Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says his brother George W. Bush responded in an “awe-inspiring” way to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and suggests he would learn from his sibling's leadership if he wins the presidency.Let me list the ways Jeb is screwing this up.
The Republican presidential candidate’s comments ... were made in a staged conversation with his brother at a Bush family donor retreat in Houston on Monday....
“The case study of leadership is how George responded to 9/11, period, over and out,” Jeb told the audience of some 175 donors and supporters who gathered in a ballroom at a Houston hotel, according to a pool report.
You want to embrace the George W presidency? Do it in public, on camera, not in a secret family confab with a pool reporter transcribing the comments. Jeb should own his brother's presidency. If he does it blatantly enough, then -- like Trump bashing Mexicans or Carson talking about Hitler -- he'll be pushing the limits of acceptable political discourse. This is his chance to be "politically incorrect" -- in fact, what would work is for Jeb to say something like "I'm proud of my brother's presidency, and I don't care if that's politically incorrect!" Wingnut voters never tire of that sort of phony defiance.
He also shouldn't limit himself to a tear-jerking recollection of the immediate aftermath of 9/11:
“How he responded to 9/11," Jeb Bush said of his brother, "was just awe-inspiring.No -- he should embrace the war. As I said a couple of weeks ago, he should embrace it the way Ronald Reagan embraced the Vietnam War when he described it on the 1980 campaign trail as a "noble cause." He should double back on rejecting the war. He should express admiration for Dick Chene. He should praise W's "freedom agenda" (that could still be a catnippy phrase for conservatives). He should invoke dimming memories of "liberated," purple-fingered voters.
“People were united. And people really got it that he had a heart for them,” Bush added. “At that time, as you know, kids were crying. All around people, children and grandchildren didn’t know what was going on.
“The whole world was turned upside down, and you had a president who was staid and sure and strong.”
Really, he's going nowhere doing what he's doing now, so he has nothing to lose by doing this. The electorate he's trying to reach is so crazy, so hungry for outside-the-established-limits red meat, that it just might work.