Jeb Bush: The Hard-Core Right-Wing “Moderate” Conservative Republican

Jeb Bush Former Governor of Florida

Jeb Bush
Former Governor of Florida

By Elaine Magliaro

Last week, Mike Spindell wrote a posted titled Jeb Bush Is Not Who You Might Think He Is. Mike said that one of the political traits of the Bush family is presenting its members as “folksy” and as moderate conservatives. He added, “The reality though is that this clan is far more ultra-conservative and rapaciously vicious, than is thought by many.”

Adam C. Smith, Political Editor for the Tampa Bay Times appears to have a similar opinion about Jeb Bush’s political leanings being much farther to the right than many people think. In early December, Smith wrote a piece for the paper titled Jeb Bush, a moderate squish? Florida knows different. Smith said that radio host Mark Levin dismissed Florida’s former governor as “a very good moderate Democrat…” Smith added that the “specious perception of Bush outside of Florida reflects both a fundamental misunderstanding of the man, probably due to assumptions based on the presidential records of his father and brother, and also how far rightward the Republican Party has shifted since Bush left the Governor’s Mansion in 2007.”

Smith brought up examples of Bush’s less than moderate actions while he served as governor of Florida that some members of the media and the population may have forgotten–or have chosen to ignore.


The governor who treated trial lawyers and teachers union leaders as enemies of the state? Who stripped job protections from civil servants? Who slashed taxes? Whose passion for privatization included enacting the nation’s first statewide private school voucher program and extended to privatizing health care for the poor, prisons and child protection services?

This “very good moderate Democrat” defied court after court to try to force the reinsertion of feeding tubes for brain-damaged Terri Schia­vo and consistently backed more restrictions on abortions and fewer on gun ownership. He fought for reduced entitlement spending and, deriding nanny-state impulses, repealed the helmet law for motorcyclists in Florida and vetoed a GOP-backed bill requiring booster seats for kids in cars.

Smith continued by saying that Jeb Bush was not only “a successful Republican governor politically…”–he was also a “conservative activist governor who relished pushing the envelope on policy.” Smith added that while “Conservative activists elsewhere may revile the Bush name…,” Bush is like a Milton Friedman or Barry Goldwater in terms of promoting conservatism “in America’s biggest battleground state…”

Despite all this, Smith said that Jeb Bush may still be perceived as “too moderate to win over today’s GOP primary voters.” He thinks that is because of Bush’s positions “on immigration reform and education that are toxic in a Republican primary.”

Scott Maxwell (Orlando Sentinel) also scoffs at the idea of Jeb Bush being a middle-of-the-roader in an article he wrote for the paper titled Jeb Bush a ‘moderate’? Don’t be silly. Maxwell said that Jeb really wants to be president–but noted that pundits fear that’s he isn’t conservative enough. They think “he’s too moderate.”


That fear is about as legitimate as me fearing my abs are too ripped.

Jeb Bush is a union-busting, school-voucher-promoting, tax-cutting, gun-loving, Terri Schiavo-interfering, hard-core conservative.

What makes Bush different from a lot of the other candidates is that he’s also sane.

And somehow, in our increasingly extreme society, sane is now mistaken for moderate.

Especially when it comes to Republican presidential campaigns.

Maxwell said that Jeb Bush is not “conservative in the libertarian get-government-out-of-your-life kinda way.” He said that Bush, instead, is “conservative in the I-want-government-to-impose-my-values kinda way.” He noted that as the governor of Florida Bush “was pro-guns and anti-unions…pushed tax cuts for investors and opposed equal rights for gays…expanded school vouchers and hatched ‘devious plans’ to fight voters’ calls for smaller class sizes.” Maxwell added that Bush also “embraces the death penalty, opposes choice for women and fought embryonic stem-cell research.”

Maxwell warns readers not to “let anyone con you into thinking Jeb Bush isn’t conservative.” He is just saner and appears more reasonable than some of the other Republicans–including Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum–who ran for president in 2012.


Adam C. Smith: Jeb Bush, a moderate squish? Florida knows different (Tampa Bay Times)

Jeb Bush is Not Who You Might Think He is (Flowers for Socrates)

Jeb Bush a ‘moderate’? Don’t be silly (Orlando Sentinel)


Jeb Bush for President???: Looking Back at the Terri Schiavo Case (Flowers for Socrates)

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20 Responses to Jeb Bush: The Hard-Core Right-Wing “Moderate” Conservative Republican

  1. Anonymously Yours says:

    The TriArchy of Evil is emerging…..

