Saturday, November 24, 2012

Florida's Gaffe Prone Rich-Kid

The calls for Jebbie Bush "to step forward have grown louder since Mr. Romney told donors that Mr. Obama won the election by giving 'gifts' of government benefits to Hispanics, African-Americans and younger voters."

Jeb Bush's surrogates claim he is the "smart" one, and above the gaffes that plagued that other spoiled rich kid, Mittens Romney.
“That stupid comment that came out of Mitt Romney’s mouth would never in a million years have come out of Jeb Bush’s mouth because he doesn’t think it,” said Ms. Navarro, the strategist, who sees Mr. Bush regularly at the Biltmore [sic], a gathering spot for local politicos. “This election result has made Jeb Bush’s voice that much wiser and that much more needed for the Republican Party: What he’s been warning about all along proved to be true.”
"Jeb Bush in 2016? Not Too Early for Chatter". More: "Talk turns to Jeb Bush's possible presidential run in 2016".

How soon the media forgets, particularly the second tier wannabes that pass for political "journalists" in many of the state's newspapers, who so desperately want a Floridian on the ticket.

They forget that "Jeb!" is, if anything the proto-Mitt when it comes to rich-kid verbal gaffes, with a particular "habit of getting himself in trouble when making statements in front of reporters — particularly ones he doesn’t know are there."
Bush’s history of politically unfortunate rhetoric goes back to 1994, when he famously answered a question on the campaign trail by saying he would do “probably nothing” for blacks if elected governor. He lost the race against incumbent Gov. Lawton Chiles by a hair — and many analysts believe his dismal showing among black voters (he got just 4 percent) was largely to blame.
And remember Jebbie's
response to an impromptu sit-in by two African-American state legislators, state Sen. Kendrick Meek and Rep. Tony Hill, who in 2000 were protesting the implementation of Bush’s One Florida plan repealing affirmative action in state contracting and higher education. Irritated by the legislators’ refusal to leave his offices following a failed attempt at renegotiating the plan, Bush admonished staff — within earshot of a television reporter — to “throw their asses out.” Bush’s staff later tried to “convince” the reporter not to air the remarks, but they were splashed across the airwaves anyway, forcing the governor to backpedal into a cover story that he was actually referring to the media’s asses, not the lawmakers’.
But there is so much more about "Jeb!" that make him unelectable, except in a place like Florida:
Bush likes to project the image of compassionate conservative in public. His reelection campaign commercials portray him as just “Jeb” — canoodling with schoolteachers and handing out $160-a-month prescription-drug subsidies to the elderly poor.
But the man who wept in public and pleaded for privacy in the case of his drug-troubled daughter (she was recently caught with crack cocaine at a rehabilitation center) just can’t seem to stop making inappropriate, off-color remarks in private. For a man who has made “accountability” a cornerstone of his governorship, Bush’s inability to restrain his tongue — and his refusal to brook criticism for it — just seems troubling.
And as if he hadn’t had enough bad publicity for one day, Bush is now said to have told lawmakers at that same meeting that he has a “devious plan” to kill a proposed bill to mandate reduced class sizes in the state. If voters approve the bill in November, Bush says, it will bust the state budget, and he has made opposing it a platform in his reelection campaign.
So what was his “devious plan”? Bush was overheard on the reporter’s audiotape saying that if the class size amendment passes, he might offer a second voter initiative with funding — read tax increases — attached, so voters will see the full ramifications of their choice. But once again Bush’s unfortunate choice of words — rather than the debate about class size mandates — became the story.
In his defense, Bush comes from a family that’s famous for its curious relationship with the English language. (Remember “Is our children learning?” the nugget from George W. Bush’s campaign for president?) But while his brother and father are more famous for a certain unfamiliarity with the rigors of the mother tongue, Jeb’s verbal slips tend to reveal a mean-spiritedness that seems less benign.
"When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe".

This next Jeb-gaffe particularly revealing, "Spanish sighs at Jeb's royal gaffe". That gaffe, aside from being unintentionally funny, it is indicative of something more significant: as John McCain might say, Jebbie is "at a minimum, guilty of 'not being very bright'".

Indeed, a former federal prosecutor who looked into Jeb's lucrative business dealings, and
considered two possibilities -- Jeb was either crooked or stupid. At the time, he concluded Jeb was merely stupid.
"Bush Family Value$". As explained in Time Magazine,
basic competence has been an issue for Bush.
"Celebrity Govs: What About Jeb and Arnold?" See generally: "Not a Smart Man" (scroll down).

And then there's the purely craven side of the thing: you see, as Joe Conason points out, Jebbie "'is said by friends to be weighing financial and family considerations — between so many years in office and the recession his wealth took a dip, they said, and he has been working hard to restore it . . .'".
Aside from his need to “restore” his depleted wealth, Jeb’s business dealings may well prove an insurmountable obstacle to a national candidacy, just as Romney’s business career became excess baggage for his presidential campaign. Known today only as another Bush brother, Jeb must be introduced to American voters. And among the first things they are likely to learn about him is the string of borderline business deals that built his original fortune in Florida real estate, which began three decades ago.
While some aspects of the Jeb story may sound uplifting, there are certainly other episodes that will make voters’ hair stand on end.
Consider his gamy relationship with Miguel Recarey, whose International Medical Centers stands accused of one of the largest Medicare swindles of all time. Before Recarey fled the country ahead of several federal indictments, Jeb had placed a call on his behalf to Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler — a Cabinet secretary serving at the pleasure of Jeb’s daddy, President George Herbert Walker Bush. Recarey paid Jeb a sweet $75,000 for that lobbying effort, which forestalled government action to stop Recarey’s skimming of millions in Medicare dollars. Although Jeb has denied that Recarey — a Mafia associate — hired him to importune Heckler, both the fugitive and the former HHS secretary have since confirmed those circumstances.
After Recarey fled Miami, Jeb gradually grew rich through real estate investments, thanks to his connections with the Cuban-American community in South Florida. To show his gratitude, Jeb sought a presidential pardon from his dad for Orlando Bosch, a murderous anti-Castro militant denounced by his father’s own attorney general Richard Thornburgh as “an unreformed terrorist” responsible for the murder of dozens of innocent people. That kind of thing is acceptable among the South Florida Cubans, but may not look so good in the post-9/11 era to the rest of the country.
Then there is Jeb’s career as governor, a saga that includes his vow to sign legislation that would have awarded Florida’s disputed electoral votes to his brother in November 2000, and his attempted intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-dead woman whose husband and parents fought over whether to turn off her respirator. Interference in that sad matter by congressional leaders and other right-wing busybodies was gross exploitation of a family tragedy — and the Schiavo affair became a turning point in the 2006 Republican midterm debacle.
So yes — run, Jeb, run! The fact is that almost any presidential candidate from Florida represents a full-employment program for investigative journalism — and the “smarter” Bush brother is no exception.
"Run, Jeb, Run! Another Bush, Another Target-Rich Presidential Campaign".  See also "Make the Money and Run".