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They Love You When You’re Gone

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They Love You When You’re Gone


Some people are already waxing nostalgic about Rep. John Boehner, who has resigned as the Speaker of the House and leaving Congress.

Testy and stiff, the hard-drinking Ohio Republican wasn’t exactly a beloved fixture on the national scene. Sniffling over the pope helped soften Boehner’s image, but the main thing that’s made him more likable is the fact he’ll be gone soon.

It’s a strange American phenomenon. No matter how low they get in the polls, politicians start becoming more popular the minute they leave office.

Blamed for high gas prices and the Iran hostage crisis, Jimmy Carter got booted from the White House after four years. Today he is cheered wherever he goes. This is partly because of the charitable work he’s done since leaving government, and partly because Americans have a soft spot for the politically departed.

Saddled with Ronald Reagan’s sputtering economy, George H.W. Bush also lost the presidency after one anemic term. He’s never been more popular than he is today.

Same for Bill Clinton who, despite his impeachment saga, draws crowds like a rock star. Even George W. Bush, the brains behind the disastrous U.S. occupation of Iraq, is more fondly regarded now than during his last few years in the Oval Office.

Which brings us to his younger brother, Jeb, whose popularity has been creeping in the wrong direction ever since he announced his candidacy for president.

A mind-bending new Quinnipiac University poll shows Jeb running fourth among Republicans in Florida, behind Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio.

For those of you too young, too old, or too new to the Sunshine State, John Ellis Bush doesn’t just happen to reside in Florida. He was the governor for eight years, elected and re-elected with the crossover support of conservative Democrats.

His entire presidential campaign has been crafted around his self-buffed legacy as Florida’s chief executive, touting it in every stump speech and in every debate. Yet now, only 13 months before Election Day, he’s mired in fourth place in the one state where it was supposed to be a slam dunk. How is this possible?

The explanation might be simpler than you think: Jeb broke the cardinal rule of well-liked ex-politicians. He came out of retirement.

Not so long ago, when he was still a private Coral Gables businessman, he was a venerated and unassailable figure among Florida Republicans.

Check out the latest numbers:

Trump leads the pack in Florida with 28 percent. Next comes Carson at 16 percent, followed by Rubio with 14 percent.

Jeb is hanging on at 12 percent.

It’s one thing to be trailing a silly character like Trump in places like Iowa or New Hampshire, but to be 16 points down in a critical swing state, your home state, is truly shocking.

Rubio’s a legit contender, but Carson is a loony bird who can’t go more than a week without babbling something that requires a hasty “clarification.” His recent comment suggesting that the victims of the Oregon college massacre were too passive during the shootings was particularly idiotic.

It’s astounding that Jeb is lagging behind even this guy in Florida.

Sure, the former governor didn’t show much fire during the two televised debates. He’s also had some stumbles of his own, including that appalling “stuff happens” remark about the Oregon killings.

But stacked up beside the insult-belching Trump and the spacey Carson, Jeb should be looking like Winston Churchill.

Imagine if you were one of the wealthy donors who wrote a six- or even a seven-figure check to the Bush Super PAC early this year, thinking you were betting on a sure winner. Now you’re looking at the headlines and lunging for the bourbon.

The situation is so serious that Jeb is considering taking his ex-president brother on the fundraising trail, a once-unthinkable strategy. He risks reminding voters about Iraq and the 2008 financial meltdown that left the country with a Bush hangover. A seven-year absence from the scene is what has boosted George W’s numbers.

It’s too early for Jeb’s supporters to panic, because the race is far from over. He has collected more money than any other Republican, and he’s finally starting to spend some on advertising.

Jeb hopes that the conservative infatuation with Donald Trump will fade, Ben Carson will go home to Mars and other long-shot candidates will go broke and drop out. That’s the only path back to the top of the polls.

Where he would probably still be, if only he’d stayed retired.

(Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132.)

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush joins the audience in reciting the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance at a campaign town hall meeting in Bedford, New Hampshire September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen is an award-winning journalist, commentator, and novelist. Hiaasen has worked for the Miami Herald since 1976, and his writing focuses on environmental and corruption issues in his home state of Florida.

His latest book is Skink—No Surrender (2014).

