Jeb Bush formally announced his candidacy for president of the United States. While he certainly has the name recognition, it is precisely his name, and the legacy that comes with it, that could be both one of his greatest assets and political obstacles.
Aside from being yet another Bush – a name that still evokes more groans and hisses than it does admiration – Jeb is attempting to present the appearance of a thoughtful and compassionate conservative as concerned about marginalized Americans as he is about fairness and justice. But beyond the rhetoric of empathy and equality, Bush has clearly and unequivocally demonstrated in both word and deed that he is, despite his public relations campaign to the contrary, simply more of the same.
Jeb’s nascent campaign has already struck a number of key low notes, including his ambiguous and utterly ridiculous mishandling of the question of support for his brother’s illegal war in Iraq. Jeb also recently made highly provocative statements about Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him a“bully” as he set to distinguish his bellicosity from the perceived weakness of Obama when it comes to Russia. Moreover, Bush is raising money at a staggering rate from all the usual Beltway insider sources, including powerful Wall Street interests and lobbyists representing everyone from Saudi Arabia to Wal-Mart and Microsoft.
Indeed, far from being an independent man with his own ideas and politics, Jeb represents precisely the same tradition, and unquestionably the same potentially disastrous outcomes, that his name implies.