Spend Jeb Bush’s Money!

 

shutterstock_256517059Am I the only Ricochet member outraged that the Republican Party big shots blew $100 million on Jeb Bush? A year ago, I could have told anyone who asked the result of attempting to foist another Bush on an electorate still walloped by the last: Zilch. One hundred million dollars turned into the kind of floating dust that can only be seen when it’s hit by direct sunlight. Are we all so rich that the waste of tens of millions of dollars is no big deal to us? Where is the outrage (I know, I know, a rhetorical question)? I don’t even mean to pick on Bush, who is merely the latest recipient of the party’s foolishly spent, misdirected largesse. I’m not bitter, just outraged.

But whereas the Republican party has lots of money and no imagination, I have the opposite. So indulge me in a thought experiment: A little over a year ago, the Republican party bosses came to me with a briefcase full of money and said “Dex, we recognize your personal beauty, masculine prowess, and superior wisdom. Please take this $100 million and do what you will. We trust it entirely to you. Feel free to take out $99,999,999.00 for your salary. Whatever you do, it’ll be better than what we come up with.”

I was in no mood to haggle, so I thanked them and put the cash in escrow while I drew up the following budget (quietly returning 100% of my salary to the budget).

$40 Million — Endow Republican University

This would be an online university emphasizing Classical Languages, World History, World Culture, Political Thought, and Literature. President: Victor Davis Hanson; Vice President: Bruce Thornton. Salaries competitive but negotiable. Hanson will be the public face of the university, handling fundraising, board of director selections (preferably, from Ricochet members), semester abroad programs and all public relations. Thornton will oversee day-to-day operations, including staffing, budget, and curriculum. A bachelors should be earned in three years, a masters in two. Obligatory semester abroad.

$40M — Republican Party Outreach

One small office rented in the worst part of each city in the western United States, each staffed by one party representative and one administrator. Salaries competitive, but negotiable. The responsibilities of the Republican representative (henceforth, the “RR”) shall include setting up at least one meeting a week with any club or group in the city who will meet with said representative. Possible groups include the local chamber of commerce, senior centers, garden clubs, chess clubs, rock and gem clubs, Knights of Columbus, church groups, local cable talk shows, book clubs, etc.

The RR will also meet with CEOs of local successful manufacturers and businesses to set up scholarships of $1,000 to $5,000 in-state community college or trade schools for worthy high school graduates. Goes without saying that RR will get to know principals and counselors at local high schools as well as managers of local Crispy Crème bakeries and Little Caesar’s pizzerias. The mission statement is wide and flexible, but RR’s main goal is to make friends on behalf of the party the community level. RR’s admin will assist at every level.

$20 Million — ?

What do you think Ricochet members? How would you disburse the remaining $20 million? You’re hired as my temporary pro-bono budget director. Prohibitions: No money to conservative journals, magazines, or think tanks.

Published in Culture, Politics
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  1. Grosseteste Thatcher
    Grosseteste
    @Grosseteste

    Rather than spend it successfully keeping our best general election prospect out of the general, putting it in a pile and lighting it on fire sounds like a good alternative. I share your outrage.

    How about a real-life Madison Fund? And a backup one for when the everyone involved with the first one gets hit with a RICO prosecution?

    • #1
  2. Dex Quire Inactive
    Dex Quire
    @DexQuire

    Great detail Gross — I had forgotten about the Madison Fund – 20 million – write the check!

    • #2
  3. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs. Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    • #3
  4. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs. Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    Explain to me why he has to explain that to you.

    But don’t you dare ask me to explain why you should have to explain why you think Dex should explain why people should be outraged by the waste of $100 million.

    • #4
  5. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Ed G.:

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs. Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    Explain to me why he has to explain that to you.

    But don’t you dare ask me to explain why you should have to explain why you think Dex should explain why people should be outraged by the waste of $100 million.

    Was it your $100 million? Was it the Republican Party’s $100 million? Was it taxpayers’ $100 million? Should I be outraged how you spend your own money? Would you care to show me what you’ve been spending your money on, so I can determine how much outrage I should have?

    • #5
  6. Dex Quire Inactive
    Dex Quire
    @DexQuire

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs.

    Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    True but your point is too finely drawn. The Republican Party cannot just be considered a kind of fiduciary traffic cop — stationary and indifferently directing great flows of money. It has a basic mission towards the end of finding and supporting leaders who will guide the destiny of a large democratic nation. As such it is a money-generating entity, receiving and spending private sums towards public goals; as such it has a duty to all is members to spend its money not just wisely but purposefully. I would never advocate curtailing the spending of those private wealthy donors you mention – “after all,” as Barzini said in The Godfather, “we are not communists.” I will express outrage when I see the party wasting money (however it came by that money). Not to pile on but with Ed G. — where is your outrage?

    100 million dollars on Jeb Bush? The Republican Party should just go ahead and erect a bust of Karl Marx for placement in every town square in America…

    • #6
  7. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Brian Watt:

    Ed G.:

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs. Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    Explain to me why he has to explain that to you.

    But don’t you dare ask me to explain why you should have to explain why you think Dex should explain why people should be outraged by the waste of $100 million.

    Was it your $100 million? Was it the Republican Party’s $100 million? Was it taxpayers’ $100 million? Should I be outraged how you spend your own money? Would you care to show me what you’ve been spending your money on, so I can determine how much outrage I should have?

    I was joking, but now that you’re doubling down: we can only be outraged by things we personally do or by things that immediately and directly affect us? Since when? Isn’t massive waste of resources inherently outrageous?

    Perhaps you’re getting hung up on whether or not it was actually a waste. I find it difficult to see it otherwise, but of course that’s a subjective assessment. So feel free to remain sanguine.

    • #7
  8. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Dex Quire:

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs.

    Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    True but your point is too finely drawn. The Republican Party cannot just be considered a kind of fiduciary traffic cop — stationary and indifferently directing great flows of money. It has a basic mission towards the end of finding and supporting leaders who will guide the destiny of a large democratic nation. As such it is a money-generating entity, receiving and spending private sums towards public goals; as such it has a duty to all is members to spend its money not just wisely but purposefully. I would never advocate curtailing the spending of those private wealthy donors you mention – “after all,” as Barzini said in The Godfather, “we are not communists.” I will express outrage when I see the party wasting money (however it came by that money). Not to pile on but with Ed G. — where is your outrage?

    100 million dollars on Jeb Bush? The Republican Party should just go ahead and erect a bust of Karl Marx for placement in every town square in America…

    Your whole thesis is based on a false premise. In the case of SuperPac money, the Republican Party isn’t a traffic cop at all. They have no influence at all, by law, in how that SuperPac money is spent. These are privately-generated funds from donors. It’s one thing to say the Party and the RNC should establish new rules by which a candidate can be considered qualified to enter the race but that has nothing to do with SuperPac money being spent and how it is spent.

    • #8
  9. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Ed G.:

    Brian Watt:

    Ed G.:

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs. Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    Explain to me why he has to explain that to you.

    But don’t you dare ask me to explain why you should have to explain why you think Dex should explain why people should be outraged by the waste of $100 million.

    Was it your $100 million? Was it the Republican Party’s $100 million? Was it taxpayers’ $100 million? Should I be outraged how you spend your own money? Would you care to show me what you’ve been spending your money on, so I can determine how much outrage I should have?

    I was joking, but now that you’re doubling down: we can only be outraged by things we personally do or by things that immediately and directly affect us? Since when? Isn’t massive waste of resources inherently outrageous?

    Perhaps you’re getting hung up on whether or not it was actually a waste. I find it difficult to see it otherwise, but of course that’s a subjective assessment. So feel free to remain sanguine.

    No need to get all snippy. “Outrage” was used in the context that the Republican Party had something to do with the spend. Yes, you and anyone else can be outraged that millionaires and billionaires seem to have wasted their own money and that they should have spent it on something you and others may have deemed more worthy. I’m just more dismayed rather than outraged. Now, if it was taxpayers’ money, yes, absolutely, I would be outraged.

    • #9
  10. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Brian Watt:

    Ed G.:

    […..]

    I was joking, but now that you’re doubling down: we can only be outraged by things we personally do or by things that immediately and directly affect us? Since when? Isn’t massive waste of resources inherently outrageous?

    Perhaps you’re getting hung up on whether or not it was actually a waste. I find it difficult to see it otherwise, but of course that’s a subjective assessment. So feel free to remain sanguine.

    No need to get all snippy. […..]

