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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rumors and whispers of a late presidential bid by Jeb Bush are difficult to consider seriously — if only because the deadlines to enter primary contests have past, the necessary money and campaign staff are not in place, and the mechanisms for a “brokered convention” do not exist. And yet some worried Republicans are evidently imagining a rescue by the former Florida Governor.

Such fantasies arise from the unappetizing choices that now confront Republican voters. But if Jeb Bush were to enter the field, as he has wisely declined to do so far, the public scrutiny that has damaged the current candidates so badly would turn toward him – and swiftly reveal an enormous deadweight of political baggage. What Florida voters once accepted (or ignored) might well horrify the national electorate today.

The first obstacle that Jeb would have to surmount is that to most Americans outside the Sunshine State, he is known only as the brother of George W. Bush, most recently named one of the two worst presidents in the past half-century by respondents to a Gallup poll – rated just above the late Richard M. Nixon, in fact. It’s a negative accomplishment that should not be “mis-underestimated,” as the former president himself might say.

Only a professional politician or a right-wing pundit – the sort of deep thinkers mulling a Jeb boomlet – could believe that most Americans would receive the idea of another Bush presidency with any emotion except loathing. Not much would have to be said or done to remind voters of this century’s catastrophic first decade, and why they might not wish to risk putting a third Bush in the Oval Office.

Leaving aside the historic burden of his family name, Jeb Bush carries a resume of dubious episodes that stretch back three decades, to his early days as a Florida real estate developer and consultant, when he told reporters that he intended to become “very wealthy.” Among the partners he encountered in that quest was one Miguel Recarey, whose International Medical Centers was accused of one of the largest Medicare swindles of all time. Before Recarey fled the country ahead of several federal indictments, Jeb had made a call on his behalf to Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler – a Cabinet secretary serving at the pleasure of his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, who was then president. Recarey paid him $75,000 for that lobbying errand, which forestalled government action to stop Recarey’s skimming of millions in Medicare dollars. Although Jeb has denied that Recarey — a mob associate — paid him to call Heckler, both the fugitive and the former HHS secretary have since confirmed those circumstances.

Jeb soon did amass a fortune in real estate, mostly with the assistance of the Cuban-American community in South Florida. He returned the favor by seeking a presidential pardon from George H.W. Bush for the late Orlando Bosch, a murderous anti-Castro militant denounced by his father’s own Attorney General Richard Thornburgh as “an unreformed terrorist” responsible for killing dozens of innocent people.

Although he never hesitates to denounce government regulation and praise the unfettered free market, Jeb didn’t exactly reject the federal teat when one of his own investments went south during the savings-and-loan crisis. With an infusion of more than $4.5 million from the Treasury, Jeb and his partners managed to hold onto a downtown Miami office building in 1989 that they soon sold for $8.7 million. In other words, Bush benefited from a government “bailout.”

There is much more to the Jeb saga, including his vow to sign legislation that would have awarded Florida’s disputed electoral votes to his brother in November 2000, and his ill-advised attempts to intervene in the case of Terry Schiavo, the brain-dead woman whose husband and parents sued each other over whether to turn off her respirator and end her life. The public regarded interference in that sad matter by Congressional leaders and other right-wing politicians as an opportunistic exploitation of tragedy – and the Schiavo affair became a turning point leading up to the 2006 Republican midterm debacle.

What Newt, Mitt and the rest of the Republican cohort have learned is how unflattering stories that faded years ago become suddenly vivid under the campaign’s glare. Unless he is truly the smarter Bush – and ignores all this presidential daydreaming — the same lesson awaits brother Jeb.

 

  • Theodora30

    The media and Democrats never informed the public about all of Bush’s questionable activities. Few people I know ever heard that Bush’s companies went bankrupt even though he managed to walk away with money and still get help from his daddy’s rich friends.

    Worse the strong evidence that he was guilty of insider trading when he was on the board of Harken Energy was ignored by the media. The fact that Bush was not only on Harken’s board but also its restructuring committee and audit committee so he was clearly aware that the company was in deep trouble makes it clear that when he then turned around and sold his stock at a profit he was breaking the law. (Unless he was too stupid to understand the info.) Harken had used Enron style trades to cover the fact that it was in trouble so the public was kept in the dark. Not long after W sold his stock the price tanked. Bush excused his behavior by saying the stock price later came back! Clearly this was a much worse offense than that committed by Martha Stewart yet he was given a pass by the government, the media and Democrats. Maybe Jeb thinks that same immunity will extend to him. Maybe it will.

