A Bush is not a Bush is not a Bush

Bill Sizemore_thb

by Bill Sizemore

As the Republican nominee, I attended the 1998 Republican Governor’s Conference in Miami, Florida. It was a pretty small group of us. There were a few U.S. Senators, some movers and shakers in the Party, some big name reporters, and of course most of the Republican governors. George Bush was there and so was his brother Jeb.

I especially remember one evening when three or four of us “guys” were hanging around after a meeting. We were laughing and swapping political war stories like old college chums at a reunion. It was a good time and one I remember well. Bill Owen from Colorado was there. Jeb Bush was there. He was running for governor of Florida. And George was there, too. The thing I remember most about that night is that Jeb Bush was just one of us guys. There was no blue blood air about him. He laughed and joined in the conversation and was in no hurry to leave.

George, on the other hand, stood off from the rest of us. There was a certain aloofness about him. I don’t know why. Maybe he was just shy. Whatever the reason, it was obvious to me that George and his brother Jeb were not much alike. That’s often the way with brothers.

I’m writing this column because I know that a lot of my conservative friends think Jeb Bush is not conservative enough. Most think he’s too moderate because, well, he’s a Bush. But I have to tell you, I’m not so sure they are reading him well. Granted, George senior was pretty stinking moderate. In my opinion his unforgiveable backtracking on his, “Read my lips, no new taxes,” pledge is what gave us eight years of Bill Clinton.

But here’s my point: Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that George the son was more conservative than his dad. Was he conservative enough? Nope. But he was more so than George H.W. Bush, his dad. And I believe a fair assessment of Jeb’s record as governor of Florida will reveal that Jeb was clearly more conservative than his brother George.

Jeb passed school choice and vouchers in Florida. To me, that’s huge. To pass school choice, you have to take on the teachers unions big time. And that takes some serious guts. This I know. Jeb also ended affirmative action in Florida by executive order. That is not exactly the moderate or politically correct thing to do. And he also cut taxes in Florida by something like $16 billion and personally cut $2 billion from the state budget using his line item veto. And after doing all of that, he managed to leave office a popular man.

Yes, there are some red flags when Jeb talks about immigration reform and the whole “path to citizenship” thing. And his support for Common Core is troubling, though he has made it clear that his version completely excludes any federal involvement. Still, these are serious issues and I need to hear more.

This time four years ago I was a Perry supporter – till he fizzled in the debates. Today I would throw my support to Scott Walker. His record fighting and beating public employee unions in Wisconsin is a compelling one. Yet if I were a betting man, I would say the odds of winning the 2016 nomination are heavily in Jeb Bush’s favor. Jeb may be his own man. He may be more conservative than his dad and brother, but the Bush political machine will still go to work for him. And it is an undeniably formidable machine.

To put this all into perspective I ask you this: If today with a wave of your hand you could replace Barack Obama with Jeb Bush, would you do it? Would there not be an entirely different feel about this country, at home and in the world, if right now we had Jeb Bush at the helm instead of Barack Obama? If it comes down to Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton, and it probably will, I will not have to hold my nose to vote for that guy I met in Florida some 17 years ago. We could do a lot worse.

Jeb Bush is not his dad and he’s not his brother. And he’s not a Bob Dole or a John McCain either. So if my guy Scott Walker or one of the other staunch conservatives doesn’t get the nomination, I will have no problem getting behind Jeb. He may very well be our best bet.

  • Dick Winningstad

    Good points. My money is going to Gov. Walker. But Gov. Bush would be a much better choice than any Dem on the horizon.

  • IAmCoyote

    Bill your piece is borderline materially false. It’s great when you get to pick and choose your own facts to fit your narrative. Oh it’s easy to sit around and say “so and so believes this cause he said that so I support him, blah blah blah.” And Bill if you want to play that game then go right ahead. But you will be called out for being misleading and your candor will be questioned.

    What you say as a candidate is one thing. What you do as a governor is one thing. However running for President is much much more complex and is obviously above your paygrade.

    Running for President means you are bringing in a team of advisors. People you trust to run huge departments on your behalf. There is so much going on that there is no way you can make a smidgeon amount of the decisions, and those decisions have to be left up to others. (Case in point right now look at Hillary Clinton as SecState…)

    So that means I care less about what you “Say” you believe or what you did with some small department you ran as governor. I want to know who you are bringing around you. Those people are what is most important to running the ship known as the U.S.A. I know, this may be foreign to you Bill, but the Presidency really does require the man to pick managers to make decisions.

