Wednesday, June 07, 2006


In the latest issue of the Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes has a slavering love poem to Governor Jeb Bush of Florida. Really an over-the-top performance by Freddie the Beedle. Ed Kilgore comments on it at TPM Cafe.

Barnes remarks, as many have, that in the early '90s Jeb Bush seemed more like presidential timber than his older brother George W., and that it was a curious reversal of fortune in 1994 (Dubya winning the governor's race in Texas that year, Jeb losing in Florida) that gave Dubya the inside track to the GOP nomination for president. The title of Kilgore's post is "Buyer's Remorse," the idea being that given the spoiled legacy of Dubya's presidency, a lot of conservatives are musing wistfully, what if it had been Jeb.


My take is that Barnes is signalling the official adoption of the "wrong Bush" theory by W.'s most devoted followers. ...

To understand the significance of Barnes' column, you have to know that this once-solid-if-conservative columnist has long served as the ultimate hagiographer of W.-As-World-Historical Figure. This epiphany dates back to the 2000 presidential nominating contest, when Fred hedged bets for Bush while the rest of the Weekly Standard crew climbed aboard the Straight Talk Express. So Barnes' buyer's remorse about backing the "wrong Bush" is a big-time sign that even his most loyal supporters are abandoning him.

It's fun to imagine what goes on behind the scenes in Poppy Bush's family. I'm not sure it's a very instructive pastime, but there's something irresistible about it. Barnes quotes Jeb Bush denying that his family sees itself as a dynasty, but that denial is pretty absurd on its face. And I share Kilgore's opinion that a third Bush running for President anytime soon is unfeasible. It's easy to foresee Jeb living out his days in frustration and indignation, feeling he was denied his rightful reign in the White House. Although the Carlyle Group profits will make Jeb's a very comfortable sort of purgatory.