George W. Bush said it is essential that ‘we not ignore’ or ‘irritate’ the …

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Debating the Voodoo That They Do.

HOUSTON — For about 45 minutes on Monday, Jeb Bush and his brother George W. The upcoming Republican presidential debate is fraught with risk, and I don’t mean the possibility that Donald Trump will bait Jeb Bush about running to ” mommy and daddy” for help or Ben Carson will come up with creative new ways to bring the Holocaust into the conversation.Despite the intense media spotlight on Donald Trump and now Ben Carson, many media insiders believe Marco Rubio could still snatch away the nomination. Bush on Monday assured top donors to his brother’s presidential campaign that Jeb Bush will be a “fierce competitor” in the 2016 race for the White House and argued his experience as Florida’s governor will ultimately win over voters. On paper, Rubio is a strong candidate: Young, charismatic, Hispanic, son of immigrants, a great communicator, and hails from the crucial state of Florida.

The talk, which a pool reporter was allowed to observe but not film, offered a rare side-by-side glimpse of the former president and presidential hopeful designed for at least partial public consumption. CNBC is promoting the Wednesday debate as a two-hour discussion about “job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.” So far, the GOP candidates have offered precious little to ordinary Americans trying to get ahead or simply stay afloat, while proposing countless favors to the already rich.

The idea that “experience matters” was the theme of an onstage conversation between the two brothers at a private event for donors to Bush’s campaign. He’s certainly running a better campaign than his mentor, Jeb Bush, even though plenty of folks think he showed ingratitude by challenging the former governor. We’re going to have to trust the moderators to ask the field how that’s going to help, and call out claims that are untethered to history and reality. That theme came through most strongly as Jeb Bush’s staff outlined how they plan to go after Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who the campaign views as Bush’s top competition for the Republican nomination. “Put it in the campaign slogan, ‘A proven leader,’” George W. Rubio has risen to third place in the ABC/Washington Post poll, with 10 percent Republican support, behind Trump (32 percent) and Carson (22 percent) but ahead of Jeb (7 percent).

Unemployment is at 5.1 percent going into the debate and, according to a new study by economist Rob Shapiro, income growth is starting to pick up after the Great Recession. Who’s run a state, for example?” The donor event arrived at a crucial moment for Bush, a once-dominant Republican candidate who is lagging in preference polls to a pair of political novices with no experience in elected office, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump. It’s tricky to figure out how the senator blazes a trail to the nomination, but it comes down to this: If you accept the notion that the GOP won’t nominate the two non-politicians—because that hasn’t happened since Ike, who won a war—then you position Marco as the one “establishment” candidate who could fill that vacuum. At the same time, 99 percent of income gains in the last few years have gone to the richest 1 percent, and half of U.S. workers make below $29,000 a year.

With fewer than 100 days until the leadoff Iowa caucuses, Bush’s campaign is betting that a large swath of Republican voters will ultimately seek out a seasoned politician as their choice for the party’s nominee — especially given the party’s widespread dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama, who was elected during his first term in the Senate. Marco Rubio and others. “There was never a complaint with the federal government,” said Jeb Bush, adding later: “We recovered faster than other states that had a hard time.

In the presentation from Bush’s campaign manager, Danny Diaz described Rubio and Obama as having “strikingly similar profiles,” that include being lawyers, university lecturers and former state legislators with “few legislative accomplishments.” Bush’s campaign announced last week it was making sharp spending cuts, mainly to employee wages, so he can intensify the organisation’s focus on the first two states to vote, Iowa and New Hampshire. Bush said put it this way: “Here’s the way the system works: When there’s a hurricane, the primary responsibility for recovery is the state — as it should be.” Given that the Bush administration’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina was one of its defining catastrophes, these comments stood out.

Don’t take it from me, take it from a conservative analyst. “The Republican presidential candidates have not built their campaigns on offering conservative ideas that would give any direct help to families trying to make ends meet. The cuts were calculated based on his and Rubio’s available cash, so as to ensure Bush would have enough to make it to the start of voting in February, campaign aides said.

