Bush 2016: the Terri Schiavo Choice!

Jeb BushNow that Jeb Bush has jumped in the race to decide if he is going to jump in the race, do I have to take him seriously? I really don’t want to. It isn’t that I think he is especially worse than other Republicans. But if he actually became president, that would be the third Bush. As it is, I’m not that keen on Hillary Clinton just because she would be the second Clinton. But maybe I’m all wrong.

Maybe having a second Clinton or a third Bush would be perfect. After all, what is my problem with saying to the world, “We are a hereditary aristocracy!”? It is only that I don’t think that is what America should be. But I know full well that that is exactly what America is. There is less economic mobility in the United States than there is in most other advanced countries. So why try to hide it? America is not the land of opportunity: Bush 1988! Bush 1992! Bush 2000! Bush 2004! Bush 2016! With the missing dates there, it doesn’t sound so much like 18th century England as 21st century Russia: Putin, Putin, not Putin, Putin. The conservatives should love it!

But we should remember what a great guy Jeb Bush is. (That’s sarcasm, folks!) His career as a businessman is pretty much the same as his brother’s: his father is a well-connected ex-president and people want to suck up to him by handing money to the son. As much as my own life may suck, at least it is my own and not something gifted to me based upon my dad’s accomplishments. As for governor, well, Bush did for Florida what his brother did for the country: he moved money out of the public sector and gave it to his cronies. But that’s what we expect from a Republican, right?

In what is supposed to be a very positive look back on Bush’s eight years as governor in The Washington Post, Linda Kleindienst wrote:

Bush’s back-to-back terms were marred by frequent ethics scandals, official bungling and the inability of the government he downsized to meet growing demands for state services, including education and aid for the infirm and the elderly…

He championed tax cuts that chiefly benefited business and the wealthy, trimmed the state’s payroll, stripped job protection from thousands of mid-level civil servants, gained more power over the judiciary, exploited his Washington connections to prevent the closing of military bases and launched the nation’s first statewide private-school voucher program…

“He led the enactment of tax cuts that will drain the state of needed revenue for health care and children and senior citizens — and we already rank at the bottom of the nation in those services,” said Karen Woodall, a lobbyist for migrant workers and the poor…

Though he proclaimed himself the “education governor,” Bush’s legacy in this field was mixed at best… Florida’s high school dropout rate and per-pupil spending continued to rank among the nation’s worst. While Bush sought spending increases for public schools, they barely offset steadily growing demands on school districts, including the soaring cost of health and property insurance…

Perhaps Bush’s most grievous blunder came with the enactment of One Florida, a plan to end affirmative-action preferences for minorities in university admissions and state contracting. It sparked a sit-in by two black legislators in the governor’s executive suite — and hundreds of black college students in the hallway outside his office — and the largest ever protest-march, led by the Rev Jesse L Jackson, on the state Capitol in 2000.

One Florida was a prime example of Bush’s shoot-first, take-no-advice method of governing. It tarnished his image in the black community and alienated voters…

But that really is nothing, in my mind, compared to his behavior regarding Terri Schiavo. She was the woman in a vegetative state who Bush used all his power to make political hay out of. You probably remember that after years of making its way through the courts, Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed. But Bush got the legislature to pass a special law allowing Bush to have the feeding tube put back in. The law was found to be unconstitutional. After a few more twists and turns, Schiavo was allowed to die. At the autopsy, doctors found just what the fMRI had shown: that literally half of her brain was gone.

I found out something new today in an Think Progress article, Terri Schiavo’s Husband Speaks Out On Jeb Bush’s Presidential Bid. After the whole sad affair was over, Bush used his position as governor to investigate Terri’s husband Michael to see if the state couldn’t charge him for something because maybe he didn’t call 9-1-1 fast enough when she had her initial heart attack:

The state’s attorney found no evidence against him and closed the case. “The propriety of using your office to hunt and harass people, as the governor did to Mr Schiavo after his wife’s death, I think raises significant questions about his judgment and his character,” [Michael Schiavo’s attorney at the time George] Felos said.

It raises more than questions. It ought to be disqualifying. Of course it isn’t. The only thing that disqualifies a person from being president is a lack of money. And that’s why we stand a very good chance of having another Clinton or yet another Bush in the White House. America: the land of the aristocrats, and the home of the serfs.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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