ForAmerica, a group founded by longtime conservative commentator L. Brent Bozell, is releasing a short online video on Thursday designed to raise questions about Bush's conservatism. The premise of the film is built around an appearance Bush made in 2013 alongside former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton. Bush, as chairman of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, awarded the group's Liberty Medal to Clinton during an elaborate ceremony on Independence Mall on Sept. 10, 2013, a day shy of the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead.
It's hardly a secret that some on the far-right have concerns about Jeb Bush's presidential campaign. The former Florida governor is obviously very conservative, but he also supports Common Core standards, which the right tends to hate, and has expressed some closer-to-the-mainstream views about immigration reform.
But Ed O'Keefe reports today on a conservative group that's labeled Jeb Bush "unelectable" for an entirely unexpected reason.
Even for the right, this is an odd one. ForAmerica put together a 69-second video showing Jeb Bush presenting Hillary Clinton with an award a year-and-a-half ago. The clip shows the Republican thanking Bill and Hillary Clinton "for your service to our country. We're united by love of country and public service." Simple, generic, non-committal language from a high-profile figure from one high-profile family to another.
The video, however, concludes with the word "unelectable," red and in all caps. And why, pray tell does this rather innocuous exchange disqualify Bush?
ForAmerica's Bozell, a fixture of far-right activism for many year, said in a statement, "Anytime Jeb calls Hillary 'Obama 2.0,' any criticism he makes of her awful record as Secretary of State, any time he shows how much of an extremist she is on the issues, will be completely dismissed when she reminds everyone that he gave her an award for public service. As it stands, Jeb has absolutely no credibility to criticize her because he has already anointed her as a great public servant; and he inexplicably did so almost a year to the day of the Benghazi massacre."
Apparently, if the National Constitution Center's award ceremony had been held on, say, July 10, 2013, Bush would have merely annoyed the Republican base. But Sept. 10, 2013 is close to Sept. 11, 2012, which evidently makes this scandalous.
I was under the mistaken impression that there was no way to connect Jeb, Hillary, and the Benghazi conspiracy theory. Clearly, I just wasn't creative enough.
Simon Maloy joked, "It's almost enough to make you feel sorry for Jeb. All he did was participate in a time-honored tradition among political elites – giving each other awards as a celebration of shared power and influence. It probably didn't even occur to him that by putting a medal around Hillary Clinton's neck he was implicating himself in the most significant and far-reaching political scandal of our age."