This is not an issue either man stands to gain much from by re-litigating. “Jeb is going to win the Latino vote, which is essential to winning,” George W. Bush said. “This campaign ought to be about who can win the White House.” Republican candidates have struggled badly with Latino voters during the past two elections. In Iowa earlier this month, Bush said voters would rethink their support for Rubio, whom he described as “an eloquent guy” who “had nothing in his background that would suggest he could lead.” Jay Zeidman, a Houston fund-raiser for Bush, said the Bush team has looked at data that has convinced them that voters won’t pick someone “who is not capable of being commander in chief,” a reference to Trump and Carson. His past support for comprehensive immigration reform is a major liability, but Rubio has shown a lot more finesse on that issue than has Jeb, and one liability isn’t usually enough to doom a candidate who otherwise looks like a winner.” Obviously, an awful lot of assumptions are baked into this analysis.

Requiring businesses to offer paid family leave for new parents is also a crowd-pleaser, and especially awkward for the GOP to oppose in light of House speaker-in-waiting Paul Ryan saying he won’t sacrifice family time for the job. Douthat admits that Rubio is “a very strange sort of front-runner” who hasn’t had impressive fundraising hauls or built a powerhouse organization. Of course, Republicans have a long way to go before they can seriously talk about competing for a majority of Latino voters in the general election: They won just 27 percent in 2012 and 31 percent in 2008. And what’s worse, which early state is Rubio going to win? “He’s a little too moderate for Iowa, a little too conservative for New Hampshire, perhaps not quite combative enough for South Carolina … and so he might end up in the Rudy Giuliani-esque position of banking on his native Florida.” The nominal subject is Rubio missing a whole lot of Senate votes. Republicans, by contrast, still embrace the supply-side fantasy that pampering the rich by slashing their taxes, particularly on unearned income like dividends, interest and inheritances, will somehow trickle down into a job and wage boom that benefits everyone.

Yet a rising tide has not lifted all boats, as Ronald Reagan claimed it would, nor has a rising tide of federal revenue made up for lost tax payments. Combine that with the pledge almost every GOP presidential candidate has signed to never raise net taxes, and proposals from many to kill departments and cap benefit programs, and the party vision is unmistakable: a crimped, cramped federal government with reduced ambitions and capacities. Bush has been trying to sharpen the contrast with Rubio by reminding voters that he held an executive position while Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives.

He did get the immigration measure through the Senate as a member of the Gang of Eight, but the House did nothing and now Rubio himself says it was a mistake to push such a law without first securing the border. Here’s the key graf about Rubio and the Senate: “Now, he’s done. ‘He hates it,’ a longtime friend from Florida said, speaking anonymously to say what Rubio would not. Bush joked that their mother “never did” cook them a meal, unless you call “putting little Hormel hot dogs into a boiling pot of water cooking.” Jeb Bush jumped in and said he remembered things differently. “Yeah, you’re running for office,” responded George W. At another point, after Jeb Bush explained that Spanish is a “much more animated” language than English, his brother joked, “At least you can speak English,” apparently poking fun at the so-called Bushisms that defined his speaking style for many years.

As Paul Krugman recently noted, countries such as Denmark and France are welfare states financed by very high taxes – yet productivity roughly matches America and people there are more likely to be employed during their prime working years. Unlike Rand Paul, who’s simultaneously running for reelection in Kentucky, Rubio is giving up his Senate seat in Florida and gambling everything on his White House bid.

Many of these problematic points have been raised this month by John Harwood, a New York Times and CNBC reporter who is one of three moderators for the debate. The party, he wrote in one Times piece, is still wedded to supply-side economics “35 years after President Ronald Reagan championed them under far different circumstances, when the top income tax rate was 70 percent” (compared with 39.6 percent today). In another piece, Harwood said the GOP has a three-pronged ” data problem.” One, the economy has been better under Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama than it was during the two Bush presidencies.

I’d also like to hear why they think voters should have confidence in an economic policy enacted in 1981, under very different circumstances, and even then derided as voodoo economics by none other than George H.W.

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