Good Advice from Jeb Bush

 

As usual, Jeb Bush is making sense.  One of America’s most successful (and conservative) governors, Jeb Bush of Florida is (for me, anyway) a kind of heartbreaking figure.  He should be president.  He would be a great one.  But for whatever reason — it’s hard to imagine a third Bush winning the White House — he’s not running.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t still a smart, principled, accomplished leader.  Here he is, giving some sound and thoughtful advice to the rest of the Republican presidential field, from Politico:

Asked by Fox News host Neil Cavuto if some Republicans go too far in their criticism of Obama, Bush said flatly, “I do. I think when you start ascribing bad motives to the guy, that’s wrong. It turns off people who want solutions.

“It’s fine to criticize him, that’s politics,” said Bush, the younger brother of former President George W. Bush, who again reiterated that he won’t run for president himself. “But just to stop there isn’t enough. You have to win with ideas, you have to win with policies. … He’s made a situation that was bad worse. He’s deserving of criticism for that. He’s not deserving of criticism for the common cold on up.”

“If you’re a conservative, you have to persuade. You can’t just be against the president,” he added.

And then he adds:

Breaking with the GOP field, Bush said he’d be willing to accept new revenues as part of a deficit-reduction package.

“I think the problems are so severe in this country that leadership is required to find common ground and solutions,” he said.

But he pushed back against billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s suggestion that taxes be raised on the rich.

“The problem with Warren Buffett’s attitude is he’s talking about people who are already rich, and his policies I think may create a lid on people who are aspiring to be rich,” Bush said. “There are 10 other aspiring Warren Buffetts that will find it harder to become rich.”

I’m not sure I know exactly what he has in mind here, but I’d certainly like to hear more from Jeb Bush, on spending cuts, debt reduction, education reform, and a bunch of other issues we face.  He’s a smart guy, and a leader.   Republicans would be smart to listen to him.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @Cutlass

    I’ll give an example of how impugning motives can backfire. I used to be a pretty solid libertarian. 9-11 drove me to reexamine my views and I became less isolationist and somewhat more pragmatic in general. Still, when it came to social issues I remained a knee-jerk libertarian. The “religious right” were a bunch of yokels who wanted to impose their will on the rest of us, etc.

    Then gay marriage suddenly became a big issue. To my sophisticated, suburban New York trained mind it was self evidently absurd that ignorant religious fanatics would want to “violate the civil rights” of gays. Other conservatives I knew basically felt the same, so it wasn’t an issue of debate. When reading blogs like NRO I’d just roll my eyes and scroll past the gay marriage stuff. Still, I didn’t see anti-gay marriage folks as evil, just a bit out of touch, perhaps.

    But as the debate went on and the attacks from the left got more vile and personal I started to take notice.

    Continued….

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @Cutlass

    I’d ask liberals, “C’mon, do you honestly think half of the population disagree simply because they hate gays?”

    “How else do you explain it?” came the reply.

    I didn’t have a solid answer. All I knew was that it was absurd to consider that tens of millions of fellow Americans, leaders of both political parties, AND many of the conservative writers and thinkers I had come to respect were nothing but a bunch of “bigots.”

    And so I was pushed to challenge a view I’d previously never thought to question.

    The intricacies of my view on the subject aside, it is fair to say that the left likely would have had one more vote against Prop 8 if not for their rhetoric back in 2004.

    Now, imagine this reversed? There are millions of independents and Democrats out there who hold views based largely on the mantra that Democrats care and Republicans are evil. These people can only be won over only if Republicans maintain the higher ground and keep the focus on ideas.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Member
    @SteveMacDonald

    With regard to the dreaded REVENUE word; Jeb is surely aware that, regardless of tax rates in effect, the historical average of revenue flowing into govt. coffers is 17.9% of GDP with a standard deviation of 1%. Simply put, without a VAT, revenue to Govt. is not going to exceed this range.

    Allowing revenue to be put on the table however, enables a conversation regarding desperately needed tax code reform – hopefully broadening the base considerably. As I said above, history shows there to be nothing to lose, and potentially we could gain a lot.

