^ John Ellis Bush (“Jeb”) and family : he must run, and for very serious reasons in the national interest
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Events of the past week have made it clear, were there any doubt, that the national Republican party is not fit to govern anything. For that reason alone, John Ellis Bush — familiarly known as “Jeb” — must run or President and must win the GOP nomination.
He must run for the same reasons that Charlie Baker had almost a duty to run for Governor of Massachusetts : to make the GOP useful again, render its voice realistic, win it away from the dilettantes, fanatics, and cynical manipulators who have glued the party to interests that despise the national consensus and look down upon most of its people.
We forget now just how antithetical the Massachusetts GOP was, barely a yerar ago, to the vast majority of our state’s voters. The party platform rejected values dear to almost 80 percent of Massachsetts voters — made second class citizens of many. So rejectionist was the platform that the party chair, Kirsten Hughes, felt compelled to oppose it publicly. At the same time Baker chose as his running mate a person whose most recent political news was her being guest of honor at a Tea Party fest at which the odious (former congressman) Allen West was keynote speaker.
As it turned out, of course, baker ran the boldest campaign of outreach to everyone that we’ve seen from a GOP candidate since maybe the 1970s. On the issues, he embraced positions opposite to the party platform and to the major interest gtroups involved in party affairs. Baker doubled down on every one of those refotrm positions as the campaign devloped, and his running mate, Karyn Polito, embraced them too and articulated them even bolder, in some cases, than Baker.
Baker and Polito campaigned to the voters — not to the party. they won, and sure enough, the party activists have come aboard — and how ! — even as Baker and Polito take their social progressivism and reform positions farther and farther into policy objectives associated almost exclusively with Democrats, even as they add to their policy prescriptions the managerial care and money stewardship that the traditional GOP stood for and which made it a party people wanted to vote for.
This is why John Ellis Bush must run for President and how he should do it. He only, of all the likely GOP candidates, seems to understand that the GOP has tied itself to issues unpopular with voters un-useful to the future, divisive, exclusionary, pessimistic.
This was so even before the now infamous Letter to Iran was written and sent, signed by 47 of the Senate’s 54 GOP members.
The entire story of that letter stupefies. How did a rookie Senator, Tom Cotton, barely two months in office, get 47 Senators to sign it ? Withoiut any GOP caucus discussion of its import ? In what way did this letter not undercut whatever opportunity GOP Senatotrs had of overriding a Presidential veto of sanctions legislation ?
Beyond those questions stands an even deeper disgrace. How came it that the GOP in Congress became campiagners for Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces an election on Tuesday ? Because it was Netanyahu, the campaigner, who spoke to Congress. There he attacked vehemently the agreement that America (and five other, not minor nation) are close to reaching with Iran. On what fool mission did Congress deliver our national negotiation into the mouth of another nation’s leader — and one who, at that, may well be beaten for re-election ? How — why ? — did our Congress allow itself to adopt Netanyahu’s doomsday outlook ? Is not our Congress ours, not Israel’s ?
America’s elected officials should be making America’s foreign policy, based on America’s interests. These may coincide with *Israel’s, and often do ; but they might also differ. There is much in Netanyahu’s terms as Prime Minister that has shoved Israel down slippery slopes we cannot like. I doubt we would sign on to the tribal, exclusionist legislation he is now pushing, nor should we. The settler movement — which Netanyahu champions — has made peace between Israel and the Palestinians all but impossible. is that in our interest ? i doubt it. Nor should our nation share his apocalyptic view of Iran, much less do so in a letter to Iran at a crucial time in the negotiations being conducted by our President !
It now looks as if Netanyahu will lose on Tuesday; that the Zionist/Labor coalition led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni will win quite handily; and that they will add the Arab list party — representing 20 percent of Israel’s population — to their coalition. How must Herzog and Lipni feel about America knowing that almost half of its Senate worked for their opposition ?
While most GOP candidates for President rushed to sign the Iran letter, John Ellis Bush did not. He stood with the seven GOP Senators who declined Cotton’s gambit.
Bush has said, more than once,that he will not bend his message to the GOP “base” no mtter what. Even before the Cotton letter, that was the wise choice. Now it’s imperative.
He knows it. How can he not ?
Bush — and only Bush — has the name, the reputation, the courage, the maturity (and the donors aboard) to run his own campaign, free of demagoguery, of talk shows, of the entire dark side the national GOP has collapsed down to. If he runs a campaign as bold as was baker’s; if he campaigns to all the voters; if he embraces immigrants — as he has — and issues of income inequality; if he eschews the baleful influence of religionists; if, if, if he does all this and if he then wins the presidency, he can — probably will — remake the GOP. There can be no greater service he can render a nation that needs two forward political parties, not one forward and one backward.
These are a lot of if’s, I’ll grant you. But they’re worth moving from “if” to “:is.’ John Ellis Bush must run, must win the nomination, and — possibly — must win.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere