Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jeb Bush

As regular readers of my work know, I share a belief with folks like Florida scribe Shelton Hull that understanding how stories are told in professional wrestling can be key to understanding the ways in which stories are told in the political realm. One canonical plot device in pro wrestling, by way of example, is the heel turn. A face, or good guy, has a partner with whom he wins the tag team titles. They lose the belts and then the first cat’s partner “attains individual glory” by winning a singles strap. Angry, the first cat turns “heel” (or bad guy) on his partner, the new champion. This heel turn sets up a feud between the two; the motivation, obviously, is the betrayal, and fans theoretically will side with either the betrayer or the betrayed.

In politics, as in wrestling, motifs recur. One of them is that every so often a political figure will meet his fate when he takes an ill-advised airplane flight (and who knew, by the way, that the Wright Brothers would have such a political legacy?). Another is that politicians switch parties from time to time. These high-profile switches usually come with attendant rewards, as they give new life to the politicians who make them. For examples, one need only consider the examples of Norm Coleman or Jim Jeffords, both of whose profiles weren’t hurt by their acts of reinvention.

For all of their presumptive political courage, the fact remains that neither Jeffords nor Coleman are destined to be players on a truly national level. These are regional guys, and the benefits they accrue from their switch obviously come with limits. Certain members of the pundit class have speculated as to what the ramifications would be of a figure like John McCain turning Democrat. Sounds radical, to be sure, but the most effective political defection of 2003 should be that of the Fixer himself, Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Jeb has a number of built-in advantages making such a switch more plausible than it seems on the surface. As the nearly successful, virtually absentee campaign of Janet “Gassed Her Own People” Reno indicates, the Florida Democratic party grants a certain leeway to carpetbaggers and opportunists willing to run under its banner. The Bushes are not known for fixed principle; is it really such a stretch to imagine Jeb switching his position on abortion or Homeland Security enough to have him branded as a dangerous radical of the Tom Daschle variety? Given how folks like Lawrence Eagleburger and Poppy Bush were given such play when debating the finer points of the imminent ground-game in Iraq, one can imagine Jeb getting a lot of political mileage by embracing even the positions of the Democratic Leadership Council.

For the Bushes to pull this off, it would take a convergence of certain factors. A couple of fall guys; rube local Republicans who could read Jeb out of the party and declare him a traitor to his principles. Painting Jeb Bush as a softie on some hot button issue would make for amusing television; Jeb pronouncing how his positions have evolved in the face of certain exigencies, or that “mistakes were made” in his earlier political career, or that he’s looking to “embrace inclusiveness” would transcend the comedy category and allow him to reinvent himself as a plutocrat and a populist all at once.

It would be no great accomplishment for Jeb to write a book, less of one to hire a hack to write it under his name. Some amorphous tome with a bombastic title; a “Reinventing The Democratic Party”, or a “Politics of Hope and Change”, or, better still, “Beyond Compassionate Conservatism”. Al Gore parlayed such a prop into intellectual credibility, and it is no stretch to imagine a Bush book garnering favorable reviews across the spectrum of admissible political thought. The 2004 Presidential Campaign, if all went well, would be a good old-fashioned tag match: the Incumbent President and his mystery partner squaring off against brother Jeb and some attractive Vice-Presidential candidate. A respected figure of the center like Senator Rockefeller of West Virginia would fit the bill nicely. That would be an election with no losers and all of us — the American people! — as winners.

ANTHONY GANCARSKI, a regular contributor to CounterPunch, recently had his work recognized in Utne Reader’s “Web Watch”. Email him at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com.

 

More articles by:

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Cesar Chelala
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lockheed and Loaded: How the Maker of Junk Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 Came to Have Full-Spectrum Dominance Over the Defense Industry
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s “Psychological Obstacles to Peace”
Brian Platt – Brynn Roth
Black-Eyed Kids and Other Nightmares From the Suburbs
John W. Whitehead
You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail