President George W. Bush (L) smiles at his brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush before making remarks at an event in Sun City Center, Fla., on March 8, 2006.
Photo by Chris Livingston/EPA

Jeb sticks to his odd ‘I’m my own man’ line

Jeb Bush has surrounded himself with his brother’s and his father’s policy advisers. The former governor is running for president with the donor network created by his brother and his father. In recent months, the Floridian has benefited from fundraising campaigns launched by his mother, father, brother, and son.
And it’s against this backdrop that Jeb Bush likes to tell voters, “I’m my own man.” In fact, last night, he did it again.
In the debate, Hugh Hewitt reminded the GOP presidential hopeful about the overlap between his brother’s team and his own. Bush had an answer ready.
“Well, first of all, Hugh, if you’re looking at Republican advisers, you have to go to the last two administrations. That happened to be 41 and 43. So just by definition, if you’re – and many of the people here that are seeking advice from the foreign policy experts in the Republican side, they – they served in my dad’s administration, my brother’s administration. Of course that’s the case.
“But I’m my own man.”
There’s some truth to the fact that presidents (and would-be presidents) surround themselves with experienced personnel from previous administrations. Since the United States hasn’t had a Republican president whose last name wasn’t Bush in nearly three decades, there’s bound to be some overlap.
But the response has its limits, too. When President Obama put together his team, he drew upon veterans of Bill Clinton’s administration – the only other recent Democratic White House – but he also brought on board experts from academia, think tanks, and the private sector.
If Jeb Bush is going to prioritize experience, is he bound to have some veterans from his family’s team? Sure. But that doesn’t fully explain why Mr. I’m My Own My Man has surrounded himself almost completely with members of his father’s and brothers’ team – many of whom are discredited officials responsible for a series of catastrophic decisions, and who shouldn’t have any influence whatsoever over the future of American policymaking.
Soon after in the debate, Jeb added:
“As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure. He kept us safe.”
It’s an infuriating line because it’s so terribly wrong.