No matter what the polls say today I think that Jeb (not his real name) Bush will end up on the GOP ticket.
But there are two very important decisions he made while governor of Florida that should give anyone who is thinking of voting for him pause. For thoughtful voters they should be his Achilles Heels.
1. In the run up to the 2000 presidential election the governor hired a private company to purge the Florida voter rolls. That, in and of itself, is no problem. Many voter rolls have people that have moved, etc. People who no longer have the right to vote.
But in this case the focus was on purging felons, who are not allowed to vote under Florida law. Of course, the “criminal justice” system puts a higher percentage of non whites in prison than whites. And a higher percentage of poor folks, to be sure. So, this purging would effectively eliminate more black (mostly Democratic voters) than GOP supporters. Still no problem. If you are a convicted felon you can’t vote.
But Jeb (not his real name) went one step beyond. Even though the private company doing the purge (Data Base Technologies) told the Bush administration that using the parameters given to them many LEGAL voters would be purged, Jeb (not his real name) told them to do it anyway. Since they were given $4,000,000 of Florida tax dollars to do so, they didn’t complain. Yes, tax dollars paid by Florida residents were used to purge Florida taxpayers from the voting rolls.
So, for example, a felon with the name of John Jackson would be purged. But so would all other John Jackson, Johnny Jacksons and even J Jacksons. The result was that thousands of innocent people were suddenly no longer legal voters. The end result. A disproportionate number of African-American voters (who vote 90% Democratic) were purged from the voter rolls. And Jeb’s (not his real name) brother was given the Florida electoral votes by the US Supreme Court. . What effect did that purging have on the US? Would we have invaded Iraq had Gore won? Or nearly gone into a 2nd great depression? Or ignored climate change?
2. Terri Schiavo. A 26 year old woman who was found by her husband of 6 years face down in the hallway. Rushed to the hospital, she had lost too much oxygen to the brain. She was vegetative. After months on a feeding tube her husband decided to let her die in peace.
Then her parents stepped in and tried to prevent this. Then the governor of Florida stepped in and took every legal (and some say illegal) action he could to prevent Terri Schiavo for being allowed to die.
In the end, thanks to Jeb (not his real name) intervention, and despite numerous court findings for the husband, this young woman was forced to sit in a bed in a vegetative state for 15 years. Yes. 15 years of sitting with a feeding tube. Having no brain function. Having no awareness. Having all her bodily functions artificially kept intact. (In the autopsy the doctor said most of her brain had been replaced by spinal fluid).
“…In June, the medical examiner released Terri Schiavo’s autopsy, which confirmed what the judges had ruled for years based on the testimony from doctors concerning her prognosis. Her limbs had atrophied, and her hands had clenched into claws, and her brain had started to disappear. It weighed barely more than a pound and a third, less than half the size it would have been under normal circumstances. “No remaining discernible neurons,” the autopsy said. She couldn’t see. She couldn’t feel, not even pain. Forty-one years after her birth, 15 years after her collapse, Terri Schiavo was literally a shell of who she had been…”
Governor Bush used every legal tool he had to impose his will on that of the woman’s lawful guardian. And kept her “alive” , in a bed, unresponsive, for 15 years. She finally was allowed pass at the age of 41. Only because the governor had run out of legal challenges.
I would think that when Jeb (not his real name) Bush does get the nomination he will be faced with trying to explain away these two situations. He will have to explain his aggressiveness in keeping blacks from voting (a tactic now employed across a number of GOP-controlled states) and his interference in the life (or was it torture) and death of Teri Schiavo. In both cases he stretched the powers of the executive branch to bypass the law. It won’t matter to the rank and file GOP but it may matter to moderate independent voters.
A question they should ask. What kind of chief executive would he make? How would he use executive power?