Jeb lightly tips hat to Obama, seeks return favor

Not to be outdone by Bill Clinton in the civility department, Jeb Bush has offered some light praise for President Obama:

The brother of the Mr. Obama’s predecessor noted that Mr. Obama had chosen the head of the Chicago public school system, Arne Duncan, as his education secretary and they had worked to focus more on school children and less on the adults running the schools.

“Any time an elected official in the world we’re in today that appears so dysfunctional challenges a core constituency not of their opponent but of their own political base, I think we should pause and give them credit,” Bush said.

The comments came after Rose pointed to comments Bush had made in April praising Duncan and saying the Obama administration had done “a pretty good job” on education policy…

The former politician, who flatly ruled out a run as Mitt Romney’s running mate in the interview, noted that he now has the luxury of being able to say what he thinks and is not constrained by political ambitions.

“I don’t have to play the game of being 100,000 percent against President Obama. I got a long list of things that I think he’s done wrong. And I, with civility and respect, I will point those out if I’m asked. But on the things that I think he’s done a good job on, I– I’m not gonna just say, ‘no, no,’ ” Bush said…

In his case, though, he’d like to see the compliment returned:

“I think it would help him politically. For example, when he was gracious at the unveiling of the portrait, you know, there’s no way not to be gracious I guess in that kind of setting,” Bush said, referring to a recent ceremony at the White House to unveil the official portrait of former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush.

“But it helps,” he said, calling it “just a small acknowledgement that the guy that, you know, that you replaced isn’t the source of every problem that– and– and the excuse of why you’re not being successful I think would help him politically.”…

Actually, I think it would, too — among people like me. But he has to worry about his base.

Unfortunately, to those who are not retired from politics, the other side is the devil these days, and one is never allowed to give the devil his due.

6 thoughts on “Jeb lightly tips hat to Obama, seeks return favor

  1. Phillip

    Let me get this straight. Obama says to a certain extent he’s modeling his foreign policy after George HW Bush; has expressed admiration for certain aspects of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and was very civil and offered praise to his predecessor at the unveiling of the latter’s White House portrait. Then Jeb attributes Obama’s graciousness to “you know, there’s no way not to be gracious I guess in that kind of setting.”

    Who’s being the churlish one here?

  2. Brad

    I think you have a good point.

    But I also think Bush nerves have pretty well been rubbed raw over the last few years, with all the demonization of a member of the clan by Dems, which was VERY over-the-top.

    And Barack Obama, who I think is personally above such, and does not feel the passion that animates it, does give lip service to it — rather as an emperor occasionally deigns to give a thumbs-down because the mob wants it.

  3. Phillip

    I’m sorry, I still don’t get how holding the opinion that a President launched into an ill-advised and ill-planned war of choice (consequently empowering an true adversary as well as neglecting the original response to ACTUAL attacks on Americans), and believing that said President’s economic policy consisted mainly of squandering our national surplus in the name of giving massive tax breaks to the wealthy, constitutes “demonization.” Whatever “lip service” Obama is giving to this so-called demonization seems to me to be a matter of saying that the policies that existed 2000-2008 were wrong in large part, and I’ve tried to move in a different direction. I just don’t get it.

    It’s like saying that all those who oppose Obamacare or disagree with Obama’s proposed defense cuts or whatever, are “demonizing” Obama. That’s nonsense. Only those who indulge in the “birther” stuff or speculate about “Kenyan anti-colonial mentality” or question Obama’s basic American-ness could be said to “demonize” him. Not those who just oppose his policies, even very strongly oppose.

    You have to let go of the fact that because so many bitterly opposed an enormous American venture that you and Bush happened to support in common, that this constitutes “demonization.” Just as I have come to accept that most of those who passionately oppose Obamacare or Obama’s attempts at a more equitable tax structure are necessarily “demonizing” him.

    What is Obama supposed to do, say “yes President Bush was a good President”? If he doesn’t think so, and doesn’t govern like it, why pretend otherwise?

  4. Brad

    Perhaps you and I use “demonize” differently.

    I certainly think that the right has demonized Obama. It’s not just the birthers who figuratively spit on the ground every time his name gets mentioned. The visceral nature of it is palpable, and highly inimical to constructive debate.

  5. Brad

    And while I appreciate your generosity in being willing to excuse most of the right from this, the fact is that the presumptive GOP nominee — a man who had to fight tooth and nail to get this far because so many in his party didn’t regard him as extreme enough — won’t denounce birthers. Not if they’re named Trump and raise money for him. (Oh, wait. “Mitt Romney accepts that President Obama was born in the United States.” Accepts. Not even “affirms,” much less “insists.” Boy, that’s really slappin’ down The Donald, eh?)

    And this is what I mean. In order to keep the angry fringes in the Big Tent and maintain a majority, reasonable men of both parties give a pass to those on their side who DO demonize the opposition.

  6. tavis micklash

    I enjoyed Jeb Bush’s comments.

    “He would be willing to take a hypothetical $10 in budget cuts for every $1 in higher revenue” said the CBS piece.

    On Fox news he said that tradeoff was a “good deal” for taxpayers.

    I consider myself a right leaning moderate. I agree completely with Mr Bush. I think this is a fair compromise. Neither side would be happy with it completely but it is the kind of responsible “grown up” solution that will get the country out of this mess.

    I also agree that in this political climate he would have got CRUSHED for this kind of herasy against the establishment. If you are not 100% behind the party you are the ENEMY of the party in this climate. Even if your last name is Bush.


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