    Hello, pot, this is the kettle.

    Come in kettle.

    Pot, you’re black. Kettle out.

    I’m out too. Me getting snippy like this makes me sleepy.

    • #10
  11. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    I think the problem is that donors want to give money to Jeb! but not to Republican Party outreach. After all, he was the target of the donations. Blame, such as there is, would have to lie with them.

    But maybe we’re wrong. Perhaps we can get people to donate to causes like the ones proposed in the OP–Free classes for the inner city in reading, writing, arithmetic, personal finance, political philosophy? Maybe have Ben Carson represent it?

    Be great to partner with welfare reform: if you want to collect welfare, you need to attend these classes daily. You pass out of the tests on basic material, you sit in a group that does oral reading of articles from contemporary journals, political philosophy, and the history of communism and socialism.

    • #11
  12. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    Grosseteste:Rather than spend it successfully keeping our best general election prospect out of the general, putting it in a pile and lighting it on fire sounds like a good alternative. I share your outrage.

    How about a real-life Madison Fund? And a backup one for when the everyone involved with the first one gets hit with a RICO prosecution?

    Ahem.

    • #12
  13. Dex Quire Inactive
    Dex Quire
    @DexQuire

    J. D. Fitzpatrick:

    Grosseteste:Rather than spend it successfully keeping our best general election prospect out of the general, putting it in a pile and lighting it on fire sounds like a good alternative. I share your outrage.

    How about a real-life Madison Fund? And a backup one for when the everyone involved with the first one gets hit with a RICO prosecution?

    Ahem.

    You guys are too much! I see checkmate in four (not really) …

    • #13
  14. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    Dex Quire:

    J. D. Fitzpatrick:

    Grosseteste:Rather than spend it successfully keeping our best general election prospect out of the general, putting it in a pile and lighting it on fire sounds like a good alternative. I share your outrage.

    How about a real-life Madison Fund? And a backup one for when the everyone involved with the first one gets hit with a RICO prosecution?

    Ahem.

    You guys are too much! I see checkmate in four (not really) …

    Well, if the other guy doesn’t get to move in response … :)

    • #14
  15. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    The money was’t wasted. It helped select Trump…..

    • #15
  16. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs. Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    Ditto.

    • #16
  17. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    I will never forgive Jeb for what he did in this primary fight.  Never.

    I never thought all that highly of the Bush family, but Jeb’s campaign and his family’s support of that campaign after it was hopelessly lost have virtually eliminated whatever positive feelings I have about the name “Bush”.

    • #17
  18. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    E. Kent Golding:The money was’t wasted. It helped select Trump…..

    Dislike

    • #18
  19. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    I hate to say I feel bad for Bush… I mean, he’s still rich and off doing whatever he wants to do except being president, and I’m not here for his self actualization or aggrandizement.

    That said– I think Bush would’ve been a very good president and I would’ve voted for him happily. He wasn’t a very good campaigner. He hasn’t been in rough and tumble of politics and he came off very rusty. His last few debates were pretty decent and he should’ve shown that spunk in the early debates. His main problem is he got more animated when people criticized his family than he did necessarily about defending his policies. But it is what it is.

    With Bush’s money? I think it was Instapundit orMark Steyn who said it– buy a newspaper or website or something with that money. Shift the direction very subtly to the right. I’d love a right wing Kotaku.

    • #19
  20. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    They would have been better off donating it to the Clinton Foundation; they have a pretty good ROI for big donors.

    • #20
  21. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    How big an island can I buy in the South Pacific for $20M?

    • #21
  22. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Jeb Bush would have been an excellent president. And if I had money to invest in someone’s candidacy, I would be happy to support his.

    He was a visionary and hardworking and productive governor for the state of Florida, and he would have been the same as president. He works very well with people, and he gets a lot accomplished. And he’s a good executive to have around in times of crisis–his state saw three major hurricanes during his tenure.

    Given how well organized he was about his run for office, I would have been impressed, and I would have supported it to.

    No one could have foreseen the impact of Donald Trump on this race–certainly Bush’s supporters could not and did not.

    It was not money wasted.

    One has to be impressed by the millions of dollars and volunteer hours spent in the United States to ensure democracy. It is an achievement, not a failure.

    And by the way, those were millions of dollars that went right back into the economy in the form of paychecks to the people with paid positions on his campaign.