  2. Elaine M. says:

    Jeb Bush is no moderate and he won’t fight climate change
    By Ben Adler

    This week, following months of slobbering coverage from mainstream and nominally liberal journalists, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) announced that he will “actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States.” If anyone suggests that could be good news for the climate, don’t buy it.

    Center-left establishment journalists like to demonstrate their nonpartisan credentials by finding at least one Republican presidential candidate to hold up as the exemplar of reasonable, intelligent conservatism. In the 2012 race, that was Jon Huntsman, who accepted climate science and eschewed homophobia. A close look at his platform showed he was actually extremely conservative. This time, it will be Bush. The difference? Bush, especially when it comes to climate change, is no Jon Huntsman. Like Huntsman, he is not moderate. Unlike Huntsman, he is neither intelligent nor reasonable. But, also unlike Huntsman, he could actually win the Republican nomination.

    Lazy pundits wrongly assume that Bush is immune to the extremism and ignorance that have come to dominate his party because he has sometimes taken centrist stances on two issues: immigration and education. Here are some of the recent accolades Bush has received. Ruth Marcus, a liberal columnist at The Washington Post, on Oct. 28:

    Run, Jeb, run. …

    It would be good for Bush’s party and good for the country. …

    A Bush candidacy would deviate from party orthodoxy on numerous issues, most notably immigration and education reform; a Bush nomination would usefully yank the party toward the center. …

    A saner Republican Party would produce saner, more productive politics.

    Chris Matthews, MSNBC host and former House Democratic staffer, on Dec. 2:

    [L]ots of noise now about 2016. Jeb Bush seems like he wants to run but he wants to run on his own terms. He’s not going to become a wacko bird. He’s not going to join the clown car. He believes in education, he believes in Common Core education. He believes in immigration, good immigration. He is different than some of those Ted Cruz types out there. And he’s not going to cross-dress and pretend he ain’t.

    Matthews asserts that Bush is generally mainstream in his views, but only cites immigration and education as examples. Marcus claims there are other issues on which Bush would be moderate, but she doesn’t name any of them. Perhaps that’s because there actually aren’t any. On taxes, abortion, health, public safety, civil rights, gun control, and regulating industry to protect the environment, Bush is a staunch right-winger.

  3. Inga says:

    It appears because Bachmann, Perry, Santorum and others extremists have lowered the bar so severely that reasonable rightists like Bush appear like middle of the roaders. Jeb may not be batshit crazy, but he’s crazy enough for Republicans to nominate him and to ensure a big turnout. He’ll play on his right to life history because conservatism has shifted that far right to make this appealing to them. I can’t wait to hear him scramble when immigration comes up in a debate, who knows that may be his downfall with the conservative base.

  4. Elaine M. says:

    Meet The New Bush, Same As The Old Bush
    by Alice Ollstein & Kira Lerner
    Posted on December 16, 2014

    In a message posted on social media Tuesday, former Florida governor and political dynasty member Jeb Bush (R) confirmed rumors that he “will actively explore the possibility of running for President” and will soon begin “a conversation about restoring the promise of America.”

    Though often called “moderate” and “centrist” by fellow Republicans and the mainstream media, Jeb Bush’s record reveals a far-right ideology on an array of social and economic issues. And while pundits are expressing concern that the legacy of his brother, former president George W. Bush, would harm his ambitions, his policies have closely mirrored those of the last Bush in the White House, and his own career and legacy present several major problems.

