In a speech before the nonpartisan Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Wednesday afternoon, Jeb Bush made his first major address on foreign policy before officially declaring his candidacy for President.
One of his main goals, and challenges, is to somehow separate himself and his ideas from his brother, George W. Bush, as much as humanly possible. He coined the phrase, “I’m my own man,” which is making its way through media headlines. But, instead of charting out smooth waters for himself, instead he ended up creating a few ripples – painting himself into a huge corner – that is if you actually listen to what he’s saying. Okay, that’s putting it lightly. He ended up making a huge fool out himself.
Jeb Bush first takes the stage and mentions that he is a little “intimidated” being at the forum that day. It’s not hard to see why this is the case. He makes a number of key fundamental blunders, not only in stage presence, which is common when your last name is Bush, but more importantly, with the fundamental substance of his ideas and policy proposals.
Truth be told, he didn’t lay out a lot of details. In fact, that was one of the biggest pitfalls of the night. If you’re going to make a speech, have something to talk about. It was all fluff. He laid out a lot of rhetoric, thereby leaving everyone in the room questioning if he even knew what he was talking about.
In fact, there was so much rhetoric, he didn’t even leave enough time in between sentences as he was reading from the podium to allow for people to applaud. Rosie Gray, of Buzzfeed, tweeted:
He looked like he couldn’t wait for this thing to be over.
As such, the audience was absolutely silent. There was no applause, and its not even sure if there were periods of silence, that they even would have applauded.
In an attempt to distance himself from the line of Bushes, he said:
Just for the record, I love my brother, love my dad, and love my mother as well, if that’s okay. I’m my own man and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences.
It’s good to be your “own man.” But, he didn’t mention what those differences were.
The blunders were oh, so apparent. He wasn’t sure how many ISIS fighters there were, saying that there were more than 200,000, but that was a gross exaggeration on what the actual number was. Later a Bush spokesman had to correct him: “He misspoke. He meant more than 20,000.” But, with that aside – all he said about ISIS was that the United States needed to “take them out.”
Big, bold ideas, you have there. What other great idea’s on foreign policy do you have for us?
Jeb said that the Obama administration was in error for trying to negotiate with Iran, since it would endanger Israel and the world by simply managing the Iranian nuclear program – when it should be eliminated, instead.
Let’s fact check for a moment: The Obama administration wasn’t the first to start negotiating with Iran. In fact, George W. Bush was. His administration’s officials conceded during his presidency that “there was no way to reach a deal without Iran retaining at least a face-saving amount of enrichment capability.”
Obama only started the latest round of negotiations after reaching an interim agreement with Iran that it freeze its nuclear program and roll back its stockpiles of enriched uranium – a condition similar in nature to George Bush’s “freeze-for-freeze” requirement in order for them to start formal negotiations – which Obama is now doing.
This just proves Jeb Bush has no idea what he is talking about. He doesn’t even know his own brother’s foreign policy positions.
Jeb also must not know how much is currently being spent on the defense budget, when he said that the President needs to show leadership by “building a strong defense.” Another idea, with no details.
His exact words:
We are on a path of only spending 2 and a half percent of GDP on our military. This is dangerous. We need a comprehensive review of our military spending to make sure we are living in a secure world.
What planet is he living on? First off, there is a comprehensive review done every single year on defense spending when the budget is created. We spend more on defense than the next 10 top spending countries combined. The military is not asking for any increases in spending, but we want to spend more, anyways? This is recklessness.
In an attempt to have some experience to talk about, he mentioned his travels to Latin America, where he worked on trade deals. He diverted most of his talking about foreign policy to economics, since it was clear that he didn’t have much to speak about.
Perhaps his funniest line of the night was when he said that he had to force himself to take trips outside of the United States, “at least 4 times a year,” to get a better idea of what was going on in the world around him.
Maybe, he should spend more time learning the fundamentals, like reading books entitled: Foreign Policy 101. He can even read it on those long trips, that seem to be working so well for him.
H/T: Chicago Tribune | Featured Image: Jeb Bush