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Posted by seafan in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Jul 07th 2008, 08:34 AM
When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe

By Joy-Ann Reid, Salon
October 5, 2002


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.

Since then, Bush has had two other public stumbles, including his 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'.

While the latest gaffe certainly isn't a bigger story than, say, the scandalous inability of the state to hold a clean, well-run election, the story does call into question the judgment of the man who wants a second term as governor in a state with sizable minority and gay-and-lesbian populations. Bush's record on social issues isn't exactly stellar: His nominee to head the state's troubled child welfare agency signed onto a treatise calling for more corporal punishment of children and the consignment of women to the home. And the glaring disconnect between his words and the warm and fuzzy image he portrays in public is simply impossible to ignore.

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.

"It looks like the people of San Francisco are an endangered species, which may not be a bad thing," Bush said during the meeting Wednesday. "That's probably good news for the country.", Jeb Bush, November 13, 2003 (AP story)

Bush has been amused by California before. In mid-August, the topic was Gary Coleman, the former child actor who jumped into the California gubernatorial recall race.

"I'm glad that Gary Coleman lives in California," Bush said. "A guy like me that believes in limited government probably would have a tough time against a fellow like that because he probably symbolizes smaller government."

Coleman took the comment in stride.

"I don't know about Jeb Bush," he said. "But if I become governor, I will represent the little guys, the people that big people tend to step on when they want to get somewhere."

AP, November 13, 2003

After 8 miserable, back-biting years in Florida under Jeb's dictatorship, to say that Jeb is "the smart one" is not accurate.

Jeb isn't smart in the intellectual sense. He hides that shortcoming by fondling a cunning and devious nature.

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