Jeb Bush Is No Moderate

Eric AltermanAccording to the recent Times coverage, Bush is a “moderate” and “centrist” who wonders “whether he can secure the Republican nomination without pandering to the party’s conservative base,” as it explained in one story, and “whether he can prevail in a grueling primary battle without shifting his positions or altering his persona to satisfy his party’s hard-liners,” as it explained in another. Reporter Jonathan Martin adds: “Though [Bush] is deeply conservative on some issues such as taxes and abortion… he has pushed for an immigration overhaul that would include a path to citizenship for people who are here illegally.” In fact, Bush did do this, before changing his mind because of opposition from Republican crazies and deciding that “permanent residency” for unauthorized immigrants “should not lead to citizenship,” calling that “an undeserving reward for conduct that we cannot afford to encourage.” …

On economic matters, Bush endorsed Paul Ryan’s punitive budget that seeks to zero out virtually all federal assistance to the poor. He also supported George W Bush’s deeply unpopular plan to privatize Social Security. On social matters unrelated to abortion, Jeb sees “very strong justifications” for restrictive voter-ID laws that are transparently designed to reduce minority participation. He not only opposes gay marriage but says he “personally” believes that gay couples should be denied legal adoption rights; he also opposes all legal protections for LGBT people, calling them “special rights.” He happily signed the NRA’s “stand your ground” legislation, which led to the legal murder of Trayvon Martin. Regarding science, he has moved from the completely ridiculous position of disputing the fact of global warming to the only slightly less ridiculous one of questioning whether it is “disproportionately man-made” — a position that puts him at odds with approximately 97 percent of the world’s qualified climatologists. On Cuba, he has also sided with the crazies. The list continues almost indefinitely.

True, Jeb Bush may be a “moderate” or “centrist” in a context where one of America’s two political parties has all but gone insane. But without such context, those labels are a lie…

—Eric Alterman
A Great Newspaper’s Shame

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