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Jeb Bush may be the best candidate

Posted by John Reed on

If you could call an omniscient being on the phone and ask which of all the 2016 presidential candidates is the actual best, it may be Jeb Bush.

I saw one TV program compare the records of the various Republican governors: Bush, Kasich, Christie, Pataki, Huckabee, and Jyndal. Bush was the best, by far, with regard to Republican issues like fiscal responsibility, growth, education reform, taxes.

He seems to have two knocks against him: his name and his relatively weak performance in the “debates.”

First, the “not another Bush” stuff is childish analysis. You elect the best guy and who he is related to is irrelevant. Hell, a long list of presidents had screwed-up brothers: Carter, Nixon, Kennedy.

George H.W. Bush probably had the best foreign policy background and performance in office of any president ever.

I do not care for his brother, George W. Bush. He comes across as some cool guy, frat brother, rebel without a cause. A jerk. I think he is mainly responsible for Obama becoming president. He pissed off a lot of people then belatedly went Patrician and refused to respond to criticism thereby letting his enemies define him and the Republican Party.

It was clear in a number of public pronouncements including one or more by Barbara Bush that the family would not have been surprised if Jeb had become president. They were surprised when George W. did.

George W. was the wrong Bush to be president after his father. But that is what happened. It is irrelevant ancient history.

Second, the TV debate format is designed to get ratings for the moderators. It favors verbal grenade throwers and street-wise trash talkers. It bears no resemblance to the job being sought.

If you let Jeb be Jeb, he does not do debates. But it is not permissible to not do debates for better or for worse.

Jeb has been labeled as in favor of Common Core and amnesty, two fatal flaws in Republican primaries. In fact, neither is significant.

Common core is a totally misunderstood issue that not one in a hundred Republican voters could pass a quiz on. It is a non-issue. Jeb’s education record is maybe the best of anyone. To be against him on education is maddeningly opposite of the truth.

Amnesty is essentially what has been happening throughout American history and what is likely to happen in the end with regard to the current candidates. Their talk to the contrary is just that, talk. They do not have the votes to do what they claim among the voters or the Congress.

Jeb is not weak on the issue, he is too real world to pretend the demagoguery is anything other than demagoguery. If I do a sequel to my Unelected President novel, he will probably tackle immigration and do so in a way that makes Trump and the rest of them look like wusses—like militarizing the border with troops brought home from World War II and Korean War occupations—fence my ass—loaded guns including crowd-control weapons like heat rays, loud noise-projecting reflectors, tear gas—but I expect he will be prevented from continuing those efforts by Congress. 

America is a nation of immigrants, and I don’t think the current illegals are the first illegals. We are the nation of the Underground Railroad, which was illegal. Many Canadians fled the U.S. in the Revolutionary War, Indian Wars, Vietnam—which was probably illegal in at least one of the countries in question. We are also a nation of freed slaves who did not emigrate to the U.S. legally. And we are a nation of refugees from Nazi Germany and Vietnam and Cambodia and the Soviet Union and Communist China and so on.

I have my own idea about immigration. I would do it like college recruiting. Annual quotas, let the best people in the world have the slots, and enforce the law strictly. Jeb Bush is not going to advocate that because he spent too many years in government to think it’s possible.

An argument can be made that the spunk and persistence and willingness to cut ties with the past and the native country battle around the immigration laws are desirable traits and what makes Second- and later-generation Americans who were born here so dynamic compared to the rest of the world.

Raving about how tough I’m going to be on immigration is likely to be all talk because of a Congress that won’t support it and it may even prevent those who say it from getting elected to begin with.

“Get real,” may be the correct response to all the tough talk on immigration. Not that it’s impossible to deport 12 million people. I think it’s quite doable. But I think you would be stopped in process once Americans got a look at all the things that meant.

I suspect the theoretical omniscient being would say that “get real” means get Jeb.

That is not to say I think he will get elected. It does not look good now. And being the actual right guy has not been the winning formula since maybe 1988.

It’s early and I’m not finished deciding yet. But Jeb should be top five. Writing him off because of “debates” is crap.

I write how-to books for a living. Two categories of the books I write—Succeeding and sports-coaching books—require that you objectively evaluate people, yourself in the case of the Succeeding book and your players in the case of the football and baseball books. The book and movie Moneyball were about seeing through all the clutter to the basic underlying strengths and weaknesses of yourself and other people.

Coaches and employers get distracted by personalities, looks, relatives, irrelevant strengths and weaknesses. The main focus must be on who gets results in the realistic conditions.


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