from politics), gave inspiring keynotes like, "It is time to elect a new President," and disparaged everyone else. Governors in the race had records that could not compare with Jeb's as a Governor of no state, any more; Senators had shocking absences from the U.S. Senate, while Jeb wisely scheduled no votes all year that he might miss.
But a coup occurred in one of the debates, when there was a long enough silence for Jeb to tell Donald Trump, "You're not going to insult your way to the Presidency," though Trump was doing just that. The coup was that Jeb managed to spit out the scripted line on only the second try. The next week's daily mailings reminded voters of that key wisecrack, and that Jeb "had a plan" to do things like defeat ISIS, probably with more such snappy bon mots.
- Please clap!
The campaign went north to Iowa and New Hampshire, filling increasingly small venues, like Spinal Tap without the message about clean living. The war chest was still large enough to wallpaper highways with yard signs curiously absent from any actual yards, and keep mailing a postcard a day asserting that "Jeb has a plan," though when one read the plan, the bullet points were desired results and what was missing was the plan. But Jeb's sure-fire applause lines were met by silence, head-scratching, and fidgeting. Jeb's election results in the North were listed in agate type under the heading Also Ran.
The next challenge was in South Carolina, fertile ground with its many assisted-living centers for retired snake-oil salesmen, for whom Jeb brought out the big gun: credible brother George W. Bush. Dubya broke eight years of self-imposed silence that lasted even during the passage of Obamacare and vouched for his brother, telling adoring crowds, "Jeb is as worthy of the office as Harriet Miers was."
Sure enough, Dubya did to the proposed new Bush #45 Presidency what he had already done to the Bush #43 one. Trump called Dubya a liar (also disparaging Pope Francis) and won the state. However, Jeb scored a key victory — narrowly edging out Ben Carson as "the candidate you most hope never to have to actually listen to," and placing fourth. On February 21, Jeb announced it was time for him to go pursue one of those many other cool alternatives — without even waiting to see how overwhelmingly he would carry his home state of Florida. America narrowly avoided yet another Bush/Clinton election, and Democrats demanded a Constitutional amendment (or failing that, an Obama Executive Order) because, unless we regulate large campaign donations, "big money will continue to dominate our politics."
Jeb Stuart (February 6, 1833 – May 12, 1864) was a Virginian who became a general during the U.S. Civil War. Like Jeb Bush, Jeb Stuart's name is actually an acronym — in his case, for James Ewell Brown. He wore a yellow sash, a hat cocked to the side with an ostrich plume, and a red flower in his lapel. He was America's first wigger. He also overused cologne, a trait taken up a century later by military leaders in several small but notorious Asian countries. After he was killed at the age of 31 — for going into battle wearing the sartorial equivalent of a gigantic sign — his widow honored him by wearing black for the rest of her life, rather than by dressing like a pimp.
Jeb Stuart Magruder (November 5, 1934 – May 11, 2014) was a bag-man in the Watergate caper of Richard Nixon. Although named after the other Jeb Stuart, he did not dress foppishly but wore a three-piece suit. He had a key role planning the Nixon burglaries, and a keyer role in denying them in testimony to Congress. He went to prison for that and, like most other politicians in prison, declared he had found Christ and got his sentence reduced.
Jeb Stuart (born January 21, 1956) is not Jeb Stuart but some other guy of the same name. He was the screenwriter for the 1988 action classic Die Hard, and ended several decades of obscurity in December 2022, when he told a forgetful nation in a Zoom interview that he intended the emphasis not to be shoot-outs and car chases through the traffic jams of Los Angeles; but egg nog, unwrapping presents, and bell-ringers outside Walmart. He asked Americans to phone their local cable providers and ask them to dust off the film cans and show it again in the next few weeks.
Jeb Bradley (born October 20, 1952) was a Republican Congressman, elected to "bring home the bacon": to coax money raised by taxation throughout the U.S. to flow into New Hampshire. In an exception that proves the Peter Principle, voters moved him out of Congress and into a humbler legislature in Concord, N.H., where he could coax money out of the region he used to coax it into and "bring it home" to Laconia and Wolfeboro.
Cheb Bush is Bush #43's stage name when playing raï music. Since leaving the Presidency, Bush has performed at weddings and festivals around the Dallas area when he is not engaged in his more important occupation, tending to two goldfish in his smallish hotel suite. Cheb Bush retains his Secret Service protection, whereas the Algerian musicians who have taken on the "Cheb" title can only wish they had it, in the moments before they lose consciousness entirely.
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