As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: Jeb Bush

Jeb Suggests Trump’s Children Don’t Love Him

I gather Jeb Bush is still a little angry about being personally and politically destroyed during the 2016 election.

From the Yale Daily News:

“I’m not going to talk about the 2016 election,” Bush joked on Tuesday in a talk sponsored by The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale. “I’m still in therapy.”

But that didn’t stop him from taking shots at President Donald Trump, his opponent in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. At one point, Bush described the current president as “Republican in basically name only.” And earlier in his speech, Bush said that after the 2016 Republican primary in South Carolina, he returned home to children who “actually love me.” His comment was met with raucous laughter from the crowd, and several audience members interviewed after the event said they interpreted Bush’s comment as a jab at Trump.

Trump’s older sons responded this morning, Donald Trump Jr. putting quite an edge on it.

Notice Bush described Trump as a RINO. Which begs the question Jeb reads the newspapers.

I’m sure Bush is a pretty unhappy and perplexed man. Here in Washington, the expectation was so great that he was going to of course win the primaries and likely be president that a de facto administration-in-waiting had already formed, with people knowing who the top players would be.

Instead, they’re all rotting in think tanks, although a few managed to weasel their way into Trump’s good graces.

Is Bush Unnerved by Trump?

Jeb Bush suddenly lurched to life during Thursday night’s Fox News debate, offering crisp, forceful comments of the kind that have largely been absent from every one of the preceding six debates and begging the question: Is he completely cowed by Donald Trump?

With Trump on the stage, the former Florida governor had in previous debates seemed hesitant, like a tentative child who thought he was about to get smacked by his parent for saying something stupid. He often spoke meekly, seemed a bit apologetic, and sometimes politely stammered that he might like to get a word in before being denied by moderators of smacked down by Trump.

But during the final debate before Monday night’s Iowa caucus, Bush sounded far more self-assured. If voters respond, Trump’s absence may have had one unattended effect: Giving the beaten former favorite a chance to remove the stake from his heart and return from the political dead.

Bush did not put himself in a position to overtake Trump. He’s way too far behind for that. But he may finally be able to mount a challenge to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for the mantle of Establishment candidate.

The only problem for Bush is that Rubio also turned in a strong performance, offering his typical passionate comments and levying bruising attacks against both Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The other problem for Jeb is that what’s wrong with him as a candidate is not just his demeanor, but his moderate Republican, pro-amnesty, policies and his firm ensconcement in the GOP Establishment, which is not what most Republicans are looking for.

“We should have a path to legal status for the 12 million people that are here illegally,” he declared.

After adding certain conditions, he said, “I think that’s the conservative consensus pragmatic approach to how to solve this problem.”

Bush specifically embraced his exalted place in the Establishment.

But look below at how much less assertive he appeared during a previous debate with the dominant Trump by his side.

But of course, Bush’s ability to crawl out of his shell without Trump around begs a second question: Will he creep right back in it the next time he shares the dais with towering real estate mogul.

Bush, Rubio Declare War on ISIS

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush said Sunday the United States should declare war on ISIS and Sen. Marco Rubio said the U.S. should activate NATO, suggesting the two chief GOP Establishment candidates for president would massively increase American commitments in Iraq and Syria.

Their comments follow the terror attacks in Paris on Friday night that killed more than 130 people and wounded hundreds more. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the violence.

“We should declare war and harness all of the power that the United States can bring to bear both diplomatic and military, of course, to be able to take out ISIS,” Bush said on “Meet the Press.” “We have the capabilities of doing this, we just haven’t shown the will.”

Rubio, in a separate appearance on the same program, said NATO should invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the provision that declares that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

“I would ask our allies to invoke Article 5,” Rubio said. “This is clearly an act of war, an attack on one of our NATO allies, and we should invoke Article 5 of the NATO agreement and bring everyone together to put together a coalition to confront this challenge.”

Rubio also said the fight against ISIS was “a clash of civilizations.” But he appeared to contradict his tough talk by suggesting the U.S. should limit its commitment on the ground.

“Key to the success of this is we’re going to have to conduct an increased number of special operations attacks, targeting ISIS leadership,” he said. “Long-term, however, in the big picture, the only way to defeat ISIS militarily is for Sunnis themselves to be the bulkhead of the fight. But it will require us to do more in the short stage.”

Bush’s plan for engagement sounded more robust.

“[President Obama should] declare a no-fly zone over Syria. Directly arm the Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Re-engage with the Sunni tribal leaders. Embed with the Iraqi military. Be able to create safe zones in Syria. Garner the support of our European allies and the tradition Arab states. Lead. That’s what I want him to do. I want him to lead. He has the capability of doing this. We have the resources to do this.”

Bush accused Obama of pussyfooting around while the survival of Western civilization was at stake.