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  1. Dominick Vila October 13, 2015

    Is it a soft spot for the defeated or recognition of our tendency to over react? Carter was blamed for the Iranian hostage crisis, and for high interest rates. Two issues he did not create, and that were the result of actions taken long before he became President (Mossadegh and the creation of the Jewish State of Israel), and a decision made by the independent Federal Reserve to tame out of control inflation. George H. W. Bush was chastised for having the audacity of proposing and signing a tax rate increase to help reduce the budget deficits he inherited. Jeb Bush is not doing well, in part, because he is a lousy campaigner, because he is perceived as being soft on immigration, and because he is married to a Mexican-American. The idea of a Mexican First Lady is enough to make the heads of every Republican xenophobe explode. None of these politicians lost their re-election, or their bid to the nomination, because their policies or proposals were flawed. They were, and are, victims of circumstances and of a mindset more inclined to embrace facile solutions, even when we know they are bound to fail.

    1. FireBaron October 13, 2015

      Translation – they are repeating the same experiment under the same conditions and expecting different results.
      My personal hope is THE DONALD and the comedy act currently at number 2 implode in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Then “the smarter brother” may have a chance.

      1. Dominick Vila October 13, 2015

        Hopefully a moderator will ask a question that begs to be asked, in the aftermath of the natural disaster and dam breaks in SC: How do they feel about the GOP decision to refuse investment in infrastructure? Are they willing to take responsibility for the consequences of their myopic decision?

        1. John Murchison October 13, 2015

          One thing the GOP does not do is accept responsiblilty or apologize. They never show thar kind of “weakness”.

          1. Dominick Vila October 13, 2015

            You are right. Compromise, trying to find common ground, and acknowledging they made a mistake constitutes weakness, appeasement, or sacrilege dependent on which side of the political spectrum they are on (center right or far right).
            When they do make a mistake, such as acknowledging their devious plots, like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy did, Republican hold their noses…and re-elect them by solid margins.

          2. RED October 13, 2015

            I think you give the Cons too much credit suggesting that they are “holding their noses… and re-elect them..” The Cons gleefully support the most ignorant lying bigots they have the option of voting for, i.e. Trump, Carson. They would vote for actual klansmen if they got the chance. And if they could find an African American Klansman, he would be their nomination cause they could vote their bigotry and them call democrats racists for not agreeing with an African American Klansman.

          3. John Murchison October 13, 2015

            True, being crazy, bigoted or any combination is not too much for them anymore.

        2. latebloomingrandma October 13, 2015

          How much do you want to bet the first question for Hillary is about the email scandal? The press seems to shy away from actual policy questions. After all, Trump gets a pass in this area. He’s too busy talking about his greatness.

          1. Dominick Vila October 13, 2015

            Maybe Trump has been getting a free ride because, as he said, everybody likes him because he is handsome!
            I would not be surprised if the first questions directed at Hillary are about e-mails and Benghazi. In fact, that has already been happening. Every time CNN talks about the Democratic debate, their journalists end up talking about those two subjects. Let’s not forget that what our media cares about are ratings and profits. Objective journalism is not even a consideration for most of them.

        3. jam October 13, 2015

          As usual Mr. Vila, you have hit the nail right on it’s head!
          None of the media does their job any longer. All I have left is Rachael, and Chris to ask the hard questions.

    2. John Murchison October 13, 2015

      Perhaps I’m naive, but I don’t think Jeb’s bad numbers have much to do about his wife’s ethnicity and is more about his poor campaigning and poorer self expression. Super P donors had no qualms about dumping out their deep pockets for him, although they may regret it now. He needs a dirt bag like Karl Rove to cloak him in a think layer of bullsh@f to get him thru.

      1. Dominick Vila October 13, 2015

        For most Americans, that is not a problem, for racists it is.

        1. John Murchison October 13, 2015

          There does seems to be a thicker vein of racism running thru the GOP than expected. But surely the greater population of the GOP doesn’t succumb to that. Then again Trump is still their front runner.

      2. Corey Mondello October 13, 2015

        Karl Rove’s and Mitt Romney’s little circle of cohorts couldnt even get one of the two Democrats, (the one tauted as a favorite for of the Republicans) running in the last mayoral election in Boston MA, that was supported by all the local papers, many districts and the most wealthy in the state.

        1. John Murchison October 13, 2015

          Rove has lost his mojo of late. He had a total on-air melt down during Mitt’s great election night defeat. It was very amusing to watch.

          1. Jan123456 October 18, 2015

            I still watch that from time to time when I need a good laugh.

    3. Independent1 October 13, 2015

      Since you bring up Carter, I’d like to post an article here on Jimmy that I agree with 100% and feel that everyone here should take a few minutes to read.

      I’ll post just an excerpt and then the link:

      President Carter First To Use Solar Panels On The White House In 1979 – Guess Who Took Them Down?

