Look, I don’t think Jeb Bush (R-FL) is the worst presidential candidate ever. In fact, I think he is a better option than our last two GOP nominees and a far better option than either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. However, if there is one thing that Jeb Bush is not, it’s a political outsider who will clean up the morass in Washington, D.C. No, Bush is instead the exact kind of candidate that thrives in the muck and the mire of D.C. politics (as is Hillary Clinton by the way). He is exactly the kind of candidate that the deep-pocketed, corrupt cronies in Washington LOVE. He carries the air of ideology without the trappings of actual conviction… which means he is primed and ready to be purchased by the highest bidder.
I don’t say this to be mean or because I am jaded by the political machinations of our big city elites. I believe our system to be deeply flawed, but it is still the best operating system on the planet. No, what I am arguing here is that any candidate who is not a rabid ideologue becomes easy prey for the corny capitalists in D.C. Generally, we believe that the ideologues are the problem in American politics today, polarizing the left and the right against each other. But that isn’t actually the case. The real “problem” in American politics today is the big money corruption of the crony capitalists who reside firmly in the middle of the political spectrum.
These moneyed interests have bastardized the good name of capitalism and fooled the left into believing that capitalism is the problem. They have also fooled the right into defending massive corporations that bring corruption to our political process in the false belief that we are defending capitalism. This is why we see Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other ideologue conservatives teaming up with folks like Ron Wyden (D-OR), who are very left liberals, to fight cronyism. This is a fight the middle can’t (and doesn’t want) to win. The battle against corruption in the government must be waged and led by those of us on the wings, because we can’t be bought off by these interest groups.
Which is what makes Jeb Bush the most ironic man in America today. He published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on Monday arguing that if he is elected President, he would end cronyism in Washington, D.C.
I literally LOL’d when I first read the headline.
“Jeb Bush: As president, I’ll end crony capitalism” it blared to me on my computer screen. Was it the Onion I wondered? No, it was the Washington Examiner. Was it April 1st? Nope, still October.
No, Jeb Bush really was trying to convince conservatives that he would fight cronyism if he were elected president.
As president of the United States, I will use all the powers of my office to disrupt the political culture of a dysfunctional Washington, D.C. We need to clean house and it must start by eliminating the crony capitalism that is pervasive throughout the federal government. There are tens of billions of dollars of corporate welfare subsidies tucked into the federal budget. An honest effort to cut the deficit should start here…
Ending crony capitalism also requires a complete rewriting of the tax code and a seismic change in the way we regulate the American economy. I would eliminate corporate tax breaks, loopholes and carve outs so we can lower the top business tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. Right now, American companies pay the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. By simplifying the tax code and lowering rates, we will give our economy and American workers a significant lift…
I would bring sweeping regulatory reform to the federal government, adopting policies to stop the biggest corporations from rigging the rules to their favor and establishing a regulatