The usual reasons given by conservatives for their disapproval of Jeb Bush are his apostasies on illegal aliens, and his support for Common Core. While I also hold these same reservations, that is not what creeps me out about the guy.
For instance, my opinion of his tenure as Governor of Florida is generally positive, and all indications are that he was an able leader of that state. But lately, he has been justifying his pro-illegal alien stance with saccharine-schmaltz like:
“Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family.”
This was the first such pronouncement (which caused everybody’s heads to turn), but since last April, there have been more nausea-inducing statements like this. I guess why I find them so offensive is that he confounds sentimentality with morality. To make an analogy with the art world, it is like confusing Thomas Kinkade with DaVinci’s Last Supper.
This type of moral error is popular among the ditzier elements of the left. For instance, I remember a documentary from the seventies where some bleeding-heart activist-type spoke about the violent crime problem in New York’s ghettos, “all these people need is love.” Riiight. My reaction to Jeb Bush when he speaks this way about illegal immigration: riiight.
(Incidentally, unlike the new-age crowd, the hard-core left has no illusion about how the world works. Read the blood-curdling works of Lenin, Trotsky and Saul Alinsky. They are absolutely hardheaded and realistic about how to get and keep power).
For what it’s worth, Jeb’s brother, George W, is also prone to this kind of fuzzy thinking, particularly in his second term when he allowed it to get the better of him. I think this was one of the reasons that allowed the punitive expedition against Iraq and Afghanistan to morph into an unending missionary war for democracy. Secretary of State Condi Rice was once asked if the she thought the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip wanted democracy. She replied yes, everybody wants democracy.
Earth to the Bush Administration: no, they don’t. A significant segment of the populations in Venezuela, Argentina, the Middle East, Russia and China have no taste nor desire for democracy or freedom. They yearn for a barrel-chested strongman. In Germany in the early 1930’s, a clear majority voted for explicitly anti-freedom, anti-democracy parties: the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or the communists. Even among North American conservatives, some isolationists seem to admire Putin and other tyrants (cf Pat Buchanan). Are these people wrong? Yes. Are they blockheads? Absolutely. But their opinions, as wrong as they may be, have to be realistically accounted for.
One of the President’s roles is to be the United States’ chief strategist. The worst sin a strategist can make is to refuse to see the world as it really is. For this reason, there is absolutely no place in any President’s world-view for wishful thinking. Sound moral principles yes – schmaltz no. That is why, every time Jeb Bush makes a sanctimonious pronouncement about illegal aliens (while passing over the criminal and welfare-seeking and terrorist elements within that group in silence), he further demonstrates to me his unfitness to hold the high office he is seeking.