The Jeb Bush record

By Tom Quiner


I like Jeb Bush.

Yesterday he announced that he is “exploring” a presidential run.  In light of his family name and its ability to raise money, a Bush III candidacy warrants  a closer look. Is he a conservative?

Mr. Bush will be a formidable candidate, no doubt about it. So what does his record reveal? It’s a mixed bag.

As governor of Florida, he did some good things, like cutting taxes by $19 Billion, privatizing some state jobs, and promoting school vouchers.

He stood up for Terry Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman whose husband wanted (and succeeded) in removing her feeding tube so she would die and leave him with a huge wad of money.  I like the way Jeb Bush stood up for human life even as liberals screamed for the plug to be pulled.

He battled wasteful spending, vetoing $2 billion in pork barrel spending projects.

He helped advance a program that provided tax credits for companies that donated money to scholarship programs for private schools, such as Catholic schools. In fact, opponents claimed that Mr. Bush injected his Christian religion into politics too much, such as using state money to create “faith-based prisons.”

He essentially ended “affirmative action” programs in Florida (aka reverse discrimination) by executive order, which took political guts.

On the issue of abortion, Mr. Bush signed into a law a bill that allowed the state to issue “Choose Life” license plates. He signed a bill that required parental consent before a minor could receive an abortion.

His political adversaries on the Left criticize him as being beholden to the Christian Right. What many don’t realize is that Jeb Bush is a Catholic convert who was attracted by the sacraments of the Church and their belief in absolute Truth.

He rejects the insistence of liberals that one’s faith should be kept private and disengaged from public life. Mr. Bush by all appearances is quite comfortable publicly embracing his faith.

Animated by his faith, he signed laws that strictly regulated human abortion clinics, something liberals rage against. He successfully secured state funding for pro life groups to counsel and encourage abortion-minded young women to carry their child to term.

Jeb Bush consistently opposed human abortion as Governor of Florida and used his clout to secure funding to advance the pro life cause.

So far, so good.

So what’s the case against Jeb Bush from a conservative view point? There are serious concerns, beginning with his embrace of a “Common Core” curriculum. Conservatives question a one-size fits all, top-down curriculum imposed by an increasingly hostile-looking federal government.

Do we really want Obamacare for education?

Mr. Bush’s educational record in Florida is stellar. Fine, but let’s keep the feds out of it.

A liberal president like Barack Obama used federal purse strings to coerce governors to adopt Common Core standards. A conservative president, in theory, could eliminate the coercive aspects of Common Core, keeping the best parts intact. No less a conservative than former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, has suggested there is a case to be made for the Common Core concept. Nonetheless, the past six years have left conservatives justifiably skeptical of any further intrusion into our lives.

Jeb Bush’s embrace of Common Core is a strike against him, but not a deal killer.

Conservatives have serious concerns about his approach towards immigration reform. Mr. Bush characterized illegal immigration as “not a felony, but an act of love.”  He may be right, but bleeding heart rhetoric like this concerns conservatives.

Even more, Mr. Bush calls for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, providing they plead guilty to having entered our country illegally as an adult. He states that President Obama’s recent amnesty executive order went beyond the powers of the presidency. Mr. Bush believes that ultimately immigration reform must come from the Congress.

He calls for “comprehensive” immigration reform from Congress which includes tighter border security. Many conservatives would prefer a more piecemeal approach to immigration reform beginning with border security.

Mr. Bush’s immigration solutions deserve a closer look. On the surface, most conservatives aren’t comfortable with his approach.

On the tax front, Jeb Bush won’t sign any “no tax pledges” and acknowledges that tax increases may be necessary to solve our structural budget deficits. Conservative thinking lays the blame for deficits on a spending problem, not a tax problem, so Mr. Bush’s tax position concerns them.

In his defense, his father famously pledged, “read my lips, no new taxes,” and then famously caved to liberal pressure and increased taxes. Jeb Bush doesn’t want to find himself in a similar predicament. Nonetheless, his willingness to consider more tax increases is a serious red flag for any candidate trying to woo the conservative base of the Republican Party.

Political commentator and radio talk show host, Steve Deace, comes down hard against Jeb Bush:

“… Jeb Bush is never going to be elected President of these United States.



It doesn’t matter whom the Democrats nominate, provided that person is sane and doesn’t vacation in Thailand with NAMBLA. Jeb Bush cannot win. That’s not an opinion. That’s not a preference. That’s simple historical fact.”

Deace goes on to describe Mr. Bush as a rich “corporatist shill” who sits on the board of a company that “aggressively promotes Obamacare.” This type of candidate, states Mr. Deace, never wins for Republicans. (See Mitt Romney.)

Finally, the Wall Street editorial board had a different concern about Jeb Bush. They aren’t sure he has the “fire in his belly” to pursue the type of campaign necessary to reclaim the White House for the Republicans.

This blog is keeping an open mind about Jeb Bush.  I like his pro life record. I like the way he governed Florida, which is a tough state to govern.

But the strikes against him do concern me.

How about you?






  1. 49erDweet on December 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I believe he started off Conservative enough but has morphed into a big government “E’ Republican, and I don’t trust him.

    • quinersdiner on December 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks for weighing in. Your concerns seem legitimate.

  2. dennisfrelick on December 18, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Rand Paul is a candidate that I believe would uphold the Constitution in a manner worthy of respect. I don’t feel the same about Jeb Bush. Thank you for being open about his record instead of sticking up for everything he does. Nice job!

    • quinersdiner on December 18, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Dennis. I don’t have the warm fuzzes for Rand Paul. I don’t for Jeb Bush either, but I could be won over, I suppose. I really do like Dr. Ben Carson at this point, but I am keeping an open mind. The Republicans have a lot of good potential candidates.

  3. Shawn Pavlik on December 18, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Speaking as a teacher, common core is not the “evil” it is often espoused to be, especially the way we are going about it in my district. We are in the process of identifying “priority standards” for each course. The nice thing is, we are able to winnow down the standards so we hopefully will no longer be teaching curriculum that is a mile wide and an inch deep, and instead will teach for understanding. The problem in the past was that standards were so numerous and specific that they really did tell you exactly what you should teach, but the common core is more broad and allows for a lot of adaptation by the individual teacher. It helps that they adopted most of what NCTM did for their math standards, so the math curriculum is really pretty good. I feel much better about my courses going forward and feel I will be able to teach a much more rigorous curriculum.

    • quinersdiner on December 19, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Thanks for your great input. I’ve read a lot of reports about how CC dumbs down curriculum. Glad to hear it’s not all bad.

      • Shawn Pavlik on December 19, 2014 at 8:07 am

        In reality, common core aligns the curriculum really well, so there is less re-teaching. So teachers can actually teach for understanding and mastery, rather than teaching the same thing that they taught last year. It has shrunk the number of topics I will teach, but will require me to teach those topic much further in depth.

        • quinersdiner on December 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

          Good to hear. Thanks!

  4. bluebird of bitterness on December 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Oh, dear Lord, please — no more Bushes, no more Clintons, no more Obamas…