  • rsmith1212

    GW and Jeb are not the only sons of a Bush. Neal got in on the game in Florida through his brother Jeb who passed the “No Child Left Behind” legislation, which greatly benefitted Neal and his cirriculum company. I guess the child not left behind was brother Neal.

  • HarryCoverston

    The notion that Jeb Bush might ever be considered for the presidency must clearly be coming from people outside the state of Florida. Mr. Bush nearly destroyed Florida’s public schools and state universities while governor. Education was steadily defunded in the Sunshine State as corporations and wealthy retirees received increasing tax breaks. As a fifth generation Floridian, the state I once loved is nearly unrecognizable in the wake of the Bush gubernatorial legacy. Of course, with the glassed over ideologue now holding the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee, even Jeb looks better.

  • Hankk

    The Bush family has done enough harm to the USA don’t you think? Let me point out that GHW Bush, gave us the 1000 Points of light and help turn us into a minimum wage service Nation, and also gave us the S$L bail out and his son Neil was one of the people to get bailed out. Jeb Bush gave us a phony election in his state of Florida which led to brother GW Bush’s Supreme Court Election. GW Bush put us into 2 ten year + wars that have cost the USA 3.5 trillion dollar, the biggest tax breaks/ welfare for the wealthy and corporations in history, which led to the biggest recession every recorded in the USA which was extremely close to another Great Depression. Now the Teapublicans wants Jeb to join the campaign, what for so he can destroy the Credit Unions, send us into that depression? hankk, MI

  • bwilhite

    do we really think this matters? in a few years, after the dust settles and all is for gotten and forgiven, Jeb bush will rise from the ashes and take his place in AMERICA’s history completing the journey to destroy america while increasing his wealth. If all that matters in america is name recognition, then does it not follow.

  • PatrickHenry

    Here is another attempt of this Liberal writer, Joe, Conason, to bring up the Bush name with pure speculation and propoganda! Then he goes on & on about what if’s and other “National Enquirer” type of (reporting)??? “puke”

  • herman wyatt

    I AM AN INDEPENDENT BUT WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR ANY COMBINATION OF THE THREE. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY SHOULD ADOPT THE ARMY”S MOTTO BECAUSE THEY NEED “A FEW GOOD MEN”, AND NONE OF THEM HAVE CONVINCED M E THAT THEY CAN BEAT OBAMA!

  • Howz 1

    These comments by fantasy shows how Republicans when presented with facts retreat to the bubble of lies that the Republican party spins. Nixon did the same thing with journalists

  • DanKennedy

    Much better president than George W. Bush.

  • joediluzio

    OOOOOOOOOH NOOOOOOO!!!!! Not another Bush …This is just what this Nation doe’s not need …Yet,Another Retard running …The hat-trick Family …Two George’s and a Jeb …Please tell me this is a dream anot reality !!! Keep this clown in FLA ..Where his JOB was handed to him..I hate the notion that the GOPERS are considering another ASSWIPE ..but” desperate times “require JEB BUSH !!! I don’t think so…………

  • Mike Dee

    Sorry…enough is enough…we need a leader not a follower of the secret cabal…who was the real president while W held office…Chenney, or Osama

  • BillRohde

    I can’t escape the irony of what the Brothers Koch and the Family Bush have wrought (bought?)for America. Seems that tea has been the blessing and the bane of American politics. The current Koch driven program to put a corruptable nitwit in the Whitehouse is a shocking parallel to the efforts of two oil barrons to buy the presidential election of 1920. Harry Sinclair bribed and bought his way to obtain drilling rights on public land at TeaPotDome Wyoming. Along with his buddy Edward Doheny, who wanted to broker a simiilar deal in Southern California, Warren G. Harding suddenly appeared on the political horizon and rapidly became a willing shill for the highest bidder. I won’t go so far as to suggest that Harding even looks like Romney, but the parallels are striking. Big money, financial scandals, the aftermath of an messy foreign war. History redux.

  • DavidSims

    No.
    Jeb will have a hard enough time saving himself.
    Maybe the GOP should petition the congress for a “Bailout?” Maybe the GOP should declare bankruptcy? Maybe the GOP should just continue like lemmings to the sea following the ever-more reactionary right. Then maybe – just maybe – a sane and focused new party that really was “center right” could reorganize. The current mess the GOP is in is almost as much as the mess they made of the national economy with tax cuts for those of presumed priveledge, demonizing the government and worshiping at the altar of “Trickle-Down.” They need to wander in the political wilderness for a while – say forty years – until they learn to deal with facts instead of making up their own. The GOP is as dysfunctional as their primary season has demonstrated and they are not yet ready to govern.