      Jimmy Carter, the 39th President has been unjustly criticized and labeled ‘the worst president’ (until George W. Bush), when in fact Carter was one of America’s greatest presidents. Even calling him the ‘best ex-president’ is somewhat of an insult. He was the only president since World War II to keep this country out of war. Under Carter’s administration, no bombs were dropped and no bullets were fired under the American banner. Imagine the thousands, possibly millions, of lives that were spared from this warless president, as well as the Camp David Accords which Carter facilitated. The 1978 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has kept the two middle eastern countries at peace with each other for over three decades.

      The myth about President Carter being ‘weak’ was perpetuated and spoon-fed to Americans by the Reagan administration, the GOP, and the
      corporate mainstream media of the day. Thanks to social media, a
      Facebook page has been created to perpetuate the truth – President Carter was, and is, a remarkable Democrat, humanitarian, world peacemaker, and national treasure.


      1. Dominick Vila October 13, 2015

        I think President Carter was a great President, and I believe his performance since he left office should serve as a model for others to follow. The greatest irony is to hear pseudo Christians criticize a man whose life has been devoted to true Christian values.

        1. Otto Greif October 13, 2015

          That says it all about you.

        2. Independent1 October 14, 2015

          In addition to what the article mentioned on Carter, he worked to promote green energy long before it became a must, and of course created the Energy Department. But on top of that, unlike Reagan, he managed the government’s budgets in a way that brought America’s debt to GDP ratio to the lowest level it reached at around 35% of GDP since the Great Depression; and in the process the economy during his term outperformed anything Reagan did; the GDP growth under Carter averaged over 10%/yr growth while it averaged less than 8% under Reagan; and 10 million jobs were created during Carter’s 4 years – far more than had been seen under Nixon. The supposed ‘greatness’ of Reagan is nothing but a GOP fabrication. The GOP presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have been so abysmal, the GOP has grabbed onto Reagan and fabricated his legacy in order to have someone to brag about.

          This chart shows very clearly that Reagan was at best a mediocre president; 2nd best behind Nixon in an abysmal line of GOP presidents in office since the ’29 market crash. Every Democrat has outperformed every Republican on the economy. Interestingly, Hillary brought that out in tonight’s Democrat debate.

      2. Louis Allen October 18, 2015

        Depends, you ydiot:
        It takes a bumbling, crazy foooool like you to claim that poor ol Jimmy was a “remarkable” president.
        But, then again, if Obama is your standard of comparison, CARTER WAS A GENIUS !!!!!!!!!

        1. Independent1 October 18, 2015

          Here dumb dumb. Here’s a graph that shows Carter was a rock star president even compared to Reagan. Reagan’s pathetic economies couldn’t even match Nixon!! Job creation and the economy was worse under EVERY REPUBLICAN when compared to a Democrat!!!

        2. Independent1 October 18, 2015

          GDP growth under Carter averaged over 10%/year while under Reagan only 7.3%yr. 10 Million jobs were created in Carter’s 4 years compared to 4 million in Reagan’s 1st term. Carter managed the budget such that the GDP to Debt ratio reached the lowest level since its been measured at under 35%; while Reagan threw money at the economy, spending more money in 8 years than all presidents in office since the Great Depression COMBINED!! Basically tripling America’s debt froom just under 1 trillion to 2.95T in 8 years. Turning America into a debtor nation. Any nincompoop could have accomplished what Republicans say Reagan did if they were allowed to throw money around like Reagan did!! Reagan was America’s worst president ever!!!!

        3. Louis Allen October 18, 2015

          CONFIRMED: It takes a bumbling, crazy foooool like you to claim that poor ol Jimmy was a “remarkable” president.
          But, then again, if Obama is your standard of comparison, CARTER WAS A GENIUS !!!!!!!!!
          You are such a pathetic sycophant.

  2. Eleanore Whitaker October 13, 2015

    Alcoholics have no place in our government. They cannot be trusted to make sound judgments while in the throes of intermittent sobriety. One of the reason for the BS all of us are enduring at present with a do nothing GOP House and Senate is that they spend too damn much time boozing.

    How on earth are we expected to get anything from a bunch of liquored up lushes?

    1. Louis Allen October 13, 2015

      That’s why you, dear, will never have “a place” in our government.
      Thank God.
      Go back to your Appleton Estates.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker October 14, 2015

        Who the hell left the door open to the ward for the criminally insane?

