Feature

The baggage Jeb Bush would carry

The former Florida governor made the rounds of Sunday talk shows, ostensibly promoting his new book.

Peter BeinartTheDailyBeast.com

“Jeb Bush will never be president,” said Peter Beinart. The former Florida governor made the rounds of Sunday talk shows this week, ostensibly promoting his new book on immigration but, at the same time, obviously auditioning for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Asked if he would carry “Bush baggage” if he chose to run, Jeb said no. “History will be kind to George W. Bush,” he insisted. Sorry, Jeb, but “history is written by historians,” and they consistently rank your older brother as one of America’s worst presidents, in the same tarnished category as Millard Fillmore and Warren Harding. The public agrees: In polls, only Richard Nixon is less popular. No wonder, given that Dubya turned a budget surplus into a $1.3 trillion deficit, presided over the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, and badly botched the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. If Jeb ran in 2016, opponents would try to tie him to his brother. As Jeb made clear this week, he would find it “excruciatingly hard” to distance himself. In fact, he “doesn’t even want to try.”

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