Controversy erupted earlier this week when 2016 GOP candidate Jeb Bush made a statement that took many aback. While being interviewed by Fox’s Megyn Kelly, the former governor and presidential hopeful who has always been considered to be better than average “going off the cuff” and speaking without a script, said that he would invade Iraq “knowing what he knows today.”
The statement sent a huge backlash even across conservative circles. Talk show host Laura Ingraham went off on a now famous tirade chastising Bush for not towing the “new” republican mantra that the invasion was indeed a mistake and of course do some rewriting of history along the way.
Now Mr Bush is trying to backtrack from those statements on the Iraq invasion. Something he has been doing a lot of lately. In fact, he has now had to attempt to clean up at least three statements just in the last six weeks. To clean up the newest mess on the Iraq question, he chose the GOP friendly venue of Sean Hannity’s radio program. On that program the former governor said the following;
“I interpreted the question wrong, I guess. I don’t know what that decision would have been — that’s a hypothetical. Simple fact is, mistakes were made.”
Mr Bush and Hannity attempted to make it like “others” had interpreted everything wrong as well in their typical revisionist ways.
You can hear the goalposts move HERE:
The first problem is, it isn’t a “hypothetical” at all. Not in the sense politicians mean it usually. Even Ingraham pointed that out in her tirade. Politicians play the “hypothetical card” for events or actions that have yet to unfold and in situations where they don’t have access to vital information. Sometimes it’s justified. Sometimes it’s not. Here, it definitely is not. We know the invasion was a mistake. We know Bush’s brother and his allies lied us into the Iraq invasion. There are no ‘hypothetical variances” to consider here as everything is known today.
Furthermore, Jeb Bush keeps insisting that “everyone believed the bogus intelligence.” That simply is not true. If we get into the “wayback machine” we can clearly see that at least 23 senators didn’t buy into the false claims. Add to that 133 representatives in the other congressional hall. Some voted for the war not because they believed everything but for other reasons as well including that they believed that the war authorization would serve as a deterrent and could perhaps avoid war.
Many remember security expert Richard Clarke, who had vast support across party lines questioning the administration’s intelligence and backing his questions up with hard facts in both testimony and his book. The career of Valarie Plame was ruined in an attempt to squelch dissent from the Bush-Cheney blood lust for war in Iraq. To top it all off, support for the war at the time of invasion was hardly universal and quickly deteriorated as a form of “buyer’s remorse” set in almost immediately after.
So no, Mr Bush, there was no universal acceptance of your brother’s lies. And, you are lying by continuing that falseness.
To go a step further, if one is paying attention to what Mr Bush said in the Fox interview with Kelly, what he said then (that he would invade, just like his brother) was what he believes and we can prove this. All one has to do is go to Jeb Bush’s brother George’s own recent words.
When asked if the invasion was a mistake and given an opportunity to come clean, this is what George W. Bush had to say, “No, I think it was the right decision.”
So when Jeb answered Kelly on Fox News, he wasn’t misinterpreting anything. In fact later on in his interview on Fox, Jeb Bush states that this attempt by some to “drive a wedge between him and his brother” won’t work as they are like-minded in their view.
This controversy is on the heels of two other statements the candidate has made in recent weeks. When Indiana’s RFRA legislation passed and caused a huge uproar, Bush tried to play it like there was no “there-there” and the bill wasn’t discriminatory. A day later, when the nation pushed back against the legislation, Bush had a sudden change of heart saying that Indiana would certainly change the bill to not be discriminatory.
The other backtrack happened when one of candidate Bush’s top advisors, James Baker had the nerve to appear at a well respected gathering of Jewish leaders that billionaires like Sheldon Adelson consider “too liberal.”
Even liberals like Chris Matthews have praised the former Reagan stalwart as a level headed, rationally thinking statesman who looks out for the country over party when push comes to shove. And the group that he appeared at, J-Street, is about as well respected as organizations of that type go. Again, within a day or two, Jeb found himself walking his statements back after the polls showed he wasn’t on the right side of the issue once again. But instead of coming clean, Bush threw the statesman under the bus without hesitation, citing his age as the reason for his appearance – like he was so old he didn’t know where he was. In many pols eyes, it was a disgraceful way to cover his own butt.
Jeb Bush has prided himself on being the guy who doesn’t need the script, because he knows everything so well and is so cock-sure of his knowledge that he simply couldn’t screw anything up. But he has now, just three times in six weeks. And his gaffes aren’t of the “funny Joe Biden” type that are more often than not somewhat inane and harmless. Bush is talking about defending the lies that his brother sold to get us to invade Iraq so the big oil companies could resume the operations they had enjoyed in past eras before they were tossed out of the country.
In another he is lying about legislation that affects millions of people.
Finally, in the third instance, he is throwing one of our nation’s greatest statesman under the bus to appeal to his wealthy conservative backers.
Then there is the fact that he came into this campaign declaring himself “his own man” while lining up basically his brother’s old team to advise him. His staff and adviser list reads like a rerun of Dubya’s team. The shamelessness of that claim tells us Bush is simply shameless about his lies and just hopes we won’t notice or care. Again, it is the family tradition.
Jeb Bush is a liar and as much an opportunist as anyone, despite his cool demeanor and “above the fray” persona. That makes him more dangerous than a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul who are just easier to spot with their brash styles. He follows his family’s tradition of being some of the best liars in public service and is in lock step with his father and brother when one strips away his diplomatic and somewhat (relatively) intellectual exterior.
Hopefully the American people will see that before it’s too late this time and we won’t be stuck with another lying member of the Bush family serving as president in 2016.
Featured image via Photobucket