If you were to elect Jeb Bush as President in 2016 he wants you to know something… one of his priorities will be to “weave a web of civility” with people who don’t agree with him.
In a conference call for the Alabama Republican Party earlier this week, Jeb Bush answered a question about the things he would try to get done first upon his election as President. He listed a number of important issues that he planned to deal with as soon as he could, but then he went on to mention something a bit more nebulous. Weaving a web of civility with Democrats…
“Those three or four things would be the first things that I think are important,” he said. “The final thing I would say, Terry, which may sound a little unorthodox is to actually talk to Democrats. It’s extraordinary this president has no relationship with Republicans. There’s no trust because our president doesn’t believe that is a priority. You know, to fix big things, you have to do it in a bipartisan way. There’s never been a time in American history where you jam it down the throats of the other party and expect a good result. Obamacare and Dodd-Frank – these are examples of horrible policy and it was done without any support of any single Republican. So if we weave a web of civility where you don’t violate your principles by actually talking to people who don’t agree with you – it’s an essential part of restoring democracy in this country so we start fixing things.”
I really don’t have a problem with this kind of language or with the idea that we need to return some civility and decorum to the political arena. What would trouble me – is if Jeb Bush actually believed it was within his power to do this on his own.
Politics has always (ALWAYS) been filled with mean-spirited rhetoric and mud slinging. It doesn’t make it okay, it just means that we should recognize that politicians have a penchant for saying whatever it takes to get their way. Also, Democrats don’t care if Republicans aren’t saying rude things about them… they’ll still call us evil, hatemongers, homophobes, racists, misogynists and anti-poor. (Even though it’s all untrue.) Republicans have spent years taking the moral high road, and it doesn’t mean anything to Democrats.
Think about it – when Trent Lott wishes Strom Thurmond a “Happy Birthday” and off-handedly says things would have been better if he’d been elected President… he’s forced to resign and apologize. Meanwhile Chris Dodd said of former KKK “kleagle” Robert Byrd, “I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia that he would have been a great senator at any moment. He would have been right at the founding of this country. He would have been in the leadership crafting this Constitution. He would have been right during the great conflict of Civil War in this nation.” What happened to Dodd? NOTHING.
The point is this. Democrats and Republicans play on two totally separate moral fields. Republicans have always been (and will always be) held to a higher standard when it comes to morality and ethics. When a Republican candidate commits adultery, it becomes a major campaign issue that threatens to derail the politician’s political career. When a Democrat is arrested doing cocaine with a prostitute and then berating the cops who are arresting him… he gets reelected.
I hope Jeb Bush realizes that it doesn’t matter how nice he is… this dynamic won’t change.