I don’t know what I thought. I guess I thought that Joke Line had slinked off to some tropical retirement hideaway. Out of sight, out of mind, mainly. But, apparently, he’s back and this time he’s got a man-crush on Jeb Bush.
It’s not that he agrees with Jeb Bush on major substantive things that actually matter, like what kind of policy we should have toward Iran or Cuba. But Jeb’s got a good temperament.
…Bush’s speech wasn’t exactly a barn burner. His delivery was rushed and unconvincing, though he was more at ease during the question period. He was criticized for a lack of specificity. But Bush offered something far more important than specificity. He offered a sense of his political style and temperament, which in itself presents a grownup and civil alternative to the Giuliani-style pestilence that has plagued the Republic for the past 25 years…
…And after giving his speeches a close read, I find Bush’s disposition far more important than his position on any given issue. In fact, it’s a breath of fresh air. I disagree with his hard line toward Cuba and the Iran nuclear negotiations, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say about reforming Obamacare. His arguments so far merit consideration, even when one disagrees with them.
The important thing isn’t that he substantively disagrees with neo-conservatives like John McCain. The important thing is that he doesn’t get “chesty.”
There is none of John McCain’s chesty bellicosity. Bush makes no false, egregious claims, on issues foreign or domestic. He resists the partisan hyperbole that has coarsened our politics. He even, at one point in his foreign policy speech, praised Obama for the position he has taken on–get a map!–the Baltic states.
We may have to create a website just to mock Joe Klein every time Jeb says something false or egregious of issues foreign or domestic. “Read My Lips, No False Claims.”
This next part will make you want to use a claw hammer on your cerebellum.
Bush’s economic vision is traditionally Republican. He believes the economy is more likely to grow with lower taxes than with government stimulus. He doesn’t bash the rich, but he doesn’t offer supply-side voodoo, either. The American “promise is not broken when someone is wealthy,” he told the Detroit Economic Club. “It is broken when achieving success is far beyond our imagination.” He is worried about middle-class economic stagnation, about the inability of the working poor to rise–his PAC is called Right to Rise. His solution is providing more opportunity rather than income redistribution. We’ll see, over time, what he means by that.
We’ll see, over time, whether it occurs to Klein that Jeb’s brother already showed us what it means to govern as if lower taxes will grow the economy, or what an aversion to government stimulus is worth when the real world intervenes and the global economy collapses. We’ll find out if Klein can remember Dubya’s Ownership Society and all his blathering about opportunity.
Does Jeb mean anything different from his brother when he says these things? Do they have a better chance of working just because Jeb says them without a smirk on his face?
Are we really so grateful to have one Republican who knows how to comport himself in polite society that we’ll put that over his positions on issues?