Jeb Bush & the GOP: The Art Missing the Point

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These people really don’t get it. *sigh*

So remember back in 2012 after another Presidential victory for the Democrats, the RNC tried to put together an autopsy of what went so terribly wrong? Of course you do, because I made fun of them mercilessly blogged about it back then in a post titled The Real GOP Problem. And I say tried because although the report isn’t wholly without merit, they seem to think their major issue was one of messaging which misses the point entirely. From the conclusion of that most ancient post:

They have almost no idea of what the real problems are.  You can talk all you want about being inclusive, but your actual policies say otherwise.  It’s not about talking about inclusion or how your policies are supposed better for women. It’s about actual policy. It’s about actual legislation.  So far, their “best” solutions are all about internal processes (shortening the debate schedule for the primaries) or superficial (let’s get non-white people to be on TV for us) rather than truly embracing modernity.  And until they figure that out, I imagine that their election-year results are going to be more of the same.

Now if you thought The RNC was way off the mark, wait until you get a load of Jeb Bush’s prescription for what ails the Republican Party. His editorial in the Washington Post has some interesting ideas about how the GOP and the current political culture that gave rise to Donald Trump. Jeb! begins:

Call it a tipping point, a time of choosing or testing. Whatever you call it, it is clear that this election will have far-reaching consequences for both the Republican Party and our exceptional country.

While he has no doubt tapped into the anxiety so prevalent in the United States today, I do not believe Donald Trump reflects the principles or inclusive legacy of the Republican Party. And I sincerely hope he doesn’t represent its future.

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OK, the words inclusive and Republican Party used together in a sentence sans irony makes me smirk a little. A lot actually. Because I recently argued that Donald Trump reflects the legacy of the Republican party quite well. But I get it. You don’t need to be Nate Silver to predict the electoral beat-down that’s going to be handed to the Republicans yet again. So the game plan for most of the supposed moderate Republicans is to distance themselves and the party from its nominee. This is, however, something of a Herculean task. I mean, how does one separate the party from the guy who most Republicans office holders are still backing despite sexual misconduct allegations (we’re up to 17 separate accusers at last count) and that most Republican primary voters thought should lead the party? Good luck with that, Jeb!

But again, I get it. So let’s take a guess at who Jeb Bush believes is the real problem. Clearly, it can’t be the Republican party, who for years winked and nodded at the racist elements within their party, engaged in conspiratorial nonsense, and now has science denial as a tenet of their party platform. Behold the party of personal responsibility:

As much as I reject Donald Trump as our party leader, he did not create the political culture of the United States on his own.

Eight years of the divisive tactics of President Obama and his allies have undermined Americans’ faith in politics and government to accomplish anything constructive. The president has wielded his power — while often exceeding his authority — to punish his opponents, legislate from the White House and turn agency rulemaking into a weapon for liberal dogma.

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The campaign is in shambles and this migraine is killing me. #thanksobama

Bloody hell!

Folks, I’d like to say that these people have some nerve. But that’s not what this is. After all, on the night of President Obama’s inauguration, top GOP officials from the House and Senate had a little dinner party where they discussed how best to torpedo his Presidency. I can go on and on from the unprecedented levels of obstruction to Mitch McConnell saying that his top priority was making sure that Obama was a one-term President. That’s not nerve though. It’s just fucking stupid. So let me get this straight,  GOP hatches a plan to submarine the Presidency of Barack Obama and make sure they he only gets one term in office, largely fail at both of these craven exercises, but it’s Obama that’s been divisive? Riiiiiiight.

Super-villains are often annoyed when, despite their best laid plans, the hero simply refuses to die.

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Why won’t you die?

And this encapsulates the GOP perfectly. Like Lex Luthor, the GOP is deathly allergic to both self-reflection and taking responsibility. Every time there’s an opportunity to do either of those things, say after a Presidential election where they are blown out, they blame everyone but themselves. After the 2012 election, Romneybot could have taken the high road. He could have looked himself in the mirror and seen what he might have done better as a candidate. Failing that, he might have intuited that the GOP message really didn’t resonate with enough Americans. Sadly, he did none of those things. Instead, he complained that the reason he lost was that Obama basically bribed the electorate with free stuff.  Later his campaign thought that if looked at in a certain way, Romney really won the 2012 election. These fools never learn. Speaking of fools, Jeb! was just getting warmed up:`

In turn, a few in the Republican Party responded by trying to out-polarize the president, making us seem anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker and anti-common-sense.