    Mollie, while I agree that questioning motives is not politically astute, I believe the fact to be that, if the purpose of the administration was to do irreparable damage to the country, they could not have performed more brilliantly. I think it is understandable for a sentient person to wonder if this is in fact the intent, or whether it is truly spectacular incompetence that drives their actions.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @Freeven

    It’s vexing that Bush is willing to cede ground on a tax increase from the get go. He’s forever committed himself to negotiating from a position of weakness. It makes me question if he really “gets it.”

    His follow up comment, which I take to mean he’s fine soaking the rich if it can be done without impacting those that aspire to be rich, tells me the answer is that he does not.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @Skyler
    wilber forge

    Jeb is intelligent enough to know most of the ground he will ever trod has been salted. His garden will be forever small. · Aug 23 at 10:45pm

    The governor of Florida will forever be in a small “garden?” He’s done enough.

    Anyone who is the son of “read my lips” that got booted out for raising taxes, and the brother of the bailout president and who still thinks that the right answer is to raise taxes is certainly missing the boat. His “garden” is much bigger than he merits. At some point we should say that someone’s family is no longer an asset, but a liability.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Member
    @Pilli
    Skyler

    wilber forge

    Jeb is intelligent enough to know most of the ground he will ever trod has been salted. His garden will be forever small. · Aug 23 at 10:45pm

    Anyone who is the son of “read my lips” that got booted out for raising taxes,

    Jeb could have never been nominated after his wife was arrested for smuggling jewelry and he knew it. That’s why GW decided to run.

    Plus, Jeb was a NIMBY when it came to oil drilling. He absolutely forbade drilling off FL’s coast. He is a Squish.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @liberaljim
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I’m so glad to see someone make this point about questioning motivations. That is something we should never do. Unless we’re divine, we can’t look into someone’s heart and know why they’re doing anything, we can only go based on their actions and their words. And that’s more than enough to go by. The world would be a much better place if we did less questioning of motivation. · Aug 23 at 8:30pm

    You may believe that Stalin was a person who had pure motives whose political thinking was just a bit off. But I think he was an evil man bent on doing evil things and don’t think I am being a bit God like when I say so. To automatically ascribe good motives to people who provide ample evidence to the contrary is naive at best. To imply that people who try to discern things about other’s character have some kind of a God complex seems to be similar to what you are condemning.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @MatthewGilley
    Steve MacDonald: With regard to the dreaded REVENUE word; Jeb is surely aware that, regardless of tax rates in effect, the historical average of revenue flowing into govt. coffers is 17.9% of GDP with a standard deviation of 1%. Simply put, without a VAT, revenue to Govt. is not going to exceed this range.

    Allowing revenue to be put on the table however, enables a conversation regarding desperately needed tax code reform – hopefully broadening the base considerably. As I said above, history shows there to be nothing to lose, and potentially we could gain a lot.

    I’m glad I finally found this post. You’re correct – automatically assuming that talk of “revenues” means “we’re going to raise your taxes” is fallacious. Tax rates have very little to do with revenue. What matters is growth, so the 17.9% of GDP (or even better, less) is a slice out of a larger pie. Growth, low rates, a broad tax base, entitlement restructuring (even phase-outs), and a severe contraction of the things the federal government does (and the scope on which it does them) are necessary elements to getting the house back in shape.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway
    Cutlass: I’d ask liberals, “C’mon, do you honestly think half of the population disagree simply because they hate gays?”

    “How else do you explain it?” came the reply.

    I didn’t have a solid answer. All I knew was that it was absurd to consider that tens of millions of fellow Americans, leaders of both political parties, AND many of the conservative writers and thinkers I had come to respect were nothing but a bunch of “bigots.”

    And so I was pushed to challenge a view I’d previously never thought to question.

    The intricacies of my view on the subject aside, it is fair to say that the left likely would have had one more vote against Prop 8 if not for their rhetoric back in 2004.

