Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Bush Crime Family

So, we've learned that Jeb - the good one - was a compulsive pot and hash smoker at Andover.  While this might cost him a few points from the Evangelicals who already distrust him because he converted to Catholicism (absolution!) it's unlikely to get much traction in the primaries.

Except that Rand Paul has decided to weigh in and makes a really compelling argument.  Bush, as governor, urged hard sentences and refused to pardon marijuana users.  As Paul points out, this is the sort of hypocritical moralizing that drives younger voters away from the GOP.  It's also why Paul is the most interesting candidate in the GOP field.  He holds a lot of heterodox positions on foreign policy and things like pot, which would make him an interesting foil for poll-tested Hillary.  Of course, he'd have to get through the primaries and there are a ton of things to trip him up there.

If I was Paul, I'd have my eye on 2020 or 2024.  He's young and he can do what Ted Cruz apparently can't: build bridges to the GOP establishment.  If we have a humming economy in 2016 - which we should - it will be exceedingly difficult for the GOP to win the White House.  Paul could carve out a place in the middle of important social issues - pot, gay marriage - while being a voice of sanity on civil liberties and military adventurism.  And it could give him some time to distance himself from his dad's crazy bedfellows and not-so-closeted-racists.  The GOP is not going to let anyone who might abolish the Federal Reserve win their nomination.  He needs to be the voice of the Libertarian Right.  That might work after 12 years of Democratic presidents.  I don't know if it will work in 2016.

As for Bush, the pot issue goes along with the Terry Schiavo incident to demonstrate a profoundly cynical political operator, who is willing to profit off other people's misery.

I know that Bush's popularity has increased recently, as cultural amnesia sets in, but I have a hard time imagining that we are ready for another Bush in the White House.

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