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Oh Jeb. I can do an entire blog post about every one of those points. But I’ll try to keep this brief. Here’s a few reasons why rational observers might, just might, think the GOP is against everything on that list. The reason you seem anti-immigrant is you guys spend every debate trying to outdo one another with how badly you’ll treat the undocumented. The GOP seems anti-women because despite rhetoric about smaller government and less regulations, the GOP has enacted a record number of abortion restrictions since 2010. To say nothing of threatening a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding. And let us not forget all the GOP statements regarding “Legitimate Rape.” You seem anti-science because despite the overwhelming scientific consensus, you don’t believe in climate change. You seem anti-gay because in addition to being against marriage equality, the 2016 Republican platform includes provisions that endorse gay-conversion therapy. Where do I even begin with anti-worker? The GOP exists on a spectrum that goes from thinking the minimum wage is too high or should be abolished entirely.

Anti-common sense is the best category for all of this. Because despite the GOP having all of these well-worn policy positions, most of which are written into Republican Party platform, this is all somehow the fault of President Obama.

Now I could go on for quite a while refuting every point Jeb Bush makes. However, being that Jeb is about to fade into obscurity, why bother. Also it’s mostly standard GOP boilerplate talking points. It’s filled with phrases like Free enterprise, Moving power outside of Washington D.C, Strong Families, 2 parent households, etc etc…Notice there’s nothing about being inclusive, LGBT rights, gender pay disparity, or workers rights. Big business and social conservatism is where its at. It’s a veritable Mad-Libs of Conservative jargon. But two things really stick out on Jeb GOP prescription.

As Jeb was saying earlier, Trump being at the head of the Republican party is totally President Obama’s fault. Hillary Clinton will continue the hyper-partisanship that led to government gridlock, that led to people losing faith in government, that allowed Trump to wrest control away from the supposed grown-ups in the GOP. She even went so far as to call Republicans her enemies. *gasp* Now why on earth would Clinton consider them her enemies?

Maybe because since the 90’s Clinton has been investigated by Republicans for anything and everything dreamed up by the tin-foil-hat brigade. I’m talking about serious matters of state such as the White House Christmas card lists and who exactly opens up the fan mail for Socks the Cat. Seriously. The Guardian did an article detailing the crazy but my personal favorite was the investigation on whether or not Bill and Hillary murdered Vince Foster and faked his suicide. The 90’s are ancient history though. Most recently, there have been seven separate Benghazi investigations that found not much of anything. Also the investigations were designed, not to ferret out the truth of the tragedy but to knock her polls numbers down. But don’t take my word for it. Just listen to GOP Congressman Kevin McCarthy brag about it on Fox News.

To recap: Obama‘s hyper-partisanship resulted in legislative gridlock, which caused nothing to get done and, consequently, caused fine Americans (mostly in Red States) to lose faith in government as a whole. This led to the rise of Donald Trump. And Hillary, who calls Republicans her enemies for no reason whatsoever, will continue these horrors. Makes no sense whatsoever. But how does Jeb fix all of this? Glad you asked:

First, there is nothing more important than retaining control of Congress and state governorships and legislatures. We need House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and others to retain this important check on the power of the White House and federal bureaucracy, no matter who wins the presidency.

Good grief man! I don’t agree with anything you’ve said. But this is a piss-poor argument. You’ve already ably demonstrated that “check on the power of the White House” means more gridlock. And if Trump’s Rise can be traced back to Democrat in Executive branch and Republicans doing everything in their power to stop them, how on earth does retaining the House and Senate mean anything other than more gridlock under President Clinton? Does that mean that Trump is coming back in four years, or something far worse? The mind boggles.

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It’s like you people are missing the point on purpose — which totally works for me electorally. Though I am starting to wonder why everyone thinks George is the dumb one in the family.



Categories: Politics Fix

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