It’s barbecue time. When you find yourself gathered with family and friends, sharing a glass of something cool and refreshing, someone is bound to proclaim that, as a moderate Republican, Jeb Bush is an acceptable alternative to the Democrats. After all, he supports the Common Core standards, and would like to pass some sort of immigration reform. They read that Bush is a moderate in the paper, or heard it on the news, so it must be true, right?
Well, no. Here’s why:
Bush supported the Iraq War. Bush was in the news this week, back-pedaling from a statement he made on Fox News in which he said that had he been president in 2003, he would have invaded Iraq. But don’t be fooled by his claim of having misunderstood the question. Jeb Bush was and still is ideologically in line with his brother’s zealously hawkish foreign policy team (some of whom are on a list of his advisors for his presidential run). In the late ‘ 90s Jeb helped found the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) that called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Founding members included Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Remember them?
Jeb Bush is against raising the federal minimum wage, and has questioned the need for national standards at all. He argued at a campaign stop in South Carolina in March that “We need to leave it to the private sector. … I think state minimum wages are fine. The federal government shouldn’t be doing this.” He went on, “The federal government doing this will make it harder and harder for the first rung of the ladder to be reached, particularly for young people, particularly for people that have less education.”
Bush doesn’t believe that mankind is responsible for global warming. Bush says he is a “skeptic” on the idea that global warming is caused by human activities, and says that the scientific assessment is not “unanimous.”
He opposes Obamacare. He calls the Affordable Care Act a “job killer.”
He would approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. He says that approving it is a “no-brainer.”
He is anti-abortion. As governor, he was proud of passing restrictions on abortion rights, including regulating abortion facilities, because he wanted “to create a culture of life in our state.” In early May, an advisor declared that Bush advocated de-funding Planned Parenthood.
Jeb “Stand Your Ground” Bush loves the NRA. “I will match my record against anyone else when it comes to support and defense of the Second Amendment,” Bush said at the National Rifle Association convention last April. According to a story in USA Today, Bush’s speech included a swipe at President Obama over gun rights: “Why don’t you focus more on keeping weapons out of the hands of Islamic terrorists and less on keeping them out of the hands of law abiding Americans?,” he said.
For Bush, education reform has been fueled by corporate profits. Bush’s much-hyped education record in Florida has had mixed results, according to this in-depth story in The New Yorker. It also reveals that it is deeply entwined with helping his corporate backers make lots and lots and lots of money. As Watergate taught us, the best way to assess a politician’s true colors is to follow the money.
A good summary of Governor Bush’s record can be found in this Salon interview with University of Northern Florida professor Matthew Corrigan, who wrote a book on Governor Bush called “Conservative Hurricane: How Jeb Bush Remade Florida.” Here’s a revealing quote from the Q and A:
“While he was governor, [Bush] called himself probably the most pro-life governor of modern times; he had the Terri Schiavo intervention. He was very strong on gun rights; ‘stand your ground’ was passed under his time as governor. He started a faith-based prison in which prisoners — who, I believe, volunteered and were put through religious counseling as a final step toward rehabilitation. Oh, and of course he ended affirmative action by executive order, in a very controversial way, on a state level. If you take all that, that’s a fairly robust social and cultural agenda.”