        1. Louis Allen October 14, 2015

          Dear Lenora:
          Let me correct you on a few minor points here, dear:
          1) The name of your hospital is White Lilly Rehab Center.
          2) You are not, repeat, you ARE NOT (and have never been) “criminally” insane.
          3) Your “malaise” has a (politically correct/sensitive) name: it’s called “delirium tremens” and is defined as “a psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation.”
          4) Right up to the very moment in which I decided that I could not stay any longer, you had made “some progress” at White Lilly.
          5) Since I left, and judging from your loony posts, fits of temper, rancorous demeanor, venomous tongue, evident lies about your personal & professional past, radical bias against men, foul language, hostility and aggressiveness towards any and all posters who might even slightly disagree with you, and complete utter denial of your condition, I can safely but sadly assume that you are worse.
          As I have told you dozens of times before, Lenore, please get (more) help; please, please, please go back to White Lilly.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker October 15, 2015

            Yawn…..more prison inmate BS?

          2. Louis Allen October 15, 2015

            Hard to accept the truth, huh?

          3. Eleanore Whitaker October 16, 2015

            When did you join the Sovereign Citizens Movement that is now considered by the FBI, Justice Dept. and NSA to be domestic terrorists?

            You can’t handle the truth.

            So folks, you tell me…Do Screwy Louie, BikerBoy, Cowboy David fit into this Wikipedia definition of lunatics of the right wing? Here’s the Wiki link: Read and enjoy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_citizen_movement

            In case you can’t access that link, here’s what Wiki has to say about the Sovereign Citizens Nut Freaks:

            The sovereign citizen movement is a loose grouping of American and Canadian litigants, commentators, tax protestersand financial-scheme promoters. Self-described sovereign citizens take the position that they are answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law[1] and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, state or municipal levels; that they do not recognize United States currency; and/or that they are “free of any legal constraints.”[2][3][4]They especially reject most forms of taxation as illegitimate.[5] Participants in the movement argue this concept in opposition to “federal citizens,” who, they say, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law.[6] It is similar in doctrines to the freemen on the land movement, more commonly found in Britain and Canada.[7][8][9][10]

            Many members of the sovereign citizen movement believe that the United States government is illegitimate.[11] JJ MacNab, who writes for Forbes about anti-government extremism, describes the sovereign citizen movement as consisting of individuals who believe that the County Sheriff is the most powerful law-enforcement officer in the country, with authority superior to that of any federal agent, elected official or local law-enforcement official.[12]

            The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies some sovereign citizens (“sovereign citizen extremists”) as domestic terrorists.[13] In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimated that approximately 100,000 Americans were “hard-core sovereign believers,” with another 200,000 “just starting out by testing sovereign techniques for resisting everything from speeding tickets to drug charges.”[14]”

            As for the freak troll boys on this thread. None of them have day jobs and live off your tax dollars.

          4. Louis Allen October 16, 2015

            Good copy & paste job, Lenora!!!
            Mindless (as expected, coming from you), but good.
            Go back to your gin & tonic. It is already 8:45am and you will get the “shakes” if you don’t.

          5. Eleanore Whitaker October 16, 2015

            Thank you. I am excellent at copying and pasting anything that describes a nut like you. You didn’t even read what Wikipedia listed, did you nut ball?

          6. Louis Allen October 16, 2015

            I forgot that since today is Friday it is not gin & tonic for you.
            Today it’s Appleton Estates 21 yrs Old. Or are you back to drinking the 6 year old?
            You cheap miser. Buy the expensive stuff!!!

          7. Eleanore Whitaker October 16, 2015

            I forgot Screwy Louie is allowed out of his prison cell. Who smuggled in your drugs Druggie Boy.

            Today, it’s Attica for a jerk like you. How about go chew your balls and then shave your head asshat?

          8. Louis Allen October 16, 2015

            Lenny dear:
            Your condition was diagnosed 6 years ago as “delirium tremens”.
            I am sorry I could not deal with your alcoholism and with your psychosis at the same time. But I am NOT sorry I divorced you, because I noticed you were not cooperating with your caregivers.
            I forgive you, Lenora.

          9. Eleanore Whitaker October 17, 2015

            Drop Dead.

          10. Louis Allen October 17, 2015

            Typical delirium tremens reponse.
            Go to your AA meetings.
            Don’t skip them please.

          11. Louis Allen October 18, 2015

            Lenora, you foul-mouthed witch:
            Re chewing my balls, a physical and physiological impossibility, it would be much more realistic that Obama and Nancy Pelosi suck on your drooping nnnipples from 3 meters away, a physical and physiological possibility.
            You are pathetic, dear.

  3. dtgraham October 13, 2015

    Man was I wrong. At the start I was almost convinced that Jeb Bush was highly likely to get the nomination. I also saw Scott Walker as a very strong darkhorse candidate who could easily upset Bush for the nomination. I really saw those two as being the ones. If you’re looking to make money in a politics fantasy league, stay away from my advice.

    Trump-Carson or Trump-Cruz 2016! Who knew?