  • jcurtis595

    This country has had a two party system for a long time. Maybe its time for a third or fourth party to arise. Certainly the Republican party deserves to disappear. It is totally controlled by two separate factions. First is the right wing religious fanatics who scream to get government out of their pockets while at the same time seeking to control the most intimate details of a woman’s life inserting a vaginal probe up her vagina, outlawing birth control, instituting a theocracy shoving down everyone’s throat religious dogma which goes totally against religious freedom while they claim being denied religious freedom. Second is the collection of big oil, big insurance, big corporations and billionaires in general who buy candidates and pretty much all of Congress with hundreds of millions spent on simplistic and misleading ads containing largely outright lies and pulling the strings of their puppets to prevent needed tax reform and elimination of tax subsidies and “corporate welfare” for the mega rich.

    Even Ron Paul is not immune as he has a billionaire supporter, but at least he sticks to his guns.

    So what next if the Republicans are thrown out in mass?

    Let try a centrist party, in favor of tax reform favoring the middle class, cutting the military budget in half. We don’t need to outspend for military defense more than all six of the next largest countries collectively in the world. Just spending twice what these six spend would be far more than enough and we could cut or defense budget in half.

    Such a party would find majority support, and only a limitation of words here prevents my detailing all the other issues on which a majority consensus exists for this new party.

    Jay Curtis (author of THE CODE)

  • 2lolo

    HELL NO!!!!! We live under G. W. A$$-WIPE BUSH for 8 years…… What did “A$$-WIPE” did for us…. LIED to start a WAR. Gave the Wealthy and Corporations TAX CUTS. Put Americans into a TOILET ECONOMY…………

  • peteserb

    Bush is admired and respected in Florida where he did a commendable job as Governor. Only the Libs and progs didn’t care for him. It must worry the left, (including the Memo) to initiate negative stories and try to scare the independent voters.

  • Reaper59

    The republican base is nothing more than Gangsters! Always have been! The Bush’s never should have been close to governing anything! Everything in their political doings have been bought by the Bush clan and the GOP. As far as Jeb asking his father G.H.W. Bush for the Presidential pardon of Orlando Bosch, doesn’t anyone remember Operation 40 which was bankrolled by the Bush family (Preston Bush)? G.H.W. Bush actually was the person who recruited exiled Cubans as part of Operation 40 (gun men) and Orlando happens to be one of the people possibly recruited by him around 1960. Always kept hush hush in the CIA. Anybody wonder why or how H W Bush made it in the CIA many moons ago? It was bought! Operation 40 was nothing more than a GOP Mob Ring. Old H W Bush can put to rest the theories on Kennedy’s assassination! People need to read up on Operation 40, it would give an excellent perspective on the Bush family, Richard Nixon and the GOP! Nixon was a protege of Preston Bush whose political career was started and bankrolled by Preston. (1946)

  • pioxelpete

    what we have is bad enough now, please let us not consider another Bush for president

  • freethinker

    Jeb has no interest, but it sure worries liberals.

  • Kingofnotsomuch

    The Bush family has done enough to wreck America.The GOP will finish of their party if they consider Jeb,it has already shown the American people that they are for the rich and corps.American people are tired of the repukes.non-sence.They have nobody that stands for anything that the American people need or want,such as everybody paying their fair share of taxes.What is the difference between working for a income as opposed to making a living from investments?It is still income.

  • Bill Fultz

    What? Wingnuts think the first two incredibly failed Bush presidencies need to be followed up with yet another of their patented family messes to finish off the job of destroying the USA? Twelve years, three recessions, the last of which was damn near a depression. It would be nice to see the Repuke Party put itself out of its misery, but not at the expense of trashing this country.

    If Jeb was smart, he would seek to escape the embarrassment of his surname… Change his name, have face-altering plastic surgery, and move to somewhere on the planet where people never heard of his reckless brother George Dubious.

  • Michael Prosser

    February 21, 2012 http://www.michaelprosser.com
    In my blog, Post 333, Feb. 5th, I do a very lengthy review of Clarke Rountree’s 2012 book, The Chameleon President: The Curious Case of George W. Bush. It may be worth you reading either the book or the review of the book. He is none too kind to George W. Bush. Chapters include 1. Not the Sharpest Tool in the Shed; 2. The Callow Frat Boy; 3. The Born Again President; 4. The Conservative Texan; 5. The Man Who would be king; 6. The Incredible Oedipal Bush; 7. The Corporate Crony; 8. The Evil President; 9. Cheney’s Puppet; 10, The Victim of Circumstances; 11.The Far Seeing Patriot; and Conclusion: Would the Real George W. Bush Please Stand Up?

