Monday, December 15, 2014

As President, Jeb Bush would govern like LBJ? Not a chance … by gimleteye

Just in case you missed the news: Jeb! and advisors have been busy inoculating his pending candidacy for president against media scrutiny by releasing emails and documents related to his terms as governor.  I have used the exclamation point appendage to Jeb's name ever since his 1998 campaign came up with car bumper stickers with the logo. What you get with Jeb is more surprising than it seems. And not in a good way.

On the weekend, Politico ran a trenchant piece about Jeb's financial affairs, "JEB BUSH, ‘private equity mogul’: chairs offshore private-equity fund w/ Chinese investors". From Jeb's point of view: these stories are about letting the media feast itself into a coma on his past before the campaign swings into gear.

What's been bugging me more -- more than the "life of a private equity mogul"where there is no evidence of qualifications beyond cronyism -- is Jeb's pronouncement that he would "govern like LBJ as President".
Now I came of age politically speaking in the Johnson presidency, so I know something about LBJ. Plus, like Jeb!, I've read the books. (Robert Caro's magnificent biographies of Johnson set the standard by any measure.)

The only character trait common to Lyndon Johnson and Jeb Bush is the inclination to amass private wealth based on connections. But "governing"? Stop the presses.

Jeb Bush won exactly two elections for public office. Lyndon Johnson's entire life was spent scraping; from local county elections (he stole his first), through the state house in Texas, to Congress where his gargantuan skill at compromise and bargaining was sharpened to a razor edge at the seat of masters. Jeb?

Jeb, who won the race for Florida governor in 1998 after losing unexpectedly four years earlier, governed by fiat. Jeb governed with a dull hammer.

His relations with the minority party were notoriously poor. Compromise? Bargaining? Admiring the "sausage making" process of legislation? Find one example in the Jeb Bush record.

To imagine Jeb reading Caro, putting the book on his bedside table and ruminating about a presidential style of governance modeled after LBJ is plain ludicrous.

Based on his record, the notion of Jeb aspiring to Johnson's mastery from the White House, no less, is deeply narcissistic.

Jeb! does have ideas of his own. Most of them come out of conservative think tanks like the Heartland Institute that advance -- first and foremost --  deep corporate agendas from whence cometh their help. Of Jeb Bush as governor, one very close observer quipped: the breadth of his "policy monkishness" is "a mile wide and an inch deep."

There is no comparison with the achievement of Lyndon Johnson, who grabbed institutionalized racism in America and drowned it in the bathtub. (LBJ's greatest failure was maintaining the pretext of the Domino Theory to continue the war in Vietnam.) The only comparison to Jeb that sticks is deploying political advantage for personal gain. That's how Johnson, a poor kid from west Texas, became a multimillionaire. He had a lifelong antagonism with the Kennedys, and they, with him, because he thought they were born on third base but behaved like they had hit a triple.

There is one Jeb Bush achievement though, where Lyndon Johnson would have been impressed had he been alive at the time: the stealing of Florida in the 2000 presidential election that propelled George W. Bush to the White House. That political accomplishment would have brought a blush to Lyndon Johnson's cheeks.

The bottom line: as governor of Florida Jeb Bush was famous for "my way or the highway" style of governance. No dissent and no ray of sunshine emanated from Jeb's executive office. To the contrary. If Jeb runs for president, and markets his candidacy as someone who has mastered the craft and tactics of political compromise like LBJ, get ready for push back.

Jeb Bush: I Would Govern Like LBJ as President
Breitbart ^ | Tony Lee
Posted on February 16, 2013 10:09:33 AM EST by JohnPDuncan

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said he would strive to be like Lyndon Johnson, the Democrat famous for expanding the U.S. welfare state through the "Great Society," if he were elected president.

According to the Miami Herald, Bush made those comments Wednesday night in San Antonio, Florida at Saint Leo University, while speaking about education, immigration, and energy policy.

Bush did not address Johnson's Great Society and War on Poverty programs, about which Ronald Reagan once famously quipped, "We had a war on poverty, and poverty won."

Instead, he was referencing Johnson's mastery of the so-called sausage-making process in Congress.

He vowed to approach the presidency as "master of the Senate," as biographer Robert Caro described Johnson.

“He went and he cajoled, he begged, he threatened, he loved, he hugged, he did what leaders do, which is they personally get engaged to make something happen,’’ Bush said of Johnson. Bush cited Caro's latest book about Johnson, The Passage of Power, which covers the first part of Johnson's presidency.


Anonymous said...

I remember seeing you at the Everglades Coalition conference when JEB was speaker. You were dawning him!

Anonymous said...

Fawning - not dawning.

Gimleteye said...

Not sure what that means. But we did have a verbal moment where he was condescending and dismissive, just like the leadership of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in other issues I was involved with at the time.

Anonymous said...

Jeb is no LBJ.

Anonymous said...

it is unbelievable to me that he has gone from arch conservative to liberal progressive. Amazing.

Kel said...

To the last anon, if Charlie Crist can do it, why can't Jeb?

Anonymous said...

It means that you were sucking up to him BIG time!

Anonymous said...

John Ellis Bush will be a wonderful POTUS!

Anonymous said...

Fuck it, it doesn't matter anymore, who needs a republic when we can have a monarchy.

Geniusofdespair said...

I can assure you Gimleteye would never -- suck up to Jeb. He won't suck up to anyone in politics, maybe Dan Gelber but I can't think of anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Research, "The 6 Kinkiest U.S. Presidents."

Anonymous said...

W. Bush began his campaign with the faux run to the middle with the totally false 'Compassionate Conservative' mantra that was totally false.

JEB! is doing the same with this 'Got LBJ' mantra.

We have seen this fraud before....HELLLOOOOO...wake up.

Anonymous said...

They all try to run from the middle because that is where most voters are. However, as soon as they are elected they run to the extreme end of their respective parties. But I think Hillary will remain at the center because she has been there most of her life.

Water Goddess said...

ONE BILLION TO LEHMAN all from Florida pension money. ACCELR8 what a joke. We lost 96000 acres of wetlands under shrub 2. The man is a menace. His brother bankrupted America and Jeb destroyed Florida.

Anonymous said...

He would govern like his dad and brother.

Anonymous said...

I just heard that this fat, crooked, hypocrite intends to run for President of the US. I’m sure he made the decision the moment Governor Crazy Eyes was re-elected, and a majority of states went to Republican hands. He knows how easy it is to “elect a President” when you are the governor because HE DID IT. I bet he thinks he can pull that one again courtesy of the stupid voters of this repulsive country, who voted them into office. We’ll just have to trust how much the name Bush stinks to every sensible person, and it sure does! Let me remind him of the message that David Letterman sent out a few nights ago, when he was trying to figure out what Jeb’s initials stand for: JEEZ! ENOUGH BUSHES!