Sunday, September 03, 2006

The true legacy of Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush is amazingly popular in Florida. To his credit, it can be said that he appears brighter than his dim bulb of an older brother. To that end, it could probably be argued that he is his own man, where his brother is arguably little more than a figurehead who superfically wins over a shallow base incapable of critical thinking with his artificial bravado and folksiness, while a shadow government of ideologues really runs the show.

Of course, if you're a Bush, being your own man has a singular, patrician definition. As the St. Petersburg Times reported in an excellent article entitled "Make the Money and Run," Bush made his way by "trading on the famous family name," thereby "gain[ing] entry to exclusive business ventures courtesy of wealthy Republicans."

From a clearly swooning Wikipedia profile on his popularity (so these stats may be suspect): "Bush is very popular among Cubans in Florida (winning 80% of the Cuban vote in 2002), and popular among non-Cuban Hispanics (56% in 2002, equaling the 56% he won statewide). As a longtime supporter of Israel, Bush also maintains a significant connection to Florida's Jewish voters. He was endorsed in his two winning governor races by a national Jewish publication, and won 44% of the state's Jewish vote in the 2002 governor's race. Many black voters support his focus on public education and parental choice in education, and a number of Black Republican clubs have risen in Florida. In his re-election in 2002, Bush surprised critics by winning the white female vote in the swing-voting battleground of Central Florida's I-4 corridor."

Reportedly, the younger Bush polls at the
90% approval rating among the state's majority Republicans, and while Republican candidates for national office run for cover when Dubya is in town, ads for GOP candidates in Florida's midterms could almost pass for testimonials to Jeb.

So, not surprisingly, there is lot of speculation on a 3rd Bush in the Oval Office. Be assured that a run is in his future, and perhaps the vice spot on a McCain-Bush ticket in 2008.

Things have not gone extremely well for Jeb with the Republican State legislature in Florida this past year. As
Time reported in their recent (moreorless) puff piece on the governor: "The Republican-led Florida legislature recently handed him a string of humiliating defeats."

Jeb the man has some issues on the personal level. Known for his impatience and short fuse for disagreement (an imperial attribute shared with George W.), he has been as guilty at times of "ideological overreach," as Time put it.

We have also been treated to a procession of
family dysfunctionality in the Jeb Camp, from 2 kids with substance abuse problems, to wife Colomba's famous gaffe, when she tried to smugggle in about 40 grand worth of Parisian fashions without paying custom's duties (here's a nasty but funny commentary on the incident, not for the easily offended).

Then there's this:

Jeb's Alleged Affair
Alia Faraj,
"Governor Bush Makes 2 New Agency Appointments,": "Governor Jeb Bush's most controversial appointee has been replaced... Cynthia Henderson who headed the Department of Business and Professional Regulation was today appointed to run the Department of Management Services. In her new role, Henderson will be responsible for working with state technology leaders and overseeing the state's major technology reforms."

Anthony York,
"Jeb Bush denies affair rumors. Florida's governor says stories linking him to a Cabinet secretary are 'an outright lie',": "The whispers linking Bush to Cynthia Henderson, secretary of the Department of Management Services, had reached something of a fever pitch thanks to an unsourced item on MediaWhores Online, followed by items in the Tallahassee Democrat and a cryptic reference to Bush's 'family troubles' in a column by conservative writer Robert Novak. Two other Florida dailies weighed in with stories about the rumor over the weekend."

Sarah Left,
"Jeb Bush,": "Jeb Bush has given his brother's presidency its first hint of scandal by going public to deny an affair. Read our guide to the best sites on the governor of Florida."

"Florida Governor Jeb Bush Denies Fling with former Playboy Bunny,": "Rumors have been flying around lately that link Florida Governor Jeb Bush with former Playboy Bunny and top state employee, Cynthia Henderson. ... The president's younger brother called an impromptu press conference yesterday to dispel rumors that he is having an affair with the head of the state Department of Management Services, Cynthia Henderson. Henderson, a very attractive 40-year-old former Playboy Bunny, also denied the reports when questioned by reporters at a recent bill signing, where both she and Governor Jeb were present. ... Other than the standard ramblings of the liberal press in Florida, there has been no evidence offered to substantiate the claims of infidelity."

Al Martin,
"The Jeb Bush Affair Story That Won't Go Away,": "The Governor did not however specifically address allegations made on the Al Martin Raw Website that he was aware he been videotaped by an FBI surveillance camera at the 2001 Super Bowl held in Tampa. Nor would the Governor address what was raised on Al Martin Raw that in fact Ms. Henderson was seeking money to keep quiet about her affair with the Florida Governor."

"Jeb Bush secures sunshine state," Scroll down to "Family Problems."

Peter Wallsten,
"Jeb Bush's regime showing cracks,": "In the past week, Bush also lost two of his most trusted agency chiefs to resignations - Lottery Director David Griffin and Management Services Secretary Cynthia Henderson. ... Aides say Bush tried to keep Henderson, a controversial but loyal lieutenant, by offering her a reconfigured job, an offer she refused."

But there is one abiding sin that remains the true Jeb Bush legacy, one that should be leveraged with due diligence against him should this man run for the highest public office in the nation. Namely, his subversion of the democratic process in Florida, his willing complicity in the disenfranchisement of thousands of (ostensibly Democratic) voters to insure that his idiot brother could ascend to the presidency. For that, and that alone, Jeb, we will never forgive you.

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