“The policy of containment isn’t going to work,” he said. “And it’s a policy of incremental, just kind of running out the clock so the next president has to deal with this. Should I be the president of the United States, I promise you that I will.”

Bush sought to draw a contrast with Hillary Clinton who said Saturday the battle against ISIS “cannot be an American fight.”

“It is our fight,” Bush said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is a war and we should act accordingly.”

Significantly, he also said the United States should still take Syrian refugees, but that Christians should be the priority.

“The great majority of refugees need to be safely kept in Syria, which means the safe zones need to be serious,” he said. “I do think we have a responsibility to help with refugees after proper screening. And I think our focus out to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore. They’re being beheaded, they’re being executed by both sides.”

The White House suggested President Obama is not backing off his plans to admit tens of thousands of additional Syrian refugees over the next two years.

“We’re still planning on taking in Syrian refugees,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We had very robust vetting procedures for those refugees.”

This article also appears on PoliZette.

Jeb May be Finished

Jeb Bush failed to distinguish himself yet again in the third Republican presidential debate, missing a crucial opportunity to energize his campaign at the very moment when Establishment donors are making final decisions about where to put their money.

Making matters doubly worse for the once-inevitable GOP nominee, Sen. Marco Rubio offered himself up as a credible alternative for the Establishment’s cash with his polished, knowledgeable responses, his ability to personalize issues, and a decisive smackdown of Bush when the former Florida governor came after him.

Bush, with a slightly pleading tone, recited his policies as if reading from an extensive white paper churned out by a boiler room of wonky nerds holed up at his campaign headquarter in Miami.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich also may have made some progress in the Establishment sweepstakes, delivering a passionate performance and an aggressive sales job of his record. But he’s achieved that before, and it hasn’t done much for him in the polls.

Carly Fiorina, another potential Establishment choice, sounded tinny and unremarkable. Her polls will go nowhere but down, since that’s where they eventually went even after her stellar performances in two previous debate.

Rubio calmly made his case, smartly parrying attacks from the other candidates and the obviously anti-GOP CNBC panel that hosted the Boulder, Colo., contest. He didn’t look any younger than he has before, but he had a mature, reassuring manner that contrasted clearly with Bush’s awkwardness and Kasich’s sometimes near-histrionics.

Unlike Bush, who stuck to the facts, Rubio never forgot to relate his ideas to the average people he says his plans are designed to help.

“My mother’s on Medicare and Social Security,” Rubio said. “I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother.” Rubio also was sure to mention, as he always does, that his dad was a bartender, leaving unsaid the contrast with Bush’s father.

But “the guy who does my dry cleaning” would also benefit from a Rubio presidency, the senator said.

A leaden Bush declared, “I have a concrete plan,” jabbering on with some perhaps solid policy details, if anyone was still listening.

“Our monetary policy, our tax policy, regulatory policy needs to be radically changed so we can create high sustained growth for income to rise,” Bush said. After a yawn, one might ask, for whose income to rise?

But the worst moment came early, when Bush assailed Rubio for his absentee senate record — and Rubio dismissed the criticism as the canned stunt that it was.

“I’m a constituent of the senator and I helped him, and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work,” Bush whined, as if he had needed his senator’s help fixing a broken traffic light. “Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate — what is it, like a French work week?”

Bush had ripped into both the French and his opponent with a single salvo. Thought he’d done pretty good. What he actually did was launch an attack Rubio was surely prepared for.

“I get to respond, right?” Rubio asked calmly.

“You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you’re now modeling after?” Rubio said.

“He wasn’t my senator,” responded Bush, sensing the danger.

Rubio ignored him.

“I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record,” Rubio said. “The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.”

And that, everyone knew, was true.

Rubio went on to take the high road, refraining as he mostly has from returning Bush’s increasingly desperate attacks against his onetime friend.

“I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Governor Bush,” Rubio said. “I’m not running against Governor Bush, I’m not running against anyone on this stage. I’m running for president because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Barack Obama.”

That sounded far more presidential than Bush’s sniping.

Rubio still looks barely out of his political diapers, and he can sound a little tinny and whiney himself. But with few to no other obvious alternatives, the checks written by the Establishment may soon be bearing his name as the moderate wing of the Party unites to try to stop Donald Trump.

This post also appears in PoliZette.

New Poll: Bush at Four Percent

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush scored just 4 percent of the vote in the latest national GOP survey, a catastrophically low number that is sure to raise grave concern among the establishment donors who have invested millions in his success for the 2016 presidential race.

The poll, released Friday by the Pew Research Center, shows Bush slipping into sixth place behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is at 6 percent. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Bush’s archrival for establishment backing, has twice Jeb’s support, with 8 percent. Rubio is tied with Fiorina, whose tally suggests the steam may have run out of the boomlet that accompanied her strong performance in last month’s GOP debate.


A GOP donor from the energy sector was less than charitable in his assessment of Bush’s campaign this week.

