Political Animal


April 25, 2013 10:52 AM Thanks, Mom

By Ed Kilgore

This AP story speaks for itself:

Amid the celebration surrounding the opening of son George W. Bush’s presidential library Thursday, former first lady Barbara Bush brushed aside talk of a Jeb Bush run for the White House in 2016.
Appearing in an interview from Dallas on NBC’s “Today” show, Mrs. Bush was asked if she thought that Jeb, the former governor of Florida, should seek the presidency.
“He’s by far the best qualified man,” Mrs. Bush said, “but no.”
“We’ve had enough Bushes,” she said, saying “it’s not just four families, or whatever.”
The Bush family matriarch went on to say she thought there were many worthy candidates, telling anchor Matt Lauer, “There are people out there” who are qualified. Mrs. Bush, who had a reputation for bluntness when her husband George H.W. Bush was president, spoke from the site of the presidential library. On Wednesday, George W. Bush told CNN he thought Jeb Bush should run.

You have to feel some sympathy for poor ol’ Jeb. He spent years fighting conservative mistrust based on his father’s supposed RINOism. Then he got pushed aside by his older brother after the disaster of his 1994 loss to Lawton Chiles (combined with W.’s win over Ann Richards) lowered his rank in the dynasty, only to watch said older brother stumble through a terrible second term that not only made the country tired of his family, but revived conservative mistrust towards the whole clan. And now the coup de grace comes from his own mother.

I don’t know how Jeb can overcome this final indignity. It sure looks like the next dynastic threat will be his son George P, assuming Barbara doesn’t publicly disqualify him as well.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on April 25, 2013 11:06 AM:

    "...only to watch said older brother stumble through a terrible second term..."

    Ed, I don't know how to break this to you, but it was TWO terrible terms.

    The first one wasn't exactly all bon-bons and roses, and prosperity, either.

    As a matter of fact, in his 2nd term, he reaped what he sowed and fertilized with incompetence, hubris, and stupidity, in his 1st term.

    But, yeah, thanks Barb!

    But Jeb can always walk away from this comment by using that old Smothers Brothers line, and direct it towards George - "Mom always did like you better."

    Remember, from day one, George was HER favorite sociopath!

  • Mikhail the History Grad Student on April 25, 2013 11:39 AM:

    Ah Barbara Bush. I always have a small fondness for the senior Bushes. Sure, they're Republicans, but they're sane Republicans.

  • Lifelong Dem on April 25, 2013 11:47 AM:

    This is the only thing Barbara Bush has ever said that I agree with: We've had enough Bushes.

  • Peter C on April 25, 2013 12:00 PM:

    "“We’ve had enough Bushes,” she said,"

    We've had 1 1/2 too many, in my opinion.

  • james on April 25, 2013 3:26 PM:

    Sort of gives me the impression that one Thanksgiving, around the Bush family dinner table, someone said, "Gosh, Dad, which one of your sons would you like to see run for President?" And Barbara responded, "It should be you, George, of course, because you're the oldest." Then she turned to Jeb and added, "Now, you know I've always known what's best for my boys." And that was that. Forever.

  • Renai on April 25, 2013 4:02 PM:

    Jeb Bush is a full grown white male conservative. His drive and ambitions do not depend on his mother's matriarchal skirts or his father's Will.

    yeah, kinda chuckled writing that...

  • JR on April 25, 2013 6:33 PM:

    George P's path may not be so assured. Yes, he can probably count on old GOP money, but it is no longer his brother's - let alone his father's - TX GOP. To succeed in the state, he may need to move too far to the right for a national. Think of how Cornyn is kowtowing to Turd Cruz...