It wasn’t that long ago that the former Governor of Florida was talked about as a possible Senate candidate. While he eventually ruled that option out, it appears that Jeb Bush is looking to become a more prominent spokesman on the national stage:
(CNN) – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told an interviewer that he could not say whether or not President Barack Obama is a socialist, and that the president would not have been elected if he had been honest with Americans about his agenda.
Bush would not answer the question of whether he agreed with the assessment of some congressional Republicans that the president is a socialist. “I don’t know. Define socialism for me,” he told Esquire magazine. “It’s a word… I believe he’s a collectivist. He believes that through collective action, through government, you can solve more problems.” He added that he believed the word “socialism” was a pejorative, and “didn’t help” the GOP make its case.
The brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush dismissed the idea that his party’s policies were unpopular with most Americans. “I don’t think there’s any seismic shift. The Democrats have won on tactics,” he said. “Barack Obama would not have gotten elected if he’d let us in on his secret plan prior to the election,” he said, pointing to the president’s economic agenda and energy proposals.
On a positive note, Bush does seem to be in opposition to the anti-intellectualism epitomized by the Palin/Wurzelbacher wing of the GOP:
Told that Joe the Plumber had briefed congressional Republicans on Gaza, Bush launched into a defense of intellectualism. “I think it’s okay to have a deeper understanding of things. I think it’s okay to talk in three-syllable words. The world we’re living in is incredibly complex,” he told the magazine. “And simplifying things to the point where you’re misunderstanding where we are as a nation isn’t going to help people overcome their fears or give them hope that they can achieve great things. I don’t get inspired by shameless populism.””
Of course that doesn’t mean he won’t pander to shameless populism when it’s politically necessary:
Bush called conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh “a hugely important force for the conservative movement,” but added that he was “more interested in elected officials, how they behave.”
“I feel happy for Rush to get all this attention. He’s one part of a mosaic of people and thought in the conservative movement,” he said. “I don’t think you can discount his importance. At the same time, he’s not an elected official, so I think he has a different responsibility.”
Yes, as I’ve said before, he’s a businessman whose job is to make obscene profits. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a reason why he shouldn’t be taken seriously as a political kingmaker, and why politicians shouldn’t feel obligated to supplicate themselves to him.
That said, Bush goes on to deny that he has Presidential ambitions, either in 2012 or beyond, but one can’t help but think that it’s on his mind. Notwithstanding the dynastic objections I’ve noted in the past, and the fact that W’s disastrous Administration probably means that anyone named “Bush” won’t be running for President for quite some time, I’ve always wondered if America may have elected the wrong Bush brother in 2000.