“No one wants another Bush,” said the donor, who asked to remain anonymous. “Hell, when will they get that through their heads?”

Despite numerous hopeful stories in the mean that Donald Trump’s mediocre debate showing had at last inaugurated his decline, the billionaire real estate developer remains well ahead of the field, logging a solid 25 percent, 9 points ahead of Ben Carson’s 16 percent.

Even though he has not yet unleashed his massive advertising war chest against his rivals, Bush — whose 4 percent ties him with “don’t know” — surely did not expect to be where he is at this point. He was long presumed to be the man to beat, but his inability to show much spark or forcefulness on the campaign trail has given Republicans pause.

Meanwhile, he has failed to address the average Republican’s concern about such matters as trade and immigration, leaving the field open for Trump to seize those issues and run away with the base.

Unlike a few other candidates, Bush has so far declined to release his fundraising totals for the third quarter of the year. If those come in lower than expected, the news could further diminish his standing and cause even more donors to consider sending their money to another establishment figure like Rubio.

In the poll, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — strong contenders in the “next to drop out” contest — each received 2 percent. Paul will reportedly reveal that he raised a meager $2.5 million, a tumultuous drop for the $7 million he raised in the second quarter.

A version of the piece first appeared on PoliZette.

Bush: Meet Marco Rubio, the New Obama

Forget Donald Trump. That’s bigger game that has to be taken down later. Right now, Jeb Bush knows he won’t survive long if he doesn’t take care of his Marco Rubio problem, and fast.

In the last 24 hours, Bush has signaled his strategy for dealing with his former protege and Florida “buddy,” who is edging by him in the polls and threatens to start gobbling up fundraising money Bush wants for himself. He’s going to take Rubio call him the worst epithet one Republican can call another: Barack Obama.

What everyone forgets about the sunny-seeming Bushes is that they play to win and they play for keeps. And with well north of $100 million in the bank, Bush stands ready to try to crush anyone in his way. Marco is first.

Rubio, at 9.5 percent, has moved into fourth place in the latest RealClearPolitics average of national polls, a half point ahead of the fifth place Bush.

So, appearing on the MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Thursday, Bush suggested Rubio lacks the experience to be president, just like the 2008 Democratic nominee.

“It’s not known,” Bush said when asked whether Rubio has the “leadership skills” to fix what ails the country. “Barack Obama didn’t end up having them and he won an election based on the belief that people had that he could and he didn’t even try,” Bush said.

Bush asserted that he, unlike fellows like Rubio and Obama, is tested.

“I think I have the leadership skills to fix things and that’s my strength and that’s what I talk about,” Bush said. “Marco was a member of the (Florida) House of Representatives when I was Governor and he followed my lead and I’m proud of that.”

Bush had broached the Marco-is-Obama theme Wednesday during an appearance on CNN.

“Look, we had a president who came in and said the same kind of thing — new and improved, hope and change — and he didn’t have the leadership skills to fix things,” Bush said.

Bush has also been pushing a proposal to dock the pay of lawmakers who miss votes, a plan interpreted as a broadside at Rubio — who misses votes.

“Is his voting record a problem?” a reporter asked Bush of Rubio during an New Hampshire press conference Wednesday.

This piece first appeared in PoliZette.

“I think if you had a dock in pay strategy, you’d probably get more attendance,” Bush said.

You might remember another candidate who stood accused of being frequently AWOL from the various legislatures he belonged to: Barack Obama.

Of course, Bush doesn’t want to seem vindictive while he’s trying to steamroller a man who has been described as his dear pal and protege. “We’re close friends and I admire him greatly,” Mr. Bush said in New Hampshire.

It was left to Wednesday Trump, who was also campaigning in New Hampshire, to inject a note of typically blunt realism into the situation.

“They hate each other,” Trump said. “They hate more than anyone in this room hates their neighbor. It’s political bull(expletive).”

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… Continue Reading

Bush: Yes, It’s an Act of Love

Jeb Bush confirms statement that most immigrants come to the United States out of “an act of love.” > Meantime, Bush continues to step up his attacks on Donald Trump, comparing him to Democrats and accusing him of being “soft of crime.” “Donald Trump Supported Legalizing Illicit Drugs,” states a Bush news release. “Trump Has… Continue Reading

Eric Cantor Endorses Bush

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorsed Jeb Bush for president Thursday evening. “Governor Bush is a true conservative leader with a long-term vision for this country and the practical know-how to implement it,” Cantor said in a statement. This gives the Bush camp a backer with strong ties to the business community who may… Continue Reading

Jeb Gets Edgy at the Border

Jeb Bush arrived on Monday at the Mexican border hoping to reclaim the immigration issue — and the campaign narrative — after two months of domination by fellow GOP presidential contender Donald Trump. The former Florida governor reminded people of his “comprehensive” immigration strategy and showed off his fluency in Spanish. But even as he sought… Continue Reading