    Now, imagine this reversed? There are millions of independents and Democrats out there who hold views based largely on the mantra that Democrats care and Republicans are evil. These people can only be won over only if Republicans maintain the higher ground and keep the focus on ideas. · Aug 24 at 1:02am

    Edited on Aug 24 at 01:03 am

    Well put.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @StickerShock
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I’m so glad to see someone make this point about questioning motivations. That is something we should never do. Unless we’re divine, we can’t look into someone’s heart and know why they’re doing anything, we can only go based on their actions and their words. And that’s more than enough to go by. The world would be a much better place if we did less questioning of motivation. · Aug 23 at 8:30pm

    I disagree. Looking at Obama’s past associations & reading his books give a great deal of insight into his motivations. They are quite dangerous.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @StickerShock
    dittoheadadt: If he actually called tax increases “revenues,” he’s cut from the same cloth as all the other squishes, and he’s a useless idiot. They are NOT revenues. The government does NOT produce a g/d thing. They only confiscate the fruits of others’ production.

    Why in God’s name does the Stupid Party insist on acquiescing to the Left’s bastardization of our language????

    The fact of the matter is, we already know damn well that the Feds know how to raise taxes. What we don’t know is whether they know how to cut spending. Which is precisely why tax increases must be off the table for the forseeable future, and the unforseeable future, until and unless the Feds cut spending and reduce the budget significantly for x years in a row (x=5 in my world).

    Jeb Bush? Pshaw. · Aug 23 at 8:39pm

    Super Like.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @Franco

    Jeb is naive if he really thinks that Obama is simply misguided. In a sense, this is even more insulting to Obama and his followers, and perhaps reveals a “bigotry of low expectations” if nothing else. I wonder if there is/was a leader to whom Jeb would be willing to ascribe bad intentions.

    We always must apply a test with politicians, coworkers, really everybody. Was it a mistake or was there another level to the plan? What does the politician say vs. what he/she actually does? Then we compare and contrast. If Jeb doesn’t do this himself then he’s just plain dumb.

    There is a palpable double-standard here. When W had his motivations called into question daily, he told us “it’s just politics”. I don’t remember brother Jeb contradicting him.

    Funny how we never see these people defending conservatives who are maligned. Obama has done this repeatedly and not a peep from the Bushes.

    Elites like the Bushes – including the one with the populist Texas drawl – don’t understand what is really going on in America because they have been out of touch with ordinary life for so long.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway
    StickerShock

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I’m so glad to see someone make this point about questioning motivations. That is something we should never do. Unless we’re divine, we can’t look into someone’s heart and know why they’re doing anything, we can only go based on their actions and their words. And that’s more than enough to go by. The world would be a much better place if we did less questioning of motivation. · Aug 23 at 8:30pm

    I disagree. Looking at Obama’s past associations & reading his books give a great deal of insight into his motivations. They are quite dangerous. · Aug 24 at 6:12am

    But that’s not questioning motivations. That’s discerning them. Big difference.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @StickerShock
    Skyler

    wilber forge

    Jeb is intelligent enough to know most of the ground he will ever trod has been salted. His garden will be forever small. · Aug 23 at 10:45pm

    The governor of Florida will forever be in a small “garden?” He’s done enough.

    Anyone who is the son of “read my lips” that got booted out for raising taxes, and the brother of the bailout president and who still thinks that the right answer is to raise taxes is certainly missing the boat. His “garden” is much bigger than he merits. At some point we should say that someone’s family is no longer an asset, but a liability. · Aug 24 at 3:23am

    Yes. And don’t forget about his daughter’s arrest for faking prescriptions. And ethical problems with big brother Neil. In a nation of over 300 million, why in the world must we look to another member of the Bush family ???? Really. I think Jeb is pretty mediocre. He may be the brightest member of his family, but I think we will be able to round up a few stronger candidates, no?

