This week, former Florida governor Jeb Bush took to his Facebook page to announce that he has “decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.” In other words, Bush would like everyone — but most especially Rand Paul, Chris Christie (and Mitt Romney hiding in a dark corner) — to know that the champ is here. This confirms that as far as 2016 goes, Jeb is in, and now we are met with an even greater chance of our next presidential election looking like a rerun from 1992.
Some people are actually excited about this.
Mark McKinnon, who served as a top adviser to John McCain’s 2008 presidential run, wrote in his column for The Daily Beast, “They’re both qualified, respectful of each other (shocker!), and represent the vast majority of middle America.” And if you can contain your laughter long enough, see McKinnon go on to say the Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton debates would mirror those had by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. “Jeb and Hillary would be engaging, respectful, substantive, high road, civil and, most importantly, worthy of our time and attention,” McKinnon writes.
No matter the participants, a presidential debate in the style of Lincoln vs. Douglas could never happen again because contemporary standards don’t allow it. McKinnon, like many others, are hopeful that because the Clinton and Bush families are so chummy now – former President George W. Bush calls former President Bill Clinton his “brother from another mother” and Hillary Clinton his “sister-in-law” – that an election featuring the two would maintain civility.
That will be thwarted by the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United, which opened the floodgates for corporate money in politics. Some, like Salon’s Jim Newell, are already looking forward to a well-funded battle. Describing the two sects as “the two most selfish, ruthless political families in the country,” Newell argues, “It will be funny, at least, to watch them confront each other anew in the next stage of the dialectic and remind the country what sort of creatures they really are behind all the winking, knowing backslaps.”
So on one end you have political naïveté fueling excitement over another Clinton vs. Bush election; and on another side, cynicism. Meanwhile, the rest of us are dreading yet another reminder of how dynastic our electoral process is. Moreover, while a Hillary Clinton presidency would provide a historical feat, Jeb Bush represents nothing more than another symptom of the disease that is the Bush family.
Though some credit should go to Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush for the inclusion of Black people in their administrations (more so 43 than 41), these two families produced the following: a so-so at best record on Civil Rights laws; a despicably racist campaign ad; a gross negligence in the handling of a natural disaster striking a predominately Black city.
Now we can look forward to Jeb Bush, who infamously answered the question “What will you do for African Americans if elected?” in 1994 with, “Nothing.” He kept his word, plus aided in the further dismantling of affirmative action while boosting voter suppression in the state of Florida.
And while McKinnon and fellow supporters can harp on Bush’s “moderate” positions, in order to win nomination with the Republican Party of today, he’ll have to tilt to the right. FOX News performance artists have already called for this since his announcement, though they needn’t worry, given that Bush has already contradicted himself on issues like immigration reform.
At least if someone like Rand Paul were nominated (as farfetched as that seems), we’d have someone who could challenge Hillary Clinton on her hawkish foreign policy positions while bringing new energy to the GOP by openly challenging issues that directly impact Blacks – like reforms to both education and prison sentencing.
Since I doubt any Democrat dares to, I’d love to see someone on the other side note how much Hillary’s husband helped imprison so many Black men and women with the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, which essentially rewarded states for punishing people more severely while not making any significant investments in prevention programs.
Yes, Hillary Clinton has recently claimed “Black Lives Matter,” but if they matter so much, why is Rand Paul always beating her to the punch addressing issues directly impacting us?
Reruns can be entertaining, but more so when I’m watching Martin as opposed to a presidential election. Between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, 2016 is starting to look like it’ll be the electoral equivalent of Throwback Thursday vs. Flashback Friday.
No thank you.