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February 2015

Is Jeb Bush acting like a bully in GOP race for president

Jebbush 1994 bonifay
Jeb Bush campaign in Bonifay 1994 - Florida Memory Project

Anyone who followed Jeb Bush's three campaigns for Florida governor had to snicker a bit each time Bush has said he will only run for president if he can do it "joyfully."

Today, the New York Times discovered the less than startling fact that Bush will "joyfully" hurl a fastball straight to the noggin of anyone who dares to get in his way.

From the Times story:

Mr. Bush has vowed to run a “joyful” presidential campaign free from the seamier sides of party politics, projecting the air of a cerebral man almost effortlessly drawing together Republicans eager to help him seek the White House. But behind the scenes, he and his aides have pursued the nation’s top campaign donors, political operatives and policy experts with a relentlessness and, in the eyes of rivals, ruthlessness that can seem discordant with his upbeat tone.

Their message, according to dozens of interviews, is blunt: They want the top talent now, they have no interest in sharing it, and they will remember those signed on early — and, implicitly, those who did not. The aim is not just to position Mr. Bush as a formidable front-runner for the Republican nomination but also to rapidly lock up the highest-caliber figures in the Republican Party and elbow out rivals by making it all but impossible for them to assemble a high-octane campaign team. 

Where shall we begin.

How about 1994, 1998, and 2002. In each of those elections, Bush attempted to corner the market. It was much more difficult in his first bid for governor because Florida's senior politicos had their own organizations, their own sense of entitlement, and little desire to step aside for an upstart new-comer to the Sunshine State even if his last name was Bush.

Bush stunned them by nearly winning the primary outright. His closest rival, Secretary of State Jim Smith, reluctantly quit the race under pressure from Bush and GOP insiders who wanted to avoid a run-off battle. Smith quit and Bush lost in the general to incumbent Governor Lawton Chiles, a Democrat.

In 1998, Bush's team cleared the decks for him locking up the nomination in the same way they are trying to knock off rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Once Bush became governor, he and his team did not tolerate opposition to his ideas, his programs, or his strong-handed method of governing.

You are either in the Bush world or out of it. If you fall from grace, it is nearly impossible to get back in.

The Times story is worth reading - especially for those unfamiliar with Jeb Bush's world and his idea of campaigning joyfully.


Jeb Bush says politically it is very dangerous and could end his career

Jeb Bush believed he was starting a revolution.  "This is huger than huge and bigger than big," wrote Bush in a 1 a.m. email to Sally Bradshaw his chief of staff.

Bush also thought it might cost him a second term as Florida governor. 

"If we are unsuccessful . . . I will be Governor for four years whether that is the time I want to serve or not," he wrote to Bradshaw and her husband Paul, a Tallahassee lobbyist.

It was April 27, 1999.  A few hours earlier, Bush had learned that a legislative conference committee had approved his sweeping plan to reform education.

"I really don’t think many people understand the significance of our plan passing. In fact, I am certain that they don’t," wrote Bush.

Bush's A+ Plan  - the father of Common Core - would become law two months later. Bush's sweeping plan would fundamentally change Florida schools, throw open the doors to state-funded charter schools, make student testing a continuing measure of a school's success, and each Florida school would annually be graded from A to F. 

Since the plan's adoption, it has faced withering opposition from teacher unions and school administrators. Parents worry that students are being taught only what they need to know to pass the mandated tests. And as Bush's education philosophy morphed into a national Common Core movement, Republican conservatives would balk fearing a federal takeover of student education.

While Bush could not predict then that he would be a presidential candidate in 2016 forced to defend Common Core and education reform, he did foresee potential political peril.

 "I believe it is huge," wrote Bush. "Politically, it is very dangerous."

"It is more than worth the risk," Bush continued. "I think it will work. It is certainly worth the risk!"

 Bush closes his wee hour email sounding excited, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed by his success.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush says politically it is very dangerous and could end his career" »

Jeb Bush as Boyhood or shall we say Bushhood

 Hugh Atkins has done parodies of Barack Obama, John McCain, Mitt Romney and others. Now, it Atkins has done one of former Florida Governor - and 2016 presidential candidate - Jeb Bush. 

Atkins uses the Oscar nominated movie Boyhood "with apologies to (director) Richard Linklater."


First Amendment Foundation calls for special prosecutor

Florida Governor Rick Scott and the members of state Cabinet - each independently elected - are being urged to have a special prosecutor look at the firing of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

Scott had ducked, dodged and finally sort of admitted the firing could have been handled better. The Cabinet members are shocked, simply shocked, that they may have been misled.

Bottom line, Scott has a long, proud history of ignoring public records and public meetings requirements and seems more than happy to continue to walk the edges of Florida's Sunshine Law.

The Sunshine Law is not about the media - it's about a Florida's citizen's right to know that our government is doing.

Below is a letter release by the First Amendment Foundation today. (Note: Brian Crowley is a member of the Foundation's board of trustees).







 We are writing today to express our deep concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the firing of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey and the hiring of his replacement, Rick Swearingen.  

There is intense public interest regarding this matter and we think it imperative that an independent investigation be conducted to address the serious constitutional issues related to Mr. Bailey's departure. 

The continuing controversy erodes public trust and confidence in the highest levels of our government.  Additionally, the controversy and ensuing media coverage calls into question Florida's well-deserved reputation as having the most progressive open government laws in the nation. 

Continue reading "First Amendment Foundation calls for special prosecutor " »

Jeb Bush says Obama inconsistent and indecisive on foreign policy

Jeb and George
Former Florida Governor and nearly full-time 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush is about to give a foreign policy speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Excerpts released from his speech have Bush criticizing President Obama's foreign policy. No surprise there.