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @StickerShock
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    StickerShock

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I’m so glad to see someone make this point about questioning motivations. That is something we should never do. Unless we’re divine, we can’t look into someone’s heart and know why they’re doing anything, we can only go based on their actions and their words. And that’s more than enough to go by. The world would be a much better place if we did less questioning of motivation. · Aug 23 at 8:30pm

    I disagree. Looking at Obama’s past associations & reading his books give a great deal of insight into his motivations. They are quite dangerous. · Aug 24 at 6:12am

    But that’s not questioning motivations. That’s discerning them. Big difference. · Aug 24 at 6:26am

    I see that as a distinction without a difference.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Cutlass:

    There are millions of independents and Democrats out there who hold views based largely on the mantra that Democrats care and Republicans are evil.

    In other words, impugning the motives of your opponents is smart, effective politics.

    These people can only be won over only if Republicans maintain the higher ground and keep the focus on ideas.

    This has been the guiding philosophy of the GOP at least since Ronald Reagan. The result has been that the US slides ever leftwards towards bankruptcy, even when the GOP wins, because Republicans just won’t get down into the muck and fight for the ideas they supposedly represent.

    So we see a respected former governor ruling out questioning the motives of a man and a political party who have committed a wide variety of acts whose motivation should be questioned, while endorsing tax hikes, and- incredibly- agonizing about the tax burden of the rich.

    FAIL.

    I appreciate the noble sentiments behind what you said, but in practice it hasn’t worked.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway
    StickerShock

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    But that’s not questioning motivations. That’s discerning them. Big difference. · Aug 24 at 6:26am

    I see that as a distinction without a difference. · Aug 24 at 6:32am

    Well, let’s use the gay marriage example above. “They hate same-sex marriage because they want gay people dead and marginalized” is questioning motivations. “They work against same-sex marriage because, they say, they believe marriage is an institution designed to protect wives and children and the costs to society would be huge if the laws protecting that institution changed.” is discerning them. It’s pretty major, actually. You can still disagree with your opponent, but you haven’t put the worst construction on their view.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway

    I’m surprised to see so much disagreement with my views on questioning motives. I wonder if part of it isn’t that I start from a place of skepticism with 100% of politicians. I don’t believe in putting trust in any earthly thing and I believe that all beings are inherently sinful and, in fact, sin every day. So that’s more than enough to go by to get to my views on the importance of limited government.

    When it comes to bad policies and what not, however, I think it’s much more proper to focus on real positions and real actions and real words than whatever I presume might be motivating it. Even with the Stalin example above, there are plenty of people bent on destruction. But it’s Stalin’s actions that separate him from the rest.

    But if someone (be it my aunt, neighbor or Barack Obama) wants universal health care, my argument is that it would be horrible for the country — not that they’re trying to destroy the country. That might be the effect, but best to focus on that and not the person. Even while acknowledging our corporate sinfulness.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @JimmyCarter

    “He’s made a situation that was bad worse.”

    Is Jeb blaming His Bother W.?

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Member
    @CharleyDavis

    Jeb’s a squish, no wonder you admire him.

    The fact is that compromise with the opposition is what has lead to this dire fiscal situation. Our right of center populace has wildly left-of-center federal government. We may need principled conservative leadership, but we don’t need any more advice from the Bush family, they’ve caused enough trouble.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @LeviSpires

    Jeb Bush may make sense but this Presidential race isn’t big enough for two Bush’s and Perry was in the race first.

    But to your point, Jeb Bush has always been a smart man. Notice how little you hear from him. He’s not on every talk show spewing random thoughts that he’ll have to take back in a distant campaign.

    When he speaks we tend to listen.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @dittoheadadt

    Bad motives? We shouldn’t question whether The One has bad motives?? How about his desire for a “fundamental transformation” of America??!!

    Do we need to wring our hands over whether to examine Chairman Maobama’s “motives” when he’s already laid them bare?! And three years ago, to boot!!

    The assignment for those who are skittish about attributing bad motives to Franklin Delanobama is to write “fundamental transformation” five hundred times on the blackbo-, er, dry-erase board.

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway
    dittoheadadt: Bad motives? We shouldn’t question whether The One has bad motives?? How about his desire for a “fundamental transformation” of America??!!

    Do we need to wring our hands over whether to examine Chairman Maobama’s “motives” when he’s already laid them bare?! And three years ago, to boot!!

