There were moments during Jeb!’s official entrance onto the presidential glory road when I had to wonder whether he was Pat Robertson, Dick Cheney or the Man of La Mancha. I finally settled on the latter when he broke into an Hispanic tongue to prove his validity as an authentic one-of-them. For the current geographics, it won’t be the last time that an eager collegial Americano sent a personal self-serving message to an amigo or two.
But the bigger story of Jeb!’s announcement is that he reaffirmed his commitment not to be Jeb Bush. Surnames are no longer fashionable for him as he distances himself from his brother. Oh, he did most of the familial things by introducing various members of his family, including his mother Barbara!, wife Columba! and son George P! But so far as I know, Dubya might have been up in the attic usually occupied by crazy uncles.
Otherwise, it was an unsurprising script with the normal cliched promises to a well orchestrated excitable audience that he would restore America’s leadership in the world, reform immigration, preserve charter schools, oppose abortion and create a better planet for everybody without committing himself to supporting climate change even though the waters around Miami have risen several inches. The audience shrieked its approval. (But that isn’t hard to produce. Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff used to say that if he wanted a lively audience for a visiting pol, he merely had to ship a couple of cases of beer to the campus).
Jeb! did seem anxious to straighten out the harsh Cuba of Fidel Castro even though we hear regular reports of American business reps shooting across the water in their Lear jets or whatever to nail down some good deals before the oppressed Cuban laborers start demanding minimum wages
He also went after the clubby culture of Washington for creating the economic mess left behind by Brother George! that is slowly turning around under Barack Obama. No matter. By now, he figured, we should have a chicken in every pot. I did think it was crude of Jeb! not to mention that both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court are owned by Republicans.
Yep. the Man of La Mancha, with a lot more windmills to tilt before the next election. For all of his effort so far, Jeb! Whatever! still comes over as a frozen TV dinner. It’s supposed to be factory filling, but there’s not much else to commend it.
P.S. Donald Trump, who described himself as $8.5 billion “rich”, is the latest to arrive from Jurassic Park, mockingly in overproduced anger, mugging, hissing, snarling and words that told us there is but one great leader to save America -The Donald! Nobody can buy him, he declared with the assertive confidence of an $8.5 billion man. But who would want to?