On Tuesday night, Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush complained bitterly about conditions in Iraq, which he blamed on President Obama and his team, rather than the disastrous war launched and mismanaged by his brother. It was a topic Jeb should have gone out of his way to avoid, but the Florida Republican jumped in, head-first, anyway.
A day later, the former governor decided to go after Hillary Clinton’s emails. Once again, it’s a topic Jeb should have gone out of his way to avoid, but the Florida Republican jumped in, head-first, anyway. NBC News reported:
The former Florida governor also knocked Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state. Clinton’s campaign on Tuesday announced it would hand over the server to the Justice Department. “It looks like she’s hiding, the way she’s going about this I mean disclose it,” Bush said. “The FBI took it, it’s a little bit different than disclosing it.” […]Bush cited his own release of 33 years of tax returns and his own emails from his time in government as proof that his approach is superior to Clinton’s.
Right off the bat, when someone turns over a server to the Justice Department for review, as part of a probe in which that person is not a target, that’s not “hiding.” It’s the exact opposite.
But the more striking problem is Bush’s willingness to cite his own record. It’s one of the more obvious failures of self-awareness seen on the campaign trail this year.
Revisiting our coverage from March, the Washington Post reported the details that show just how vulnerable Bush is on the issue he’s now focusing attention on.
Jeb Bush used his private e-mail account as Florida governor to discuss security and military issues such as troop deployments to the Middle East and the protection of nuclear plants, according to a review of publicly released records.The e-mails include two series of exchanges involving details of Florida National Guard troop deployments after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the review by The Washington Post found.
The Washington Post’s report on the security risks surrounding Jeb Bush conducting official business on his private account coincided with a New York Times article, which noted that it took the former governor more than seven years “to comply fully with a Florida public records statute” on email disclosure.
The report quoted a non-partisan expert with the Florida-based First Amendment Foundation who said Bush’s disclosure policy was “a technical violation of the law.” The governor was required to turn over records pertaining to official business “at the expiration of his or her term of office,” and the Republican waited more than seven years to meet these obligations.
By some accounts, Bush “did exactly what Hillary did.” After he and his team went through official emails, they decided “what were public-record emails and what wasn’t.” The fact that he also appears to have ignored state law and created security risks only complicates matters further.
Stepping back from these relevant details, I’m also struck by Bush’s truly bizarre judgment as a national candidate. When he went on the offensive on the Clinton email story, did he not think his own, nearly identical problems would emerge? Or was this a case in which Team Jeb went on the attack without bothering to recognize their vulnerability?