    The assignment for those who are skittish about attributing bad motives to Franklin Delanobama is to write “fundamental transformation” five hundred times on the blackbo-, er, dry-erase board. · Aug 24 at 8:22am

    You’re making my point. Why bother questioning his motives when you can go with his actual words and actions *and* discern his motivations from those, should you so desire?

    What do we benefit by questioning those motives further?

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway

    I’m so glad to see someone make this point about questioning motivations. That is something we should never do. Unless we’re divine, we can’t look into someone’s heart and know why they’re doing anything, we can only go based on their actions and their words. And that’s more than enough to go by. The world would be a much better place if we did less questioning of motivation.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Member
    @ScottR

    To consider what might have been if Jeb had won the governorship of FL in his first try in 1994 makes for an interesting alternative history. Until that failure, he was the heir apparent to pops. Instead, the prodigal son got the gig.

    W and HW are good people and were OK presidents, but Jeb’s the talent of that family.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Member
    @dittoheadadt

    If he actually called tax increases “revenues,” he’s cut from the same cloth as all the other squishes, and he’s a useless idiot. They are NOT revenues. The government does NOT produce a g/d thing. They only confiscate the fruits of others’ production.

    Why in God’s name does the Stupid Party insist on acquiescing to the Left’s bastardization of our language????

    The fact of the matter is, we already know damn well that the Feds know how to raise taxes. What we don’t know is whether they know how to cut spending. Which is precisely why tax increases must be off the table for the forseeable future, and the unforseeable future, until and unless the Feds cut spending and reduce the budget significantly for x years in a row (x=5 in my world).

    Jeb Bush? Pshaw.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @dittoheadadt
    Cutlass: Raxxalan,

    For example, I don’t give a rat’s cast about a business person’s motive for getting rich. The founder of a drug company may be motivated by shallow greed, childhood abuse or L. Ron Hubbard. So what? What difference should that make if his actions lead to a cure for AIDS, thousands of jobs and a stock value that funds my retirement?

    No difference…in your example. But not all men are driven to do good. What if his actions lead to disastrous outcomes? And what if that’s his intent? What if his quest to become rich is for the purpose of harming America (e.g. George Soros)? What if his quest to become powerful is in order to fundamentally transform the greatest, most generous, most indispensable-to-human-freedom nation the world has ever known? Shouldn’t we then care about motives?

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar

    I agree with Jeb on taxes, but I would never say that on public television. Democrats believe they can extract tax increases without any spending cuts, and conservatives who go on TV to say they’re open-minded on taxes help craft a media environment that makes spending cuts more difficult to get.

    Remember Milton Friedman’s advice of getting bad politicians to do the right thing with the right political and media environment? This is the opposite of that, it helps the bad politicians do the wrong thing.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Member
    @Raxxalan
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I’m so glad to see someone make this point about questioning motivations. That is something we should never do. Unless we’re divine, we can’t look into someone’s heart and know why they’re doing anything, we can only go based on their actions and their words. And that’s more than enough to go by. The world would be a much better place if we did less questioning of motivation. · Aug 23 at 8:30pm

    Mollie,

    I am not quite sure I agree with you on this one. I agree we can’t look into someone’s heart; however, we are often called to make judgements about someone’s motives based on their actions. I think in some cases we need to question people’s motives especially when they are running purely utopian view of the future while employing means that transfer a vast amount of wealth and power to themselves. I think people are willing to forgive a bad means if they think there is a pure motive. A fact many a charlatan has used to his advantage I suspect.

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Member
    @dittoheadadt
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I’m surprised to see so much disagreement with my views on questioning motives…but if someone (be it my aunt, neighbor or Barack Obama) wants universal health care, my argument is that it would be horrible for the country — not that they’re trying to destroy the country…· Aug 24 at 7:07am

    …unless said champion of universal health care stated unequivocally that he/she seeks a fundamental transformation of America…perhaps??

    I’ll speculate that your aunt does not want America fundamentally transformed, even if she does want UHC. Her motives thus are beyond questioning. The One’s motives are not, for he does seek to fundamentally transform America.

    • #30

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