July 8, 2008


Jeb Inc.: Since leaving office, he has remade himself into a capitalist-entrepreneur extraordinaire but can’t escape a nagging question (St. Petersburg Times, 7/7/2008)

"Being governor of my beloved state of Florida was my dream job,'' Bush said. His tenure was marked by "a great many new initiatives'' that improved Florida's economy, education system and quality of life, he said. "Ultimately, my record speaks for itself."

When Bush came to the governor's office in January 1999, he reported that he had a net worth of about $2-million, much of it earned in partnership with a friend of his father, Miami real estate developer Armando Codina.

While in office, Bush noted that his family finances suffered because of his public service. He left Tallahassee in January 2007 reporting a net worth of $1.3-million.

Despite the dropoff, Bush declined a state pension — the only living governor to do so. His spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, says he opted out because he believed that he should serve the state for eight years and "not make a career out of the office.''

Jeb's Legacy (Mark R. Howard, 3/1/2006, FloridaTrend)
With a bias toward technology, an appreciation of a knowledge-based economy and an orientation toward policy driven by data, Bush rarely changed direction once he'd set a course. He persevered in the face of significant family issues, and his popularity survived head-on encounters with intractable issues, unions, legislators and hurricanes. He vetoed millions of dollars of expenditures authorized by his Republican friends in the Legislature but maintained enough clout that lawmakers never felt comfortable overriding his line-item edits.

"He has been the most effective governor in modern political history. From 1967 on, he has almost no peer," says Pete Dunbar, a Tallahassee attorney and former legislator who has seen 40 sessions come and go. "He was able to mobilize his public persona in a way that let him be effective better than any governor that precedes him for at least a generation."

Parts of Bush's legacy will likely endure for some time: New standards in emergency preparedness and response that have become models for the nation, for example; a new scope of powers for the governor's office, particularly in influencing the selection of judges; a state land-acquisition plan he'd once attacked; and Everglades restoration, which he went to bat for in a big way.

The state's head-turning progress in K-12 education, despite its significance, is absent from that first tier only because it's the most likely to wither from inattention. None of Bush's likely successors at this point appears to have either the understanding of policy or the passion Bush marshaled to keep the educational boulder moving. And move it he did. While some continued to criticize the FCAT, Bush's policies -- grading schools, holding systems accountable -- forced communities back into schools, narrowed achievement gaps between whites and minority groups, and stimulated significant achievement gains overall.

Bush also set a high standard in the number of women, Hispanics and African-Americans he appointed to positions ranging from appellate judges to water management board members. He named Toni Jennings, with whom he had sparred while she was Senate president, as the state's first woman lieutenant governor. He appointed the state's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, Raoul G. Cantero III, and he and President Bush helped elect Mel Martinez, the state's first Hispanic senator. As University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus points out, he translated his knowledge of trends in Florida's demographics and voting patterns into effective campaign strategies, capitalizing both on the growing number of Hispanic voters and high turnout rates in conservative, rural counties that campaigners often ignore.

In a party where the guy who's next always wins the nomination, it's his for the asking. Even without the hierarchical advantage, he's the ideal candidate: a successful Southern governor; Hispanic and Catholic by marriage; smart, personable and familiar with the process; conservative enough for the Party and Third Way enough for the electorate...

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 8, 2008 8:07 PM

That is rational thinking, the irrational has a play also in decision making. His last name is Bush. That is an irrational thing that is a drag unless a few years go by. He may be the right man, but the irrational part has to be acknowledged so long as there is a wide-spread suffrage.

Posted by: Mikey at July 8, 2008 8:43 PM

Mikey is correct. Fair or not, another President named Bush is about as likely as another named Nixon.

Posted by: PapayaSF at July 8, 2008 8:47 PM

8 years from now the country will be more than ready for another Bush in the White House.

Posted by: Patrick H at July 9, 2008 12:25 AM

Eight years from now, Bobby Jindal will be on his way to being elected president in a landslide.

Maybe Jeb can be his Secretary of Education

Posted by: H.D. Miller at July 9, 2008 2:22 AM

"Dario Moreno, a political scientist at Florida International University and a Bush admirer, says the governor hurt himself at times by not going the extra mile to explain himself and his policy choices. "There is an unwillingness to listen to people who disagree with him that is his biggest negative spot," says Moreno."

