Jeb Bush on Civil Rights
Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect
Policy adjustments big & small are routine in American politics. Pres. Obama and Hillary Clinton both previously objected to same-sex marriage; today, they support it.
For Bush, the pattern was illustrated last week by a head-turning statement on the legalization of same-sex marriage in Florida, when he urged "respect" for the unions and offered words of conciliation to same-sex couples "making lifetime commitments to each other."
In 1994, as he ran for governor in Florida, Bush employed strikingly different language when discussing gay rights, arguing that "polluters, pedophiles, pornographers, drunk drivers and developers without permits receive--and deserve--precious little representation or defense from their governor."
Back in 2006 Bush said he was leaning towards support for a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Florida, after previously holding that the ban was unnecessary. (Same-sex marriages were already illegal under state law). But in the gay marriage debate, six years is a long time. Bush seems positioned to move toward gay marriage support if he so chose.
Bush was alternately dubbed the "best governor in America" by admirers and "King Jeb" by detractors, but few would dispute that [Bush will] "go down as one of Florida's most consequential governors."
Two months later, 10,000 black protesters descended on the Capitol on opening day of the legislative session, the largest such demonstration in decades. One of the sit-in legislators, Kendrick Meek, made it his personal mission to avenge Jeb's affirmative action decision with a voter registration drive to turn out the black vote against George. Now, most voter registration drives end in failure. Signing up new voters is one thing. Getting them to actually show up is another. Meek delivered, and the 280,000 extra black voters who cast ballots over the 1996 turnout gave Al Gore a virtual tie, broken a month later by the US Supreme Court.
This was a program that, had Jeb used some savvy in rolling it out, blacks and Hispanics could easily have embraced. Jeb's problem, as was typical, was that he reached out for their support only when it came time to roll out the proposal.
Rather, he has made it clear that he does not feel any need to specifically protect gays from discrimination. "I don't believe we need to create another category of victims," he told a lesbian couple who heckled him at a 1993 campaign event. Also in that campaign, his staff asked that caterers at a fund-raiser he held at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center remove the red ribbons that they regularly wore in remembrance of AIDS victims. Apparently these ribbons were a political statement. The wrong political statement.
All of which is a long way of pointing out that while Jeb would, in a presidential run and a presidency, hire gay and lesbian staff, the Log Cabin Republicans will probably find a more sympathetic ear somewhere else.
There was no announcement, no nothing. The official reasoning, released after the fact, was that the flagpoles had all been taken down anyway for some renovation work on that side of the building, and, when it was over, it was decided that the Confederate flag would not go back up. Simple as that. Passive voice construction--it was decided--and that was the end of it.
No one really noticed, in fact, until the local papers got a complaint from the head of the Sons of the Confederacy, the self-described nonracist group that is merely interested in preserving Southern heritage. To his credit, Jeb did not back down. He didn't even waste much breath defending his decision. The action spoke for itself.
"That's when I caught the bug," Jeb said. "I learned how to deal with people. I learned how to overcome fear: fear of humiliation, fear of not doing as well as you want to do."
Within 2 years Jeb launched himself politically. Jeb was elected chairman of Dade County GOP. As someone who played country-club tennis and spoke fluent Spanish, he was uniquely situated to bridge the chasm between the Anglos and Cubans within the party. Each group viewed the other with veiled contempt but revered Ronald Reagan--so the 36 year old son of Reagan's Vice President was well and favorably received.
Q: Do you believe that the Florida government should recognize same-sex marriages?
It is a major deviation from the society envisioned by Martin Luther King, who would have had people judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin-or sexual preference or gender or ethnicity. Eventually there will come a time when everybody will be able to claim some status as a victim of society, leaving few in society who will actually be considered the victimizers. Who, then, will be left to blame in a world in which it is victim against victim?
In 1976 the National Governors Association expressed support for ratification and implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would constitutionally guarantee full citizenship rights and opportunities for women. In 1982 the drive for ratification fell short, and efforts to initiate the amendatory process were taken.
The National Governors Association reaffirms its support for the principles embodied in the Equal Rights Amendment, i.e., that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on the basis of gender.
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2016 Democratic Candidates:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)