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Combine and Conquer: Candidates Link Bush Brothers to Bring Down Jeb

Republican candidates are beginning to target the presidency of George W. Bush, viewing it as an Achilles’ heel for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush even though they are attacking the most recent chief executive from their own party.

This week, both Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich suggested massive failures on the part of the older Bush brother during his presidency, seeking to diminish Jeb by degrading the Bush brand. The tactic had been expected to be deployed by Democrats if Jeb got the nomination, but Republican candidates clearly think the GOP base will not recoil from attacks on a president whose conservatives bona fides were always suspect.

The strategy is consistent with the burgeoning effort by Republican candidates, led by Donald Trump, to bring Jeb Bush down before his polls rise to levels commensurate with his massive fundraising.

Appearing on “The Laura Ingraham Show” Wednesday, Carly Fiorina said the 2008 financial meltdown occurred because quasi-government lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac churned out high-risk loans to borrowers who could not afford to make their mortgage payments. Wall Street investors bought up that “paper” and re-sold it, she said, adding that then-President George W. Bush, along with leaders of both parties, supported those policies.



“He certainly was contributory … President Bush said that American home ownership is part of the American dream, and therefore Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should keep doing what they’re doing,” she said. “This is what happens when government decides, for political purposes, that it’s going to get engaged in a marketplace. Bad things happen.”

Fiorina’s criticism of the Bush legacy comes on the heels of similar comments made Tuesday by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in an interview, also on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

Kasich pointed to the reversal of the balanced federal budgets that Kasich helped craft as then-chairman of the House Budget Committee

“How ’bout the first term when they blew the $5 trillion surplus that we all created and spent it all away?” Kasich asked in response to a question about whether he found fault with the policies of the Bush administration.

Fiorina contrasted the Bush record with the philosophy of Ronald Reagan.

“Reagan was a leader who understood that you must confront adversaries in a real and serious way,” she said.

That has not happened in the arena of international trade, according to Fiorina. She said China agreed to a set of rules in exchange for entry into the World Trade Organization.

“They haven’t lived up to any of them and there have been no consequences for their bad behavior, neither under Republicans or Democrats,” she said.

Kasich also invoked Reagan, suggested he would return to the GOP policies that preceded George W. Bush.

Kasich recalled that he ran on the conservative policies of Reagan in 1982 and won, despite the rough election year for Republicans. “I ran on the Reagan philosophy, and I was the only Republican to defeat an incumbent that year,” he said.

Fiorina homed in on the suspicion that many conservatives have about the Bushes: that in their hearts, they are big government conservatives — heirs to the Nelson Rockefeller wing of the party who mouth the free market conservatism of Ronald Reagan but don’t really have it in their blood.

Fiorina said his strong support of Common Core highlights his blinders to the dangers of concentrated power.

“I think Jeb Bush has more faith in the power of government than I do. I think bureaucracies always get out of control,” said Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. “So the name of the game is to reduce their scope, their power, their cost, their complexity, move as much of the decision-making and funding out of Washington and into the states. I think Jeb Bush and I fundamentally disagree on that.”

Fiorina said she is bracing for attacks from the Bush campaign if her poll numbers continue to rise.

“They may come after me, but they will not destroy me,” she said. “I am very proud of my record. I’m not perfect. But I have nothing to hide.”

Fiorina also took issue with frontrunner Donald Trump, whom she accused of inconsistencies on immigration. She noted that he criticized 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” of illegal immigrants and voiced support for amnesty.

“I have a very different record than Donald Trump,” she said.

This piece first appeared on Polizette. Reporter Brendan Kirby contributed to it.

33 Responses to Combine and Conquer: Candidates Link Bush Brothers to Bring Down Jeb

  1. I think Jeb! is his own Achilles heel.

    the Kofflerites here on this site are a decent sampling.* a lot of you guys are Trump supporters, and Cruz and Carson are also popular…and of course I’m pulling for my girl Carly.

    but I have yet to read a comment about how excited anyone was about Jeb Bush.

    but let’s face it: he could be the Second Coming and he’d still be unelectable because of his last name.

    *interesting: I’d say the candidate preferences here on WHD break down almost exactly like the national polling does. hey Keith: tell Frank Luntz your readers want to be in a focus group!

    • I think Jeb feels it’s his right to ascend to President due to his last name, (just like hilz to the dems) to be the R nominee. The RNC has put their money on him as has the DNC. The monied Washington class want a Bush Clinton ticket. The rest of us peons are sick of their eternal bs, lying ways & seek a fresh viewpoint to represent us in DC.

  2. It’s easy to look back for the mistakes, missteps that caused a problem or just failed to solve one. Blaming Jeb! for his brother’s errors is wrong and won’t go very far.
    What will cause the Jeb! train to jump the rail and come to a screeching halt is his strange habit of speaking to Americans in Spanish. Is he showing off his bi-lingual skills, or just pandering to a section of voters who refuse to speak English?

    Americans don’t want a President who speaks a language they don’t understand – he appears foreign and aligned with illegal aliens.

    • The Spanish bit is a huge turn off. Every time some business (Century Link comes to mind) makes me listen in Spanish, in America, where English is our language, really irritates me. Just having to get through to some of these companies is irritating enough–don’t make it worse by a non-English recording. Those “undocumenteds” need to assimilate and learn English!

    • That too. What the he!! Does he think he is accomplishing speaking spanish to Americans who are sick and tired of the press 1 for English crowds?

    • Ouroboros–snake swallowing its own tail–just giving the dems ammo for the general. Stupid. I honestly don’t think Bush will make it–and I don’t think he thought it was his “right,” like Hillary does. I think he knew he knew guilt by assn would be his enemy–his problem is he didn’t meet it well. As for the Spanish–are we really such insular goobers we are attacking someone for using a second language spoken by his listeners–probably in addition to their version of English? I don’t are if there is a Spanish option on the phone–I never press it because I am unilingual.

        • If you moved to France, you’d have to learn French. If you move to the Netherlands, you are allowed to be in the country I believe 7 years before you are tested on your fluency in Dutch. If you can’t pass the test, you get fined. Seems more than reasonable to me. If you vote here, you should be able to speak and understand at least simple English.

  3. I would think that the Bush family gave their OK, blessing for Jeb to run. In other words they let Jeb know, they will be throwing stuff left and right about what we did wrong.
    The reason why I mention that is because, she did make some very good points, but feel bad for the former presidents.
    What she stated did catch my attention, however at least two things have caused me to not be found of voting for Jeb, which is the illegal issue, and CC.
    By the way has anyone found out just exactly how CNN had the right to add her?

  4. I was not a Carly fan. Then, I began to listen to her.
    Her thoughts are fact based and she speaks those facts.
    I like her. I don’t know -yet- who will get my vote but she is a fine potential candidate.

  5. I think since half the country already had the “Bush Syndrome”, he should never had run. Get out already Jeb. There are many others running without that baggage.

  6. Ironic. Both the Dems and the Reps put their money on the annointed front runners — Jeb Bush, not doing so well, and Hillary Clinton, a crook under seige.

  7. Have you noticed Carly has switched from attacking Clinton to Jeb or Trump. In the beginning she only went after Clinton. Now why beat a dead horse. I think the point she was trying to make is big government isn’t the answer.