That sounds like a familiar complaint involving a Bush. Which will automatically disqualify him.

Methinks by Nov. 6, 2012, we'll be talking more about Jeb's successor Charlie Crist for the Presidency. Not to mention South Carolina's current governor (Mark Sanford).

Posted by: Brad S at July 9, 2008 7:00 AM

4 years. Maverick will step down due to health issues. Jeb/Jindal in '12.

Posted by: oj at July 9, 2008 8:54 AM

Yet Nixon won.

Posted by: oj at July 9, 2008 8:56 AM

Let's see who's going to be VP before making predictions and it won't be either Jed or Jindal. Stop talking about Crist. He's a light weight in every meaning of the word.

Posted by: erp at July 9, 2008 12:10 PM


I hope you're not one of those "conservatives" who think that a duly elected (name political title here) exists solely to make your political arguments (and take the political heat resulting from those arguments) for you. This sort of thinking is what is making most Republicans feel like battered, codependent spouses nowadays.

Seems to me Gov. Crist is a fairly solid governor, considering what has been handed to him since he was sworn in. And he's Governor of Florida, not Rush Limbaugh's spokesman (to name one prominent tax evader, er, resident). As long as he continues to be a solid governor, he's considered Presidential material.

Posted by: Brad S at July 9, 2008 1:15 PM

The Republican nominee won't be gay.

Posted by: oj at July 9, 2008 3:50 PM

Crist is not a good governor, nor would he be a good candidate for vice-president because in my opinion he leans too far to the left.

If you also lean left, then you would disagree with me as is your right, but I don't understand why the ad hominem attacks on others with whom you disagree?

It would quite surprising if Limbaugh didn't pay all his taxes, especially given the microscopic media scrutiny under which he lives, but I can tell you categorically that we pay all our taxes, but pray tell what does that have to do with my opinion of Governor Crist?

I live in Florida and around here Crist is widely believed to be gay which wouldn't be a problem for me if he didn't try to hide it -- his announcement of an imminent marriage smacks of expediency and won't fool anybody.

Posted by: erp at July 10, 2008 12:59 PM


I am throwing the ad hominems around because I, as a Republican, am getting rather sick and tired of seeing my intellectual "betters" asking my party's candidates to make their political arguments for them, and at the same time calling them bums for not adhering to every jot and tittle of the "conservative" platform. That includes Limbaugh, who by his own admission left NYC because of high state income taxes. That, to me, is tax evasion. I may be overstating that fact, but I'll continue to do so since Limbaugh thinks my party should be "brought low" this year.

If that makes me to the left of you, too bad, so sad.

The intellectual and media Right needs to realize that their precious "ideas" mean very little without PEOPLE willing to take the chance to implement them through elective office. Those same "ideas" mean LESS THAN NOTHING when those same Beltway Right people (pace, OJ) run down those same people for what end up being trivial reasons, and end up feeding the other side's political attacks. Yeah, like Earmarks is this great moral issue of our times.

Now, I may be overstating Crist's overall record and persona. But he's still a Republican. I'll still support him, regardless of issue, when he's leading the state in a reasonably competent manner. Heck, I'll probably support him even more if he were to take that trip "out of the closet," so to speak.

Posted by: Brad S at July 10, 2008 2:24 PM

And speaking of Limbaugh, I hope every media and intellectual Rightie was paying close attention to his statements in the NYT Magazine article on what got him the big bucks:

"Not my political ideas. Conservatism didn't buy this house. First and foremost I'm a businessman. My first goal is to attract the largest possible audience so I can charge confiscatory ad rates. I happen to have great entertainment skills, but that enables me to sell airtime."

If there ever was an excuse for the GOP to try their own "18 Doughty Street" web "TV Station," Limbaugh gave it to them. You have to have your own message discipline at some time.

Posted by: Brad S at July 10, 2008 2:42 PM

Brad, perhaps you haven't listened to enough Limbaugh to realize much of what he says, to wit "having half his brain tied behind his back," is tongue in check designed to drive the left crazy. I imagine he had a wonderful time putting Chafets on.

Leaving a state with confiscatory taxes and moving to a state with lower taxes is tax evasion. Who knew?

As for Crist being a Republican, just talking the talk doesn't count if he doesn't also walk the walk.

Posted by: erp at July 11, 2008 8:00 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus