Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jeb Bush's "W Problem" Persists

Some accuse Hillary Clinton of having a sense of entitlement and a coronation for the presidential candidate nomination for her party.  Perhaps they have her confused with Jeb "Jebbie" Bush who seems to have a major sense of entitlement problem and an exemption from having to face the consequences of all of the disasters his feckless brother brought on America.  You know, things like admitting that his brother set the stage for the rise of ISIS and the continuing chaos in the Middle East.  Try as Jebbie might to blame the Obama administration for the current state of affairs, the facts all track back to the Chimperator's regime and a war that was launched on the basis of what are now known to have been deliberate lies.  Republicans are trying to tarnish Hillary Clinton on her vote for war, but her response really only needs to be that she, like much of the nation, was duped by Bush/Cheney lies.  A piece in the New York Times looks at Jebbie's ongoing "W problem."  Here are highlights:
A young woman berated Jeb Bush in Reno, Nev., on Wednesday for his brother’s bungled war in Iraq, saying it had spawned the group calling itself the Islamic State. “Your brother created ISIS,” she declared. Mr. Bush said he “respectfully” disagreed.

A middle-aged man pressed Mr. Bush to answer whether he would have supported the 2003 Iraqi invasion given the intelligence known today. Mr. Bush acknowledged mistakes but sprinkled in praise. “I give him credit,” he said of his brother, for the 2007 troop surge.

Mr. Bush began exploring a presidential run by declaring that he would be his own man. But he is struggling to navigate his relationship with George W. Bush and his legacy. He has fumbled the most basic, predictable questions about the Iraq war — while behind the scenes, he has assured skeptical conservatives that he draws wisdom and important counsel from the former president.

[I]t also reflects Mr. Bush’s challenge in trying to deal with a fractured electorate in which some conservatives cling to the former president, but he remains a focus of anger across much of the rest of the political spectrum.

Mr. Bush is being confronted with a distressing realization: He may now need to lean on his brother to survive the Republican primary, despite the damage that could do to Mr. Bush in a general election.  In private conversations, Mr. Bush’s allies have often taken note that his brother’s approval ratings among likely primary and caucus voters are sky high.  Quinnipiac University survey this month showed George W. Bush’s favorability at 81 percent among likely Republican caucusgoers in Iowa. People familiar with Republican polling in South Carolina say the former president’s numbers are similarly strong among primary voters there.

In both states, conservative Christians, who were among the most devoted members of George W. Bush’s coalition in 2000, are major factors. Jeb Bush, whose positions on immigration reform, education standards and other issues have cost him, could benefit from his brother’s reflected glow with evangelicals.

Matthew Dowd, a strategist who worked on George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign, warned that Mr. Bush’s strong approval ratings do not translate into voters wanting to see his third term in office.
“And I think that’s the quandary that Jeb’s now got himself in.

[E]ven as Mr. Bush seeks to present a forward-looking vision, he can count on having to answer questions about — if not answer for — his brother’s two terms in office. 

If he is successful in winning the Republican nomination, Mr. Bush would probably be pressed on the issue of same-sex marriage — which his brother used as a wedge issue to boost conservative voter turnout in his 2004 re-election campaign. He could also face revived complaints about how his brother’s administration responded to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

But no issue is as fraught for Mr. Bush as the Iraq war. During a television interview this week, Mr. Bush suggested that he still supported invading Iraq even with hindsight knowledge about intelligence failures. He later said he had misunderstood an interviewer’s question, but refused to answer it, saying it was a “hypothetical.” On Wednesday, he said such hypotheticals were insensitive to the families of fallen soldiers in the war.

Some of Mr. Bush’s allies complain that he is in a no-win situation.

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