Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, and the Politics of Dads.
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More to the point — there is nothing “new” here. These ideas, which in various incarnations date back to progressive icons from George McGovern to Henry Wallace to the pacifist William Jennings Bryan are as old as, well, old mossbacks. Like the socialist ideas on domestic policy which they usually accompany.
Senator Paul’s efforts to get Americans — not to mention the Obama administration — to pay attention to the Constitution are not only welcome but an approach long overdue in the GOP. But candidly speaking — if they are paired with George McGovern’s foreign policy, they are a loser for Republicans. Guaranteed to send the GOP base racing as far as possible in the opposite direction. There is a vast difference between calling for the Department of Education to be abolished — a Rand Paul proposal that was exactly that of Ronald Reagan — and yoking it to a policy of “peace through trust.” The latter idea, to quote Rand Paul, is both as “stale and moss covered” as it is a political and governmental failure.
Which brings us to Jeb Bush.
Unlike Rand Paul and his Dad’s ideas, the ideas of Clan Bush get off the conservative track in domestic policy.
Listen to Jeb Bush in these lines he spoke to CPAC the other night. Talking about a supercomputer named “Watson” and wondering aloud how Watson would analyze and fix the Republican Party, the governor said:
Well, I wonder what Watson would say if he brought all that computing power to bear on the political future of the Republican Party?
First, Watson would probably note that Republicans lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.
In those six elections Watson would be quick to point out that non-Republican candidates received a total of 26,220,840 more votes than our Republican candidates. That’s a staggering number.
How can that be?
Actually, there’s a simple answer to Governor Bush’s question.
The reason Republicans lost the popular vote in those five out of six elections is that in every case the nominee was a moderate Republican. That would include Jeb’s Dad in 1992 (37% of the vote), Bob Dole in 1996 (40.7%), Jeb’s brother George in 2000 (47.9%), John McCain in 2008 (45.7%) and Mitt Romney in 2012 (47.2%). And the 6th election that Jeb Bush cites? That would be brother George’s 2004 defeat of John Kerry with a skin-of-his teeth 50.7%.
One would think, Jeb Bush being a smart guy, that the light would go on here.
But, alas, no. As Rand Paul is stuck on his father’s losing ideas, so too is Jeb Bush stuck on the ideas that ended his father’s presidency and almost ended his brother’s before it began in 2000. And just why did George Bush have so much trouble getting elected in 2000 that he needed 537 Florida votes and the Supreme Court to put him over the top?
As we noted here the other week, Bush 43 speechwriter Michael Gerson has given a very specific look at what the Bush strategy was in 2000. Wrote Gerson:
In the summer of 1999, George W. Bush chose the first major policy speech of his presidential campaign to pick a fight with Grover Norquist. Bush flatly rejected the “destructive” view “that if government would only get out of our way, all our problems would be solved” — a vision the Texas governor dismissed as having “no higher goal, no nobler purpose, than leave us alone.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?