    Now as such I want to know who Jeb Bush is bringing around him. And guess what? He is bringing Bush people back around him.


    So the third worst President in the history of our nation (GW, behind Obama and Carter), who’s economic policy was adopted by the current President, would then have his same advisers advising Jeb.

    Nope… No thanks. I’d be an undervote. Again.

    • IAmCoyote

      Jeb IS his brother when you look at those he has brought around him. He has around him people who at their very core, believe in capitulating to move forward.

      Walker, Rand Paul, Jindal have all been willing to take difficult positions against the torrents that blow against them. I may not agree with them on everything but I do not doubt their constitution.

      Jeb is like Gordon Smith. Look you in the face, make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and tell you what you need to hear. Then turn right around the next day and actually DO the complete opposite.

      Funny thing is Bill, you describe your experience with Jeb just the same way most people describe their experiences with Sen. Gordon Smith. Made you feel so comfortable at the time.

      Jeb is just like McCain, Romney etc…

      GW won because people THOUGHT he was more conservative than his Dad. His Dad won the first time because people THOUGHT he was an extension of Reagan.

      Let’s not forget that GW had a primary challenge for his second term. Two years into his Presidency he made a massive shift to the left and his economic team was adopted by Obama.

      And that same pool of advisers is what Jeb is drawing on now yet SAYING something different out on the trail.

      We’ve seen this play before.

      yip yip

  • Bob Clark

    Thanks for the perspective, Bill. I am rather skeptical of Jeb Bush’s conservative credentials and presentation. But I would replace Obama in a heart beat with Jeb Bush. U.S foreign policy for the last six years has been adrift, but maybe more appropriately said it has been adrift since 9-11. Jeb’s brother and much of the country spent a couple of years “finding our legs” in the aftermath of 9-11. We decided to employ blunt force without a lot of finesse without a lot of global strategy. Then the country fell for the flowery, pixie dust “soft-in-the-head” appeasement speeches/strategy of Obama.

    Maybe Jeb can find the middle between blunt force and appeasement, a sort of equilibrium after the 9-11 induced vacillations. This would be extremely important to most every citizen. The federal government’s number one priority should be national security.

    Not sure how Scott Walker would do on the national security element. Maybe Walker is more like the modern day version of Calvin Coolidge, but the priority of national security is much higher now than when Coolidge was president. So, I can look favorably at both Jeb Bush and Walker currently, as both have significant strengths currently missing in the U.S Executive branch.

    • guest

      Has not a secular DNC morphed as a concierge for a New World Order – and utilizing mental midgets in ISIL as useful pawns to clear their Appian way with antichrist beheadings offsetting Judeo Christianity?
      Wake up In God We Trust Americans and America! !

  • CherryAnn1000

    Bill, please, just go away. If you think brother Jeb is conservative, you need to do a little more probing, my friend. None of the Bushes are truly conservative, and Jeb is the least conservative of all. A choice between Obama and Jeb? I wouldn’t vote for either; I’d find someone to write in, like Scott Walker or Ted Cruz. You’ve had your day, Bill, and it wasn’t much. So, please, again, I ask you, just go away.

    • Eric Blair

      LOL.. so, because Bill has a different take on Jeb Bush than you do, he needs to go away? Are you that afraid of differing opinions? Do you think you, alone, get to decide what a real conservative is? It is one thing to disagree.. and make a case that Jeb Bush isn’t that conservative. But actively encourage someone to leave the discussion? Because you don’t like what they say? Seems kinda totalitarian in sentiment to me.
      LOL.. you haven’t even asked me to go away, and I’m a far lefty.

      Don’t you think this site would be really, really boring if only people who agree with you were encouraged/allowed to post? Or perhaps you’re comfortable with an echo chamber.

  • GObill sizemore

    In my heart I am a purist and want the perfect candidate who agrees with me on everything. It is hard to settle for an 80 percenter. Purists, however, almost never get to decide who our next president will be. They either abstain or vote third party and let everyone else make the real decision. I have learned to resist that temptation, though I confess that it is not always easy. At some point, however, we have to accept the fact that the infighting for this election is over and then decide between the two who are left. And as I more or less said above, if my guy isn’t there when the primaries are over, I will vote for the most conservative of the two who are.