It’s fair to suggest that Jeb Bush was wrangled into very likely running for the GOP presidential nomination because the field lacks a certain, shall we say, heft. He’s meant to be the heavyweight — the adult in the clown car who’s above all of the poop-flinging from the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Dr. Ben Carson (R-Snoozeville) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
While Bush hasn’t declared yet, he’s bungled his way into several unforced errors in the last week alone, clearly indicating he’s really just another clown car occupant.
First, Bush thought it’d be a fantastic idea to drop his former president and brother George’s name as his Middle East adviser. This is not unlike appointing Carrot Top as his communications director and a sock puppet as his volunteer coordinator. Sure, I get it. They’re brothers, and as a brother myself, I understand the bond and the mutual trust that goes along with such a relationship. But the one human on this planet who’s least qualified to offer counsel on the Middle East is President Bush. Even Donald Rumsfeld can confidently sleep at night knowing he’s not as incompetent as Bush 43 on the Middle East.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Jeb Bush said out loud and on television that knowing what he knows now, he too would have invaded Iraq in 2003. This is precisely what happens when Bush 43 is advising his brother on the Middle East.
“I would have [authorized the invasion], and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”
One key distinction is that Hillary Clinton would never in a million years say something like that now. Another key distinction is that Clinton, as a then-senator, wasn’t privy to the intelligence the White House was getting at the time. A third key distinction: Clinton only voted for the use of force. She didn’t explicitly support the Bush plan for an invasion, regime change and decade-long occupation with nation-building. And one final distinction, Kelly’s question was, “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” [emphasis mine]
On Tuesday, however, Bush launched a slow and steady backpedal from his answer, ludicrously saying he didn’t understand Megyn Kelly’s question in the first place.
“I interpreted the question wrong, I guess,” Bush said, referring to his interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. “I don’t know what that decision would have been — that’s a hypothetical. Simple fact is, mistakes were made.”
It’s a salient and appropriate question given how — to repeat — George W. Bush is advising him on Middle East policy. By the way, the word should be “wrongly” or “incorrectly.” Is it too much to ask that our presidents know how to speak correct English, especially since the Republican Party is so crazy about making English our official language?
But what’s been overlooked so far this week was a Jeb Bush commencement speech Michael Luciano covered here at The Daily Banter. Long story short, Bush went full Mike Pence — full Ted Cruz on same-sex marriage. I guess that makes sense since he was speaking at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University where Cruz delivered his campaign announcement speech. So, yes, Bush jumped into the whole “religious freedom” nonsense.
[A]s usual, the present administration is supporting the use of coercive federal power. What should be easy calls, in favor of religious freedom, have instead become an aggressive stance against it. Somebody here is being small-minded and intolerant, and it sure isn’t the nuns, ministers, and laymen and women who ask only to live and practice their faith.
What exactly has the administration done regarding state-level religious freedom laws? Regardless, Bush isn’t just pandering to the conservative base, he’s pandering to the far-right talk radio fundamentalist whackadoodle wing of the party. The heavyweight. The adult in the room.
The fact is, there is no adult in the Republican field. No one with decorum or even a passing acknowledgment of reality or things like basic science. There’s only a gaggle of lightweight Fox News-pandering hacks. The scary thing about this whole clown car metaphor is that it’s a long way to November, 2016, and anything can happen. One of these empty suits could eventually become president. If it happens, and pray it doesn’t — at the very least, can we have a grownup who doesn’t trip over his own tongue?