Most intriguing is Bush's determined effort not to be compared to his brother, former President George W. Bush, or his fahter, former President George H. W. Bush. 

"I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man – and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences."

More excerpts from the speech below:

My goal today is to explore how America can regain its leadership in the world. 

And why that leadership is more necessary than ever. 

American leadership projected consistently and grounded in principle has been a benefit to the world.

I have doubts whether this administration believes American power is such a force.

Under this administration, we are inconsistent and indecisive. 

We have lost the trust and the confidence of our friends. 

We definitely no longer inspire fear in our enemies. 

The great irony of the Obama Presidency is this: Someone who came to office promising greater engagement with the world has left America less influential in the world.

The United States has an undiminished ability to shape events and build alliances of free people. 

We can project power and enforce peaceful stability in far-off areas of the globe.

To do so, I believe we need to root our foreign policy in a set of priorities and principles. 

I also have been lucky to have a father and a brother who both have shaped America’s foreign policy from the Oval Office. 

I recognize that as a result, my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs’ – sometimes in contrast to theirs’.

I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. 

But I am my own man – and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences.

Each president learns from those who came before – their principles… their adjustments.

One thing we know is this: Every president inherits a changing world… and changing circumstances.

The transformation of our economy will also send a powerful message about the American system: 

Free people, free markets, free ideas … implemented faithfully… will set a powerful example of what’s possible to the rest of the world. 

Our words and our actions must match – so that the entire world knows we say what we mean and mean what we say. 

The Administration talks, but the words face. 

They draw red lines … then erase them. 

With grandiosity, they announce resets and disengage.

Hashtag campaigns replace actual diplomacy and engagement.

Personal diplomacy and maturity is replaced by leaks and personal disparagement:

The President’s word needs to be backed by the greatest military power in the world… The president should call on leaders of both parties to fix the budget and address the shortfalls in our defense spending. 

He should show leadership – and commitment to solving the problem.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush says Obama inconsistent and indecisive on foreign policy" »

Jeb Bush looking cute


Jeb baby pix
Today is Jeb Bush's birthday. The former Florida governor and all but legally 2016 presidential candidate is 62. 

Also born today - Jennifer Aniston, Thomas Edison, Brandy, Burt Reynolds and . . .

Are you ready?

Sarah Palin. She is 51.

Now ponder this  - Bush/Palin.

Oh good lord. Never gonna happen.


Jeb Bush's new website and the first chapter of his ebook is here

At 11:57 p.m.  Monday night, Jeb Bush's new website - - went online. There you can see the first chapter of his e-book touching on the emails he got, and responded to, during his first days as Florida governor.

The first chapter is called, "Please Make It Happen."

It opens with a quote from Bush's January 5, 1999 inaugural address:

"Let state government trust Florida’s communities to confront their everyday challenges, to advance the ideas that will shape our state. The best and brightest ideas do not come from the state capital, but from the untapped human capital that resides in our diverse communities."

Bush explains why he became such a huge fan of email.

. . .no time was more exhilarating than those first few weeks.

Finally we could act on what we had been talking about. We were ready to go to work. However, I didn’t want to disappear into the governor’s office.

In my inauguration speech, I said, “public servants must have the humility to listen to and trust Florida’s head, heart and soul.” And I meant it.

The best ideas would come from outside of our state capital. From Floridians. But now that the campaign was over, how could I keep track of what Floridians were thinking? I needed their energy and passion and wisdom.

Email. Everyone could email me. So they did. Millions of emails came in through our website, but it was when I made my personal email – [email protected] – public that I earned the nickname “The eGovernor.”

The all-but-announced 2016 presidential candidate quickly discovered that Floridians would not be shy about emailing him.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush's new website and the first chapter of his ebook is here" »

Letter to Attorney General Pam Bondi requests outside prosecutor

Today, the First Amendment Foundation sent a letter to Attorney General Pam Bondi expressing "deep concerns" about the firing of FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, and requesting that a prosecutor outside Tallahassee investigate possible violations of Florida's Sunshine Law.

The letter is below. 

Note: (Brian Crowley is a member of the FAF's board of trustees).

Dear Attorney General Bondi:

As you know, the First Amendment Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated for more than three decades to preserving the public’s right to know what its government is doing. At your invitation, I write to express the Foundation’s deep concerns about the transparency issues surrounding the firing of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey and the hiring of his replacement.

You have called for an outside investigation and expressed your own concern that this State’s Sunshine Laws might have been violated in the handling of the FDLE issues. The Foundation supports the appointment of an independent State Attorney from outside Leon County to investigate this matter, to consider whether criminal charges should be brought and to issue a written report with findings.

 You recognize that there is no dispute that Cabinet meetings (outside of the clemency process) are subject to the open meeting requirements of the Florida Constitution and Chapter 286, Florida Statutes. See Art. I, §24 (b), Fla. Const.

The members of Florida’s Cabinet are long-time elected officials who are in their second terms as Cabinet members and have long understood their open meetings obligations. It has been reported that Mr. Bailey indicated that he was forced out by the Governor and told by then General Counsel Pete Antonacci that the lawyer had the “concurrence” of all three Cabinet members.

Obtaining board member concurrence through back channels operating out of the sunshine on a matter that would foreseeably come before the Cabinet is the essence of an open meetings violation. Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So.2d 473, 477 (Fla.1974).

Continue reading "Letter to Attorney General Pam Bondi requests outside prosecutor" »