It seems that Jeb Bush is carrying on his brother’s legacy of blunders and faux pas. A week ago today, June 4, the former Florida governor confirmed that he would make a bid for the 2016 presidency. Mr. Bush is to announce his candidacy on June 15. Despite the fact that he is not officially in the presidential race yet, Bush already has a growing collection of strikes against him.
Perhaps his most notable blunder thus far is the clumsy way he handled the media regarding his stance on the Iraq war. In May, the presidential hopeful seemingly waffled back and forth about whether he would have invaded Iraq in 2003 or not. First he answered yes, then he said no and proceeded to attempt to explain his initial answer. In doing so, he effectively dug himself deeper into a ditch.
A fair assessment of the former governor’s statements, if they are to be believed, reveal that he did not listen to the wording of the initial question when it was asked. He argued that he heard, “Knowing what we knew then, would you have authorized the invasion of Iraq?” to which he answered “Yes.” The question that was asked, however, was precisely, “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?“ Bush’s subsequent clumsy attempts to explain his faulty listening skills became interpreted by the media as dishonest and flip-flopping on the issue.
A video compilation by CNN of the different occasions of these seemingly contradictory statements reveals a deceptive attempt by the media to catch the ex-governor in self-contradictions by extracting his words from their context. However, while Bush may not demonstrably be guilty of self-contradiction and deliberate deception in this case, he certainly has displayed incompetence in his handling of the press, the media and inarticulations and carelessness in his self-expression, which should raise a red flag among voters.
Another incident that demonstrates that Jeb Bush is carrying on his brother’s legacy unfolded in May when the former governor stated that his top adviser on Israel-US policy is his older brother, George W. Bush. The statement that he relies on his brother in matters of policy in the Middle East is a red flag, while his mistake lies in the fact that he revealed this at the same time that he has been attempting to publicly establish himself as “his own man” in order to further distinguish himself from George W. and George Sr., who had unpopular foreign policies in the Middle East.
The presidential hopeful made a third, inexplicable blunder when he filled in his ethnicity as “Hispanic” on his voter registration form in 2009. Aside from this being a felony, it certainly cannot sit well with staunch anti-immigration republicans, who are already at odds with the former governor over his unusual stance on immigration.
The last and perhaps most disturbing viewpoint expressed by Bush is his 1995 assertion that unwed mothers should be publicly shamed. The former Florida governor made good on his stance on this issue when, as Governor of Florida, he failed to veto the “Scarlet Letter” law requiring unwed mothers who wanted to put their child up for adoption to publish their sexual histories in a newspaper if they could not identify the father. He later repealed the law after it was ruled unconstitutional.
Whether Bush’s blunders and faux-pas thus far have resulted from intentional dishonesty and deception or from the trademark incompetence and buffoonery of his older brother remains unknown, however neither of these options are desirable. The fact that Jeb Bush is already carrying on his brother’s legacy of blundering incompetence is a source of concern for many American voters.
By Lucia Ray
CNN: Jeb Bush again changes Iraq answer
The Washington Post: One of Jeb Bush’s Top Advisers on Israel: George W. Bush
Reuters: Jeb Bush Addresses Family Legacy: ‘I’m my own man’
Huffington Post: Jeb Bush in 1995: Unwed Mothers Should Be Publicly Shamed
Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License