    He doesn’t recognize exceptions to abortion restrictions. When a severely retarded woman was raped and impregnated while in the care of the state, Bush asked a court to appoint a guardian for the fetus in an effort to block her abortion. While serving as governor of Florida, Bush also signed legislation requiring teenage girls considering an abortion to notify their parents unless they received a notification waiver from a judge. He also supported a “choose life” license plate, approved in 1999, which directed state funds to anti-abortion groups…

    He has worked to suppress voting rights. Florida currently has one of the worst restrictions blocking many convicted felons from voting, even after they are released from prison. In 2000, Bush’s administration also misidentified 12,000 eligible voters, more than 40 percent of which were African American, as convicted voters and purged them from the voting rolls. He was later subpoenaed to appear in a federal civil rights suit that looked into whether voting rights were violated in the election…

    In 1999, he abolished affirmative-action in higher education and state contracting through a unilateral executive order, triggering widespread protests across the state. His other major education reform, a statewide voucher program that directed taxpayer funds to private schools, was declared in violation of the Florida Constitution. He has also continued his firm support for Common Core education standards, a position that has put him at odds with other state Republicans.

  5. Inga says:

    He’s a big government conservative, the worst kind. His record of interfering in people privacy should give pause to real libertarians. I’m still seeing those who say they’re libertarians not standing up for small government when it comes to social issues. How do libertarians think that these restrictions on what people do with their own bodies or those of their family whom they are legal representatives of, will be enforced? It would require a huge expansion of government to control that many people’s private lives.

  6. swarthmoremom says:

  7. eniobob says:

    He probably will have more money behind him(Jeb) that is but the outcome will be the same.
    Deja vu:

  8. buckaroo says:

    Quod enim mavult homo verum esse, id potius credit.– For what a man would like to be true, that he more readily believes.
    — Bacon, Francis

  9. Inga says:

    So basically the libertarian principle of getting government out of people private lives get thrown away when it comes to abortion. Also, the rights of the fetus trumps that of the grown adult woman apparently. It’s hypocrisy. Libertarian only when it suits. No different than the run of the mill conservative, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul, the only difference being that Rand Paul is supposedly against foreign wars of choice.

  10. swarthmoremom says:

    Inga, Yep. Rand Paul is more extreme than Jeb on that issue. He is the author of the “personhood” amendment.

  11. swarthmoremom says:

    “Ta-Nehisi CoatesVerified account ‏@tanehisicoates tweet

    The powerful can cloak their politics in an air of centrist magnanimity then condemn the powerless for being “partisan” or “political.” “

  12. markcaesar says:

    I enjoyed this post about Jeb. I like him even more now then before I read this. Thank you for taking the time to write it!

  13. swarthmoremom says: “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is suddenly leading the pack of 2016 presidential hopefuls in the Republican Party.

    A CNN/ORC poll released on Sunday found Bush with the support of 23 percent of Republicans, 10 percentage points higher than his nearest rival, New Jersey Gov. Chris Cristie.

    The poll provided further evidence of how Bush has shaken up the field since his announcement he’s “actively exploring” a presidential bid, an aggressive early move that thrilled the donor class.

  14. blouise says:

    I have no idea why he’s going through all this early announcement stuff. We all know one timely call to the Supreme Court ensures his “election”.

  15. pete says:

    One must keep up appearances lest the rabble grow uneasy.

  16. Elaine M. says:


    He’s going through “all this early announcement stuff” in order not to lose donors who might give money to other presidential hopefuls.


    “House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) spoke at a 2002 meeting hosted by a white nationalist group, the Washington Post reported Monday.

    The Post reported that Scalise “confirmed through an adviser that he once appeared at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.”

    Louisiana blogger Lamar White first reported over the weekend about Scalise’s alleged appearance in May 2002 in Metiarie, La. EURO, as it is know, is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist group and “a paper tiger” to sell books and otherwise publicize the work of former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana representative David Duke.

    White’s report was based primarily on contemporaneous forum posts on Stormfront, a white supremacist website. Scalise was a state legislator at the time.

    Two top-shelf congressional reporters, the Washington Post’s Robert Costa and Politico’s Jake Sherman, followed up with Scalise’s office about the report.

    They got slightly different responses, though Costa ultimately reported that Scalise had confirmed the appearance.” No wonder Jeb seems like a moderate.

  18. blouise says:


    How many thousand of my poorest subjects (the rabble)
    Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
    Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, …

    O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile (the rabble, again)
    In loathsome beds and leavest the kingly couch …

    Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown ….

  19. blouise17 says:


    I suppose those justices have off-shore accounts that need a bit of fattening up

  20. Elaine M. says:

    Jeb Bush shaped by troubled Phillips Academy years
    Possible presidential candidate had tumultuous four years at Andover school

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