One of Jeb Bush's root challenges as a presidential candidate is, rightly or wrongly, his last name. He's the son of an unsuccessful, one-term president, and the brother of a failed, two-term president whose errors and incompetence created disastrous messes we're still cleaning up.
For a while, the former Florida governor tried to overcome the problem by frequently telling voters, "I am my own man." It was, however, a tough sell -- Jeb relied on fundraising appeals written by his high-profile family relatives, and surrounded himself with his family's team of policy advisers and donors.
Over the weekend, Jeb spoke at a conference in Michigan for Republican activists and donors, where he abandoned his previous posture
altogether. TPM reported:
Bush said that the U.S. might have a better relationship with Iran, Cuba and Burma, but said that ties with countries in the Middle East and Israel have worsened under the Obama administration. The former governor said that he would improve relations with other countries as president. "I know how to do this because, yes, I am a Bush," he said, according to CNN. "I happened to see two really good presidents develop relationships with other countries."
The New York Times added
that the GOP candidate "said that he considered being related to two presidents to be one of his qualifications."
For one thing, George W. Bush was not a "good president" who "developed relationships with other countries." On the contrary, during the Bush/Cheney era, the United States' reputation, standing, and credibility around the globe faltered terribly. It's President Obama who's helped repair much of the damage
For another, Jeb Bush's clumsiness on his family legacy is getting a little embarrassing. He can say he's his "own man," or he can say he'd be a good president because of his last name, but when he makes both arguments at the same time, even the most sycophantic Bush supporters are going to notice the contradiction.
Meanwhile, Jeb's insistence last week that his brother "kept us safe," all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, continues to draw scrutiny
. Americans United for Change, a progressive organization, launched a new ad
over the weekend reminding voters that Jeb's claim about his brother's national-security legacy is hard to take seriously.
As the Washington Post reported
, the Florida Republican was evidently offended.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush thinks that a new television ad is "disgraceful" for suggesting that his brother George W. Bush didn't keep the country safe during his presidency. Bush singled out Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton in a tweet Sunday, suggesting that her "political machine" was behind a new 30-second ad that will be airing on cable news channels this week.
The Republican's message
, directed to Clinton, added, "As a New Yorker you know the leadership my brother provided after 9/11."As for the period before
9/11, Bush's message was silent on the point.
For the record, Americans United for Change is an independent group, created long before Clinton's presidential campaign, and it's not part of the Democrat's "political machine."
"It’s as if Jeb Bush believes his brother’s presidency began on September 12th, 2001. But we’re not letting Jeb rewrite history," Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change, said in a statement about the ad. "It’s convenient but not honest to ignore the facts that the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor happened on George W. Bush’s watch after dismissing warnings from U.S. intelligence officials weeks before 9/11 that Osama bin Laden was ‘determined to strike in US’ and that his terrorist network might hijack American planes."