    1. Dominick Vila October 13, 2015

      That makes two of us!

      1. dtgraham October 13, 2015

        Yes, come to think of it, I do recall you predicting Jeb Bush as their winner several months back. Now I know that there’s at least one person here who can’t lord it over on me.

  4. joeham1 October 13, 2015

    As usual the racist comments about Ben Carson come out from you people. It’s s flat out lie that he said the victims were to passive. He just said what HE would do. That’s it. Dominick you are full of it to suggest the right wouldn’t want a Hispanic first lady. They don’t want another Bush. Who does? If Marco Rubio wins we will have a Hispanic first lady.

    1. latebloomingrandma October 13, 2015

      There is nothing in the article to suggest racism in regards to Carson. It’s the words that come out of his mouth. Unless you are equating Mars with Africa.

      1. dtgraham October 13, 2015

        Good one. That interplanetary speciesism. That’s the worst.

  5. Corey Mondello October 13, 2015

    What Was Jeb Bush’s Biggest Mistake? Being a Bush possibly

  6. latebloomingrandma October 13, 2015

    This article is why VP Biden should not run. He should go out out on top and save himself the aggravation.

  7. 13factfinder October 13, 2015

    Pandering to illegal aliens is what killed him!

  8. 13factfinder October 13, 2015

    TRUMP/CRUZ 2016! Screw the illegal aliens and other law breakers!

  9. RED October 13, 2015

    How come I keep reading articles proclaiming how astounding it is that crazy Con sick morons wanna support other morons? We’ve known for quite some time now that the Republican party is nothing more than a hate group bent on foisting their theocratic fascist beliefs are the the U.S. The only reason it is surprising to some is because the corporate media has played along for so long that the Republican’s stupidity was just another perfectly valid point of view. Well, it’s not, hateful, bigotry, denying reality, depriving others of their rights is not just another point of view, it’s a sickness that plagues the U.S.

    1. dtgraham October 13, 2015

      Well said.

    2. dana becker October 13, 2015

      the more money these elites lose the better

  10. Louis Allen October 13, 2015

    Yeah, and George Soros (The National Memo OWNER), Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and the Hollywood Fat Cats (George Clueless comes to mind) are sweating drops of blood thinking about the $$$$$ they gave to “sure bet horse” Hil-LIAR-Y and how she has done herself in.
    Just watch her tonight….

    1. Dominick Vila October 13, 2015

      You are aware that comparing the $24M donated by Soros to the $800B pledged by the Koch siblings is a bit ridiculous, right? I oppose all political donations, regardless of source or political party. Mostly because they influence the future decisions of the recipients, and because they are making a mockery of our system of government and democracy. But I think the GOP’s fixation with Soros, a man that donates to progressive political parties worldwide, is more than ridiculous. It is actually an attempt to deflect attention from the fact that the GOP has been bought, and owe their obedience to a handful of wealthy businessmen.
      Again, I would love to see a system where the Federal, State, and Local governments allot equal amounts of money to the top candidates of each party. If they over spend and run out of money, their constituents should consider them unfit for office and vote for someone else.

      1. Louis Allen October 13, 2015

        “… $800 billion pledged by the Koch siblings ….”??!!
        Last time I checked, that would be 800,000 million….
        Your age is showing, Dom.
        Give it a rest. Go on a vacation. Take a break. Go for a walk. Go to the beach. Get a life.

    2. latebloomingrandma October 13, 2015

      Yeah, just watch someone that knows how to answer questions.

      1. Louis Allen October 13, 2015

        You must mean: “Just watch someone that knows how to lie, and is even getting better at it.”
        You will be able to recognize her by her looooong nose; her name is Hil-LIAR-y.
        The problem is that the alternative is a self-declared socialist who believe, actually believes, that “poverty” can be “solved” by increasing the Federal minimum wage to $15 or $20 (and why not $50 ??!!).
        Grandma, you haven’t bloomed yet.
        P.S.- Biden?? God, please help us.

    3. dana becker October 13, 2015

      What is the GOP agenda?

      Name one thing the GOP has done that has benefited you? Ever?

      What kind of bills are the GOP trying to pass?

      What is the Democrat agenda?

      Name one thing the DEMS have done or tried to do that would have helped you?

      What kind of bills do the democrats push?

  11. Whatmeworry October 13, 2015

    The Bush family are all losers

    1. dtgraham October 13, 2015

      Spoken like the Donald.

    2. Independent1 October 13, 2015

      Probably the most honest comment you’ve ever posted.

  12. dana becker October 13, 2015

    I want Jeb! to talk and talk and talk some more. I want those verbal gems to keep falling out of his mouth.


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