Floridas förre guvernör Jeb Bush, lillebror till förre president George W. Bush och son till tidigare president George Herbert Walker Bush, intervjuas här av nättidningen Esquire, där han talar ingående om sin syn på det Republikanska partiets framtid, president Obamas politik och vilka framtida frågor nationen måste ta sig an.
Jeb Bush menar att Republikanerna behöver hitta ett nytt sätt att förmedla sina gamla idéer - inte ändra idéerna i sig. Han försvarar överlag sin storebrors politik i Vita Huset men är mycket kritisk till president Obamas politik, som han dock inte vill beskriva som socialism, eftersom det ordet är så laddat, och så missbrukat i USA - men däremot menar han att Obama har en tilltro till det kollektiva framför individens egna möjligheter, helt oavsett vad man sedan kallar en sådan politik. Här följer några stycken ur intervjun:
Esquire: "Why has the (Republican) party gotten so unpopular?"
Jeb Bush: "The Democrats have won on tactics. Barack Obama would not have gotten elected if he'd let us in on his secret plan prior to the election. He would not have gotten elected if he'd said, "My idea is to create a $1.8 trillion deficit for the next fiscal year. My idea is to spend $750 billion [the president's budget estimate puts this figure at $630 billion] over the next ten years on a government-sponsored, government-subsidized health-care policy. My idea is to create a massive cap-and-trade system [based on the idea] that CO2 is [a] pollutant and we need to tax it in a massive way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions." Those ideas, which are now embedded in his budget, and the ideas in the stimulus package, weren't central in his campaign. In fact, he basically won the tax debate, which is breathtaking if you think about it. Cutting taxes is generally considered a center-right idea, not a center-left or left idea. He made it appear like McCain was going to raise taxes, which was unfair, but there was no response back. When there was an ideological component, it was generally centrist or even center-right. Had he said what he was going to do as a candidate, [Obama] would have lost."
Esquire: "Why is he so popular now?"
Jeb Bush: "First of all, who cares? His popularity is no greater — in fact it's less — than what my brother's was during the beginning of his tenure, in a time of unbelievable friction, if you think about it, because of the 2000 election. His approval ratings were higher than Barack Obama's during his first one hundred days. [Actually, according to Gallup, during the first hundred days of his presidency, Bush had approval ratings that were generally in the high 50s to low 60s, while Obama's were in the low to mid-60s.]
My guess is that there will be a push back. I think in general there was a period of time when the only new ideas were Republican ideas. It wasn't that long ago. And now one could make the case that the opposite is the case.
We certainly have lost the last two elections in terms of the tactics. In terms of the mechanics of politics, the tactics of politics, the Democrats have cleaned our clock. But beyond that, there hasn't been any kind of restatement of the organizing principles of our philosophy. And there haven't been a whole lot of ideas to come to the forefront based on that philosophy.
We haven't upgraded our message. We haven't updated it. If you close your eyes and listen to most Republicans, most conservatives, the same speech could have been given in 1990. And you can't discount that. It's a pretty important point. If people think our message is outdated, our message is not relevant to the world we live in, and I think a growing number of people may feel that, you lose your relevance.
I'm not saying abandon our principles. To the contrary: Find creative ways of expressing the principles."
Esquire: "Does the party need to change or de-emphasize its positions on abortion or gay marriage?"
Jeb Bush: "No. No, I think those are important issues to not shy away from. And I don't think that's the reason why suburban voters have migrated to the Democrats. I think it's the economic issues. We have not been able to explain why these timeless conservative principles matter in 2009.
I think the economic issues drove the 2008 elections, and to a certain extent the 2006 election. The last big election was the presidential race in 2008. Senator McCain, in spite of his life experiences, his worldview, the kind of man he is — I think he was far more qualified to be president than President Obama — he could not connect to people's anxieties and fears about the economy. He could not take our timeless principles, he could not take conservative values and express them in a way that drew people toward the belief that while we're living in these tumultuous times, the solution is not bigger and stronger government, that we shouldn't migrate toward the collectivist response and feel comforted on one level because government is there to take care of us, that there are dangers to that, number one, and, number two, the alternative is to use these basic institutions that are the hallmark of our philosophy we need to strengthen. We need to strengthen the family, we need to empower people, give them the tools to be successful. We need to reform the things that right now make it harder for families to be successful.
We're never going to win by being for more government. I think people, if they were less fearful of all the change around them, they were given some hope that there's a lush, green valley on the other side of that hill, and they were told that we needed to climb that hill together, but based on principles that have created the greatness of our country, then we would not necessarily default to ever-expanding government."
Lite senare frågar Esquire vilka som är Republikanernas framtida ledare, varpå Jeb Bush svarar att det är svårt att säga, och förklarar att president Obama var statssenator för fem år sedan, och att nästa generations ledare förmodligen är människor vi i dagsläget ännu inte känner till. Han avslöjar dock vilka Republikaner han personligen gillar, och säger att Newt Gingrich är fantastisk, och en person han mailar med. Han förklarar också att Rick Baker, borgmästare i ST Petersburg (dvs staden i Florida med det namnet) och Mitch Daniels (guvernör i Indiana) är två andra. Han säger också att han älskar Bobby Jindal och att denne är "the real deal". Esquire noterar dock att några namn saknas på Bushs lista, som inte nämner vare sig Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney eller Mike Huckabee.
Jeb Bush får sedan frågan om han anser att president Obama (som han själv aldrig har träffat personligen) är en socialist, och svarar:
Jeb Bush: "I don't know. Define socialism for me. It's a word... I believe he's a collectivist. He believes that through collective action, through government, you can solve more problems."
Jeb Bush: "Socialism is pejorative in America, so people stop listening. People are tired of it. That word won't stick. It's a turnoff. It doesn't help.
[Rejecting pejoratives to describe Obama, Jeb nonetheless mounts his central case against the president.] It's important for people who have a different view to explain the breathtaking, dramatic expansion of government. I mean, breathtaking. Unprecedented. This year's fiscal deficit will be $1.8 trillion. It's his deficit. He owns it. $1.8 trillion. That's 12 percent of our gross national product. The scope of government will — when you add federal, state, and local government on a net basis — consume at least a third of our economic activity. The deficits projected go out as far as the eye can see. President Obama says he will cut the deficit in half. Well, he'll cut it from $1.8 trillion to $900 billion — almost a trillion based on rosy GNP numbers for the next five years. The debt that will be created in his four years as president will exceed the debt that was created by all presidents before him. These are numbers that once people understand the scale of them, they'll be very concerned about.
What's the alternative? The alternative is to take time-tested practices and convert them to the world we live in. Which means you're going to cut taxes and cut spending."
Det är en mycket intressant intervju, där Bush talar om betydligt fler saker: alltifrån sin syn på den globala uppvärmningen till sina personliga politiska ambitioner. Intervjun kan läsas i dess helhet på följande länk.
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