Jeb Bush is worried about the Republican Party, and The Hill is reporting on some of his thoughts on the primary campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination. Among everything else Bush said, there were a few nuggets that should be subjected to scrutiny, as it is increasingly clear that the former Florida governor has parted company with the conservative base of the party. This is a troubling development in my book, because it raises questions about the continued narrative that Bush would be the favored outcome of a brokered convention. He seems to think that the current crop of GOP contenders are appealing unnecessarily to fear, but I suppose if you live in the Jeb Bush bubble, there’s nothing for anybody to fear. We’re steaming toward catastrophe, and he will have a lifeboat, but the rest of we passengers on the Titanic know that Captain Obama is steering directly for the iceberg.
“I used to be a conservative, and I watch these debates and I’m wondering — I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective, and that’s kind of where we are,” said Bush, according to Fox News. “I think it changes when we get to the general election. I hope.”
I honestly don’t know what Bush is talking about. He is being intentionally vague, but I noticed this much: Mr. Bush isn’t a conservative, and he seems to be hinting that the party is moving to the right. It’s not. The party has moved slightly leftward, but the problem is that Mr. Bush has been on the leading edge of that slide, and in fact, it’s probably accurate to say he’s been helping to pull it in that direction. I’m not one of those who bought into the myth that George W. Bush was more conservative than his father, George H.W. Bush, or that Jeb is more conservative than either of these. You get an indication of this when you look at his remarks on education, that he made to the National Center for Policy Analysis luncheon in Dallas on Thursday, suggesting he doesn’t like the talk of eliminating the Federal Department of Education:
Mr. Bush said, “I’d like to hear more about how important it is that we create a high growth economy where there’s more prosperity and job creation, that we transform our education system. And what generally the questions are, what do you think the federal role is? They answer that, that’s fine. The policy is how do you transform the education system.”
He also cautioned against moving too far to the right:
“I think it’s important for the candidates to recognize though they have to appeal to primary voters, and not turn off independent voters that will be part of a winning coalition.”
I don’t care what Mr. Bush has to say. Let me say this one last time: No more Bushes. I am finished with the Bush clan, and the reason is simple: They pose as conservatives, but they have shown they are moderates at best, and I’m simply not interested in any more of their governance. Everything his brother George W. Bush did on the domestic front led to the awful outcome of losing the House in 2006. You’re free to disagree, but I can state with certainty that there’s absolutely no chance I will ever vote for another member of the Bush family. I don’t believe in political dynasties in America, as a matter of principle, just as I don’t believe in monarchies.
All of this highlights a serious problem in the Republican party, that most readers here will have noticed long ago: The moderate wing of the party continues to drag us leftward, to the extent that in some ways, many of the presumed establishment leaders of our party frequently have more in common with the Democrats. Of course, in the end, Governor Bush went on to explain how he believes there will be no brokered convention, and that the nominee will come from those already in the race, stipulating that there’s no way he’d be the nominee by such a process. (Video courtesy CBS 11 DFW)
I don’t see anything wrong with suggesting that the Federal Department of Education should be eliminated. I can’t find the word “education” anywhere in our Federal constitution, so I don’t know where that authority arises, or why the Federal government has become involved. Conservatism would not have created a Federal Department of Education, but apparently Jeb Bush would have done so, and the evidence may be his own brother’s conduct in creating the No Child Left Behind program. This serves to demonstrate that Jeb Bush is not so conservative as he thought, but the important nugget for us is to understand that fact even if Mr. Bush doesn’t.
Bush contends that the candidates may be moving “too far to the right,” but for my tastes, they could move a good deal more. Still, I’m less interested in temporary positions that will be dropped when the candidate is chosen. That’s what the party rightly fears from the likes of Mitt Romney, or from any more of the Bushes, because we’ve been there before. The truth is that the party has been sliding left for a long time, and that which Jeb Bush considers “conservative” is to the left of Franklin Roosevelt in most important ways. I realize the party will not be reformed overnight, and I know with people like Mitt Romney leading the drive, it’s likely to get a good deal worse before it gets any better, but I’m not interested in any more talk about moderation. We’ve moderated ourselves directly off the left edge of the map. Mr. Bush may not be fearful, but conservatives know better, because what we fear isn’t a particular event, but the loss of our prosperity and the character of the country upon which it had been based.