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Amazing contrast between today’s NYT and today’s WaPo treatments of Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba. And surprisingly, it’s the NYT that does the puff piece, so puffy as to be a whitewash. And it’s the Post that does the journalism.
In the very long NYT article, you get down about 2/3 of the article — a long way from its front-page start — before you read this sympathetic portrayal of smuggling:
But Mrs. Bush also found the public spotlight searing. Returning to the United States in 1999 from one of her regular trips to Europe, Mrs. Bush lied to customs officials about her overseas purchases: She said she had spent only $500, but receipts were found for $19,000 in clothes and jewelry. A spokesman for Mr. Bush said at the time that she had underreported the goods because she did not want Mr. Bush to know how much she had spent. (Mr. Bush is known among his friends as frugal with his own clothing, at least.)
The episode only increased Mrs. Bush’s reluctance to deal with reporters, and her desire to withdraw from public scrutiny.
And then it’s back to all her charitable works and home making — which, oddly, doesn’t include cooking as the article mentions, literally in passing, “Mr. Bush usually made the family dinners, because she rarely cooks.”
Contrast this to the Post, which leads with this,
In 1999, Columba Bush, the famously private wife of then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was detained and fined by federal customs officials for misrepresenting the amount of clothing and jewelry she had bought while on a solo five-day shopping spree in Paris.
The incident left the Florida first lady deeply mortified and her husband politically chagrined. Jeb Bush said the first lady had misled customs officials because she did not want him to know that she had spent about $19,000 on the trip.
“The embarrassment I felt made me ashamed to face my family and friends,” Columba Bush said in a July 1999 speech to the Central Florida Make-a-Wish Foundation, not long after the incident. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
The ordeal did not stop her from spending freely, however. Less than a year later, she took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry on a single day, according to records filed with the state of Florida by Mayors Jewelers.
That purchase was part of a pattern by Columba Bush of borrowing to buy tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry at a time from the South Florida store over a 14-year period.
“You cannot draw a map that a Republican can win the presidency without Florida. It can’t be done. You can draw a map that the Democrats can win without winning Florida, but not very often…Florida is Ohio on steroids. Ohio is 18 (electoral votes), Florida is 29…They’re not comparable swing states any more.”
Today’s Miami Herald leads with a big article about Jeb! Bush’s $570,000 haul as a director and consultant with InnoVida. The gig lasted until shortly before the firm’s CEO got arrested and eventually sent away for almost 13 years.
On the one hand, Jeb! clearly was being (over?)paid to lend his name to InnoVida’s credibility and to make introductions. On the other hand, so what? Like lots of former office-holders Jeb! tried to cash in on his connections. It’s not like he went to work for a firm he’d done favors for as Governor, nor is it a classic revolving door story. It does seem from the article that Jeb! made some significant efforts to look into the company’s bona fides before signing on, even visiting its factory in Dubai. And plenty of folks got fooled including Chris Korge, who invested millions. On the Richter scale of sleaze in these corrupted times, this story rates about a 2.9.
Thus, why exactly this story merits top placement on page one and consumes all of page two is slightly baffling. But even more baffling is the second of these two paragraphs which appeared near the start:
Bush, who also served on InnoVida’s board, was never accused of wrongdoing in Osorio’s Ponzi-like swindle that prosecutors said netted him and other co-conspirators about $50 million. But InnoVida occupies noteworthy real estate in the broad landscape of Bush’s business dealings, since it’s the only one to have ended in the kind of full-blown scandal that occurs when a CEO is led away in handcuffs.
InnoVida’s salacious finale is drawing renewed attention as Bush readies for a presidential run. The Republican touting the power of free enterprise in his “Right to Rise” campaign served on a corporate board that presided over a venture fraught with bogus accounting statements and fictional business deals.
Salacious? As in “arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination“? I know some people find money sexy and all that, but even so.
Very odd word choice if you ask me.
(Note: “Jeb!” is not a typo. It’s reference to his old bumper stickers when he ran for President in 2008.)
When half a dozen voters in a conversation say they would back a law that would ban any Bush or Clinton from running, it makes you sit up and take notice.
The prospect of HRC (her royal Clintonness?) being the Democratic party’s nominee fills me with no joy and some dread due to her foreign policy views (too much support for invasions). The Wall St. stuff is bad too, but it’s possible that there might be a populist turn during the campaign…although how much that would translate into governing is a question.
Deep in a Herald puff piece about how Coral Gables homeboy Jeb! Bush likes to play fast golf, we find this gem:
One reason Bush can play golf so quickly on Sundays is that there is nobody ahead of him slowing things down. Citing privacy concerns, Biltmore executives declined to say how the former governor ended up with the premiere tee time, followed by Miami-Dade’s top elected official. Owned by Coral Gables, the Biltmore course is public but also includes a membership option that the website says gives early access to tee-time reservations.
Such a mystery….
[Originally posted 1/12/15, reposted after my hosting service crashed and then restored (most of) the site from backup.]
The only candidate I voted for who got elected was the Property Appraiser?