Today's news brings yet more evidence of how smart, and how dangerous, Jeb Bush is. (As distinguished from G.W. who is just dangerous in a ham-handed way.) One part is the coverup of his involvement in Florida felon's list fiasco; the other part is his very smart announcement today that he won't run for President in 2008.
Jeb's brilliance is evident from his disclaiming any Presidential ambition for 2008. This will make his heavy-handed influence in the Florida polls seem a tiny bit less self-interested.
More importantly, though, this disclaimer reflects a shrewd calculation that Jeb would be unelectable in 2008. After all, there are only two possibilities: Either GW is re-elected or Kerry wins. If Kerry wins, odds are he governs as Clinton II and gets re-elected; any Republican nominated against him, especially a Bush, would lose. On the other hand, if GW gets re-elected, the dollar tanks, Iraq remains a quagmire possibly even requiring a draft, social security privatization either goes the way of Hillarycare or tears the country apart, and at the end of it all (barring death in office) Jeb would be even less electable in 2008 then he would be if he were running against Kerry. So better to disclaim now and take the credit. Smart. Very, very smart.
Read on the for the latest about the Florida felons list, the dangerous part.
Sunday's papers trumpeted that Jeb Bush was personally warned about the defects in the Florida felons list, but insisted it be used anyway. This list, you may recall, is the one that blocked many black voters who were not felons but somehow failed to block Hispanics even if they were…a fact that dovetailed conveniently with the Democratic voting patterns of black voters and the traditionally (if now “attenuated”:) Republican sympathies of Florida's Hispanics. The email “smoking gun” fingering Jeb is contemporary hearsay — according to the Tampa Tribune, that email reports on a conversation with Bush that the e-mail's author wasn't involved in but had no reason to lie about:
The e-mail describing Bush's decision to push forward with the purge was written by Jeff Long, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement manager who was responsible for providing the felon data used by election officials to create the purge list.
Long was writing to his boss on May 4 to relay information he had received earlier that day from Paul Craft, the Department of State's top computer expert in charge of creating the purge list.
According to Long's e-mail, Craft said that state department officials had asked Bush on May 3 to scrap the list because there were problems with the matching program that would be used to determine which registered voters had been convicted of felonies. Florida law prevents felons from voting.
It may be hearsay, but it's a contemporary record, and I would tend to believe it. Many things not good enough for court are good enough to suggest otherwise plausible political conclusions.
Jeb Bush knows, however, either that the email's account is incorrect, or else he has the confidence that if the truth hasn't come out before, the people involved are going to keep quiet. So he's denying everything.
(Unfair to tag Jeb with hearsay? Even if Jeb Bush wasn't personally involved in the voting list fiasco, he appointed the people who were, and they surely knew what he'd like. And they clearly didn't think Jeb wanted a fair-minded attempt to allow everyone to vote who had the right to do so.)