Jeb Bush on Principles & Values
Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect
"All too often we're associated with being 'anti' everything," Bush said. "Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates even though they share our core beliefs, because those voters feel unloved, unwanted and unwelcome in our party."
The only way to attract these new faces to the party, Bush said, is through building real, ongoing relationships with others over a long period of time. "As Republicans, we need to get re-acquainted with the notion that the relationships that really matter are not made through Twitter and social media. Real relationships take time to grow, and they begin with a genuine interest in the stories, dreams and challenges harbored within each of us," he said.
But though our nation was founded on those ideals and continues largely to hold fast to them, America does not hold a monopoly over them. Quite to the contrary, millions of people around the world cherish those ideals and strive toward becoming Americans.
The morning after the election, around 4 AM, Wednesday, November 8, Florida governor Jeb Bush left the Texas Governor's Mansion and boarded a private plane for Florida. His state was descending into controversy, and he needed to be there. Jeb was on the ground at the small Tallahassee airport around 8:30 AM Jeb called me. "We've been invaded," he said. An election for president was transforming into an epic legal battle.
On Election Day, these instructions were printed for voters to see: "After voting, check your ballot card to be sure your voting selections are clearly and cleanly punched and there are no chips left hanging on the back of the card."
Some saw it as a two-step procedure:
Criticisms typically include the insinuation that Jeb helps out his rich friends so that they will give him campaign money. Nothing, in Jeb's mind, could be further from the truth, for two reasons. First, he promotes policies advanced by rich people because, to him, it makes total sense to do so. If someone is rich, it means he or a recent ancestor has proven himself on this Earth, and his opinion is therefore on its face more valuable than that of a poor person. And second, Jeb promotes the interests of the rich not because they give him money and support, but because he truly believes that doing so is in the nation's best interest.
A decade and a half after his first appearance in statewide politics, it became clear that there was some truth to the original sales pitch. Jeb does seem more thoughtful and analytical than his father had been, and is obviously much more so than his older brother. But to focus on these differences downplays a far more important truth: that Jeb's agenda and his views on most major topics are virtually identical to that of his father and brother, with at best minor refinements.
Jeb has been more of a mixture of those two. Unlike his brother, he does enjoy governing as well as campaigning. But like his brother, and unlike his father, he has seen the advantages of governing as if he were campaigning.
There are real public policy consequences for this style of leadership, not the least of which is an enervating unease for everyone around him, including even the leaders of the legislative and judicial branches. Everything is a fight--with us, or against us. Everything is a crisis.
This hyperenthusiastic acolyte was the sort that, upon reading Jeb's company handbook, "A Message to Garcia"--an 1899 tract that glorifies the virtues of doing what you are told and not asking any questions--rather than shaking his or her head sadly at what a loon the boss was, instead believed it was simply brilliant, and tried to get his or her own friends to read it.
Florida was not well served by this--a fact that even Jeb seemed to recognize: "Sometimes, if you don't always focus on creating a climate on where staff members' opinions are valued, you don't get them. That's a weakness I think I've gotten significantly better on, but it continues to be a weakness."
And finally someone asked where Jeb was going next. With the familiar, pinched grin, Jeb told us: "I'm going to Mass."
Something like that, on a day like that, there should have been absolutely no reason for it not to ring true. And yet...it was somehow off, just a little bit. He knew that whatever he said was likely to be widely reported. He was going to Mass. He was a good Catholic, and in a time of trouble, he was seeking solace in prayer.
Why the need to get this message out? Because unlike his brother, Jeb had never been a particularly public Christian. It was more important to be a Christian, in the immediate aftermath of September 11, in the high-contrast, Christianity-versus-Islam worldview that set in.
Maybe he could transmogrify his Foundation for Florida's Future into something with a more national-sounding sweep--Foundation for America's Future, say. This would give him the benefit of reusing some of his dad's stationery from his own Fund for America's Future political action committee from the 1970s and 1980s.
Ultimately, if indeed Jeb is hobbled by the myth or reality of Americans' "Bush fatigue," there is one certain cure: Hillary.
Should the senator from NY appear to be the Democratic front-runner, either in 2008 or later, that would immediately provide Jeb a ready answer to those who argue against a Bush dynasty. "We're going to have a dynasty," he could say. "The question is which one do you want? My family's? Or hers?"
Floridians have bravely faced the rigors of our paradise: wildfires, alligators, mosquitoes, hard freezes, fruit flies, flash floods, citrus canker, and, of course, hurricanes. But we still enjoy our sunrises and sunsets. We are quick to help a neighbor in need, and reluctant to take "no" for an answer. We still gaze in awe at the sight of a space shuttle launch, and welcome tourists with open arms.
We have made the most of our cultural quilt: from a domino game on Little Havana's Calle Ocho to Friday night football in a Panhandle county seat. In our diversity, we are distinctly Floridian.
Mom remembers Jeb being a newborn, and Robin waking up one morning and saying, "I don't know what to do this morning. I may go out & lie on the grass and watch the cars go by, or I might just stay in bed." Mom didn't think that sounded like a normal 3-year-old, so she took her to the pediatrician, who ran some tests and gave them the results: leukemia.
Dad explained to an interviewer years later: "I said, 'What does that mean?' The doctor said, 'Well, it means that she can't... she can't live. You can treat her, or you can let nature take its course.' So we treated her. She was very precious."
