President Barack Obama‘s 2012 re-election campaign created a narrative against Willard Mitt Romney early, and this narrative (“Mr. Moneybags/Elite/1%”) was hugely successful. The Obama campaign followed Messaging Maxim #4: Feed the Narrative. Now, in 2015, Republicans are already actively running against Hillary Clinton, the current front-runner for the Democratic Party 2016 Presidential nomination. It’s time to do the same thing and begin defining John Ellis (“Jeb”) Bush, the current Republican Party front-runner. There are plenty of examples that prove Bush is another Republican far-right extremist who would be bad for America:
- Bush supported Indiana‘s original “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Even Pence distanced himself from this discriminatory anti-gay law just days after he signed it. Pence asked the Indiana legislature to change the law to make clear that the law could not be used to discriminate against gay Americans (of course, that’s exactly what the law was designed to do). Yet Bush thought the Indiana law as originally written was just fine. Several days later, Bush shifted his position on the Indiana law. Now Bush looks like a flip-flopper who was caught behind the curve of public opinion, rather than being a leader.
- Jeb Bush got in between Terry Schiavo, her family and her doctors and inserted his Big Government into a private medical matter in a most morally reprehensible way. There’s little doubt that, as with the Indiana anti-gay law and Florida’s “Shoot First” law (see below), Bush took these actions in large part to kowtow to right wing political forces.
- Bush has a donor scandal on his hands, after it was revealed that Bush personally brought together a Florida private equity fund manager who happened to be a large donor to Bush and the Republican Party with Florida’s pension fund regulators. After Bush set up such meetings, several things happened: First, Bush steered much of Florida’s massive pension funds into private equity hands, earning huge fees for the firms involved. Second, Bush signed legislation in 2006 that shields much of Florida’s pension investments from public scrutiny. Third, Bush himself joined the financial sector after leaving office. Such conflicts of interest seem eerily Romney-esque.
- Bush signed the nation’s first so-called “Stand Your Ground” law, which we call the “Shoot First” law. This law, which has been promoted around the country by the NRA and ALEC, has led to numerous tragedies and the unequal application of justice.
- Bush has his own email scandal too. First, Bush waited seven and a half years to release all his emails from his time as Governor, which is required by Florida’s open records law. Second, it turns out that Bush also used a private, unreported email account for many emails regarding his official duties as Governor. Third, when Bush finally released his emails, he caused a privacy fiasco, as many of the emails from constituents contained sensitive personal information including not just the constituents’ email address, but also their mailing address, telephone number and even their Social Security numbers.
- Bush has hired a number of brother George W. Bush‘s advisers who created two of the biggest disasters in U.S. history: the Iraq War and the Great Recession.
If the media do their job and comb through Jeb Bush’s record the way they are doing with Hillary Clinton, there will be many more revelations and reminders about Bush to come. Rather than just sitting back and waiting, Bush’s political opponents would benefit by shaping and feeding this narrative now.
UPDATE 4/6/15 8:30 A.M.: Jeb Bush falsely listed himself as “Hispanic” on his voter registration form. Let the scrutiny begin.
Photo by Peter Stevens, used under Creative Commons license. http://is.gd/DHB07p