Daniel Tilson: Jeb Bush in Motown: Hypocrite of the week

Jeb Bush stepped through the public-policy looking glass this week, sharing his inside-out “new vision” for America, where undeniable facts slip through the cracks and fall harmlessly by the wayside of his 2016 presidential ambition.

Posing as some sort of newfangled conservative populist, Bush stepped up to the podium to address the Detroit Economic Club wearing a blindingly blue tie. Right away, you knew he was trying to appropriate the mantle of post-partisanship that was ripped off President Obama’s shoulders by Republican obstructionists before he was even inaugurated.

Bush’s prepared remarks never mentioned “Democratic” or “Republican,” because like big brother George, he wants to be viewed as a uniter, not a divider. So he attacked Democratic principles with lines like this:

“The progressive and liberal mindset believes that to every problem there is a Washington, D.C., solution.”

Flying in the face of massive statistical evidence that conservative “trickle-down” economics and anti-government, anti-tax, anti-regulatory policies have weakened the middle class, sent poverty rates soaring and created an epic American income inequality crisis, Bush claimed it was actually “the liberal and progressive mindset” standing in the way of people’s progress.

To prove his boldness and usher in a new heyday of hyper-hypocrisy in presidential politics, he did his dissembling in Detroit. That is, of course, the site of the game-saving play the Obama administration called to save the American auto industry, a million jobs and, arguably, the national economy.

When asked during a public U.S. House budget committee hearing in 2012 if he supported the move, Bush simply answered, “No.”

Par for the custom-built course already being played by a slick, self-assured rich guy, who despite all his posturing about empathy for working poor and middle-class families, has the same out-of-touch pedigree as Mitt Romney.

Despite trying in the Detroit speech to run away from that reality by disputing Romney’s infamous 2012 statement that there are 47 percent of Americans “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims,” Bush went on to say, “When it comes to ensuring opportunity and a chance at success, the most important factor isn’t government.” It’s being raised in a two-parent family, according to Bush.

Good news and optimistic messaging to millions upon millions of single mothers and fathers across the country. Forget the public assistance keeping you and your kids alive, or public education and job training that could make you self-sufficient. Put the kids in front of the TV and go find a spouse.

The entire speech, pitched so hard as “new,” was in fact a depressing mishmash of a rehash of brother George’s disingenuous “compassionate conservatism” and failed “Ownership Society” platform, along with a heavy underpinning of conservative hero Milton Friedman’s failed supply-side economics.

As usual with conservative hypocrites who talk a good game about helping poor and middle-class Americans, counting on low-information voters to lap up the eloquence of feigned empathy, the truth is still there to be found, and shared.

After proclaiming two-parent families his “first principle” in a new “Right to Rise” society (that catchy double entendre is also the name of his Political Action Committee), he moved on.

“A second principle: Growth above all.”

When you claim “economic freedom” for all Americans is rooted in “Growth above all” policies that reward only the richest people and biggest multinational corporations…you have earned my Hypocrite of the Week award.

Congratulations, Jeb.

Daniel Tilson has a Boca Raton-based communications firm called Full Cup Media, specializing in online video and written content for non-profits, political candidates and organizations, and small businesses. Column courtesy of Context Florida.


Daniel Tilson


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