In the Arena

Did Jeb Bush Actually Say That?

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We may be reaching critical mass in the belief that this pathetic field of Republican candidates has jumped the shark…even many Republicans have come to that conclusion. Politico today cites several sources  that Jeb Bush said this during a post-speech question and answer session the other night in Dallas:

“I used to be a conservative, and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective, and that’s kind of where we are.”

You must understand: Jeb Bush really is a conservative, and a thoughtful one at that. And yet, he manages to live on this planet, in this country, in the 21st century, and has a track record of actually trying to solve the problems we’re facing without denying that they exist or demagoguing them.  He obviously senses that the current Republican candidates are on a Jonestown course, drinking the Rush Limbaugh Kool-Aid on a wide variety of issues.

It is especially sad to watch Mitt Romney, who is not an unintelligent man, make such a fool of himself on so many issues. Part of his alleged “electability” had to do with the fact that he was not insane, that he could appeal to moderates and independents–the sliver where presidential elections are won and lost. But I’ve not yet seen him say, “Whoa guys, that’s a little bit extreme for my tastes” in any of these debates, much less disagree with his opponents from the center. Instead, he has–shamelessly and sometimes hilariously–tried to portray himself as righter than thou whenever the opportunity arises.

(MOREWhat You Missed While Not Watching the Arizona GOP Debate)

This hasn’t worked particularly well with the wing-nuts–who are, by the way, more radical than they are conservative–and, if Romney wins the nomination, his history of posturing is likely to be cataclysmic in the general election. Jeb Bush is clearly frustrated by the byplay, and his fellow Republicans would be wise to heed his words.