    The best kind of charity in the entire world is a job.

    • #22
  23. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Brian Watt:

    Ed G.:

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs. Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    Explain to me why he has to explain that to you.

    But don’t you dare ask me to explain why you should have to explain why you think Dex should explain why people should be outraged by the waste of $100 million.

    Was it your $100 million? Was it the Republican Party’s $100 million? Was it taxpayers’ $100 million? Should I be outraged how you spend your own money? Would you care to show me what you’ve been spending your money on, so I can determine how much outrage I should have?

    They just wanted to back a winner, buy future access and were too stupid to know it was money down a rat hole.   The point is that they were ripped off by and might have thought differently if adults, rather than hucksters had spent some time with them.

    • #23
  24. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    I Walton:

    Brian Watt:

    Ed G.:

    Brian Watt:It wasn’t the Republican Party’s money to begin with. It was the money of private wealthy donors who are registered to vote as Republicans (more than likely) who mostly set up and co-funded SuperPacs. Could the money have been spent more wisely. Well, sure. I would have spent it differently. But explain to me why I or anyone else should be outraged how someone else spends their own money?

    Explain to me why he has to explain that to you.

    But don’t you dare ask me to explain why you should have to explain why you think Dex should explain why people should be outraged by the waste of $100 million.

    Was it your $100 million? Was it the Republican Party’s $100 million? Was it taxpayers’ $100 million? Should I be outraged how you spend your own money? Would you care to show me what you’ve been spending your money on, so I can determine how much outrage I should have?

    They just wanted to back a winner, buy future access and were too stupid to know it was money down a rat hole. The point is that they were ripped off and might have thought differently if adults, rather than hucksters had spent some time with them.

    • #24
  25. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    I have trouble thinking of a bigger waste of money than sending it to a politician.

    • #25
  26. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    MarciN: Jeb Bush would have been an excellent president. And if I had money to invest in someone’s candidacy, I would be happy to support his.

    Timing is everything.  Jeb probably would have been a better President than GW.

    But in a year when Hillary was the presumptive Democratic nominee, the prospect of another Bush-Clinton had most of the nation retching.

    Sure, now that a Trump-Sanders election is a real possibility, I long for the halcyon days when a  Bush-Clinton election was my biggest fear, but Bush was ALWAYS unelectable in a Republican Primary this year.  ALWAYS.

    • #26
  27. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Mike H: I have trouble thinking of a bigger waste of money than sending it to a politician.

    Trump seems to have gotten quite wealthy doing it.

    • #27
  28. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Goldgeller: I think it was Instapundit orMark Steyn who said it– buy a newspaper or website or something with that money. Shift the direction very subtly to the right. I’d love a right wing Kotaku.

    Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) has said wealthy Republicans should buy a women’s magazine. I agree completely. Part of the problem is that the “undernews”, the themes that apolitical citizens absorb passively and use to construct their political views, comes from leftwing outlets.

    • #28
  29. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    A-Squared:

    Timing is everything. Jeb probably would have been a better President than GW.

    But in a year when Hillary was the presumptive Democratic nominee, the prospect of another Bush-Clinton had most of the nation retching.

    Sure, now that a Trump-Sanders election is a real possibility, I long for the halcyon days when a Bush-Clinton election was my biggest fear, but Bush was ALWAYS unelectable in a Republican Primary this year. ALWAYS.

    I understand, and I agree.

    That said, I’ve only recently gotten around to exploring Jeb Bush’s record, and I’ve grown more and more impressed by it. It would have been interesting to see one-to-one debates between Bush and Trump. Both are high achievers, and both have deep roots in the development communities. So it would have been an enlightening series.

    Frankly, if I had only the candidates’ resumes in front me, not their names or anything else about them, in terms of having some relevant experience in meeting the challenges of overseeing the world’s largest organization, especially in terms of its capitalization–I’m referring to the executive branch of the U.S. government–Jeb Bush’s qualifications would have been the best.

    He is very different in many ways from his family, and it’s sad that people just threw him out because he had the wrong last name.

    I’m considering this loss one of James Michener’s “historical accidents.”

    • #29
  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Dex Quire: a large democratic nation.

    A bit more than that, really. Don’t let Obama and Trump fool you. We remain the greatest superpower history has known.

    • #30
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