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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 

Dynasty

In a shocking, shocking turn of events, Pres. W. Bush has publicly encouraged his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, to run for President.

Thankfully, it'll never happen, because by the time W. is out of office the Bush surname will be poisonous. H.W. wasn't great, but at least he didn't leave the kind of intensely negative legacy that W. will. How could Jeb possibly dissociate himself from the mess his big brother will leave us with? But even given that, could anyone possibly think that this is a good idea? We've had two Bushes and two Adamses, but could three Presidents from the same family really be worth it for our democracy? Two is already pushing the envelope, while three is drifting dangerously close to a hereditary monarchy.

The George W. Bush Administration has already been one of the least democratic (lowercase d) in the history of the nation. Do we really need to create (continue?) an American royal family by electing yet another Bush? It's not like we have an incentive to do so: Bush's father was a failure, Bush himself is a failure, and there's nothing to suggest that Jeb wouldn't continue the family tradition. There's not a reason in the world to elect another Bush, and every reason in the world not to.

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Jeb was supposed to be the president, not W.

Jeb ran for governor of Florida in 1994 against Lawton Chiles, a former U.S. senator and governor, and a legendary figure in the state. He was probably akin to the Humphrey or Mondale of Florida.

Jeb was leading all through the race. Then, just days before the election, Chiles made a speech in which he predicted an upset, using the phrase "the old he-coon hunts just before dawn."

It got huge publicity and was seen as a shrewd invocation of his Florida roots. He beat Jeb very narrowly.

Meanwhile, W was elected governor of Texas in 1996, and Jeb went on to become Florida's governonr in 1998. But by the time Jeb actually became governor, it was too late for him to mount a credible presidential campaign in 2000, so they went with W.

If Jeb had beaten Chiles in '94, he alomst certainly would have been the GOP nominee in 2000, not his brother.

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