  • Bill Fultz

    [As quoted from above] freethinker: “Jeb has no interest, but it sure worries liberals.” — This liberal isn’t worried, buddy. Bring Jebby on, he would fit perfectly in the clown car your party has going these days. Unlike the other clueless pinheads making fools of themselves daily seeking the Goobers On Parade nomination, the man seems to know his limitations… Starting with a surname that makes most Americans shudder in fear of disaster.

  • EATHERICH

    the entire family should be in prison, including dear barbra and her texas scool computer scam. they are proven enemys of freedom and the american way of life.

  • dfrosenzweig

    This Bush is truly no smarter than his brother George. To start Jeb is really bad at covering his tracks as to not get caught at what he does as soon as it happens. Jeb reminds me of the rural boy who just wants to do right by his parents and be liked by everyone. George at least had the balls to be defiant once in a while and not be looking to see that he’s always loved or liked…as a person.Jeb seems like he would have been the perfect Mama’s boy, and probably was.

  • jimmyags

    Was it really that slow of a news day? First of all he isn’t running,period. If he were to jump in he would not be the third Bush president but would be a footnote, much like Fred Thompson,Rudy Guilianni and Rick Perry were all going to be “saviors” of the party.

  • adlerman

    His name is John but I guess like many righties he hates his given name so he uses his initials. His weife was arrested for failing to declare all her purchases from Europe- her excuse- she was “afraid” to let her husband know how much she spent.
    All three of their kids were arrested- the oldest -a girl- was a druggie- instead of prison she got a program. While in the program she was using- anyone else would have gone right to prison- not her- her daddy was still governor- she’s not dead yet
    which is a miracle- his two sons had minor charges- one was naked- drunk i guess or just bush weird.

  • Charles Higgins

    He’s the reason we got GWB!If he wasn’t governer of Florida GWB would never have been President.The Florida debacle orchestrated by Jeb,Kathleen Harris and finally the Supreme Court should never be forgotten.The people never elected GWB and should definitely not ever elect Jeb Bush or any other Bush!!

  • dawnowens

    Fact: GHWB was involved in the JFK assassination; he was in the CIA at the time, evidence exists that he was in Dallas that day and when asked where he was on 11/22/63 his response was a nervous ‘I don’t remember’, even though everyone alive then remembers where they were. Then there’s the lookalike picture of him in front of the School Book Depository, and the official report citing his name in FBI records alleging having heard of some conspiracy against Kennedy.

    Fact: The man who tried to assassinate Reagan was the son of a Bush family friend who wanted GHWB to be president. If he had succeeded, Bush would have taken on the presidency mere weeks after Reagan’s inauguration.

    Fact: GWB was oddly missing the weekend JFK, Jr’s plane went down. Even his own campaign staff didn’t know where he was. The entire scenario of ‘pilot error’ in his death reeks of disinfo; more likely the plane was electronically compromised and JFK Jr, had reportedly told friends that he was preparing to release evidence of who had killed his father and also running for high office at a time when GWB was up and coming. If JFK Jr. had thrown his hat into the ring, there would have been no second Bush presidency, no one could have beaten him.

    Fact: GWB is responsible for the deaths of over a million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, lied us into war, is a deserter from the Armed Forces he later went on to lead and far more. Of course, suspicions about what really happened on 9-11 will continue for years. He told us all we needed to know when he stalled for 2 years on an investigation. All the evidence you need about this family is tied up in records that are sealed for ’75 years’; funny how that works in a supposed open Democracy.

    The world should not rest until the entire Bush family gene pool is erased from the planet including their dogs and goldfish. They are nothing less than evil incarnate and long ago usurped and destroyed this country. It’s not hyperbole to state unequivocally that they singlehandedly brought down the U.S. and turned it into a terror state run by despots, murderers and liars of the first order.

    Better watch yourself, Joe. Stay out of small planes.

  • Wombat

    I doubt Jeb Bush will run, but if he does, let’s remember his brother was appointed.

  • Dina12145

    Back in 2000, when W was running, Jesse Jackson gave a speech where he said, “Stay out the Bushes.” Time has proven that was good advice. Perhaps it should be heeded this time.