When I asked Jeb recently whether Watergate and the stress it was placing on Dad in any way cast a pall over his wedding, he answered, "He was gracious and accepting even though I placed this burden on him--of not even knowing the love of my life until the night before the wedding... No talk of Watergate."
Lord knows, there was plenty of commentary to go around.
"When a national leader accused Jeb and George of using Nazi tactics, and the media didn't really respond to that, I was outraged," Dad said. "But it was more than just the political outrage: it was the hurt of a father who has pride in two wonderful sons who would never use such tactics. So it was a period of anxiety, but if George had lost, it wouldn't have been the end of the world for us."
How could two men who fought so hard to beat each other bury the hatchet and start a working partnership as if nothing had happened? To be candid, my brother Jeb maintains Dad is being used. "President Clinton's advisers have figured out that, in terms of character and integrity, a rising tide lifts all boats," Jeb said. "So I could see President Clinton's motivation. Apparently, he is a very likable person. I believe Dad does it because it was important to show the world that partisanship is such that having a nonpartisan relationship between 2 former presidents is good."
Overall, only a handful of voters think Jeb Bush would make a good president. About one in five (22%) think the governor would make a good choice and 57%disagree. As Jeb Bush is relatively unknown to many Americans, it’s a safe bet that much of the reaction is based on his last name and Bush fatigue.
Among Republicans, 43% think Jeb Bush would make a good president, and 26% disagree. Fully 81% of Democrats and 61% of independents do not think he would be a good choice.
“These results have almost nothing to do with Jeb Bush personally,” the pollster said. “Most Americans know little about him. The negative reaction flows from his brother’s current low approval ratings and, most probably, from a natural aversion to too long a ‘dynasty’ in American politics.”
By law, Jeb Bush cannot seek a third consecutive term as governor. There has been speculation in political circles that he could run for president, but he has insisted he will not run in 2008. ”I think Jeb would be a great president, but again, it’s up to Jeb to make the decision to run,“ President Bush said.
"I'm not going to lie to you and say we were thrilled," Barbara told one writer. In fact, Barbara was so worried about her son's marriage to a Mexican that she sought advice from her friend the society columnist Ymelda (nee Chavez) Dixon: "I told Barbara, 'As long as the girl hangs a sign around her neck that says "Bush," she'll be fine."
Jeb, who spoke with his wife in fluent Spanish, was spared her further social discomfort in Houston when the Texas Commerce Bank transferred him to Venezuela in 1977 for two years to handle international loans.
Values have replaced virtues as our moral lighthouses, and there are many different value systems present in our culture. Our character-building institutions have bought into the idea that we have to recognize all kinds of value systems and, instead of providing us guidance, now provide us with tools to justify a wide variety of deviant behaviors. In other words, they do not teach our children right from wrong, but rather how to make informed choices.
Our children need direction, not choices. If we give them the proper direction, the principles by which to live their lives, then in the long run they will be more likely to make the right choices. We must become more virtue oriented and less value oriented.
It is important that we begin to discuss virtue and character in the context of those who exhibit true virtue and character on a routine basis. We must elevate the people who are redefining our culture every day for the better for they are the profiles in character from whom we must learn.
Following their lead, we must make a conscious effort to practice even small acts of character and virtue. If we roll up our sleeves and do our part, the answer to our cultural problems will come.
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Since their initial meeting in 1908 to discuss interstate water problems, governors have worked through the National Governors Association to deal with issues of public policy and governance relating to the states. The association’s ongoing mission is to support the work of the governors by providing a bipartisan forum to help shape and implement national policy and to solve state problems.
Fortune Magazine recently named NGA as one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying organizations due, in large part, to NGA’s ability to lead the debate on issues that impact states. From welfare reform to education, from the historic tobacco settlement to wireless communications tax policies, NGA has influenced major public policy issues while maintaining the strength of our Federalist system of government.
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|Other governors on Principles & Values:||Jeb Bush on other issues:|
Newly seated 2013:
IN: Mike Pence (R)
NC: Pat McCrory (R)
NH: Maggie Hassan (D)
MT: Steve Bullock (D)
WA: Jay Inslee (D)
DE: Jack Markell (D)
MO: Jay Nixon (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
UT: Gary Herbert (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WV: Earl Ray Tomblin (D)
Up for election 2013:
NJ-R: Chris Christie
NJ-D: Barbara Buono
VA: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli
VA-D: Terry McAuliffe
Up for re-election 2014:
AK: Sean Parnell
AL: Robert Bentley
AR: Mike Beebe
AZ: Jan Brewer
CA: Jerry Brown
CO: John Hickenlooper
CT: Dan Malloy
FL: Rick Scott
GA: Nathan Deal
HI: Neil Abercrombie
IA: Terry Branstad
ID: Butch Otter
IL: Pat Quinn
KS: Sam Brownback
MA: Deval Patrick
MD: Martin O'Malley
ME: Paul LePage
MI: Rick Snyder
MN: Mark Dayton
NH: Maggie Hassan
NM: Susana Martinez
NV: Brian Sandoval
NY: Andrew Cuomo
OH: John Kasich
OK: Mary Fallin
OR: John Kitzhaber
PA: Tom Corbett
RI: Linc Chafee
SC: Nikki Haley
SD: Dennis Daugaard
TN: Bill Haslam
TX: Rick Perry
VT: Peter Shumlin
WI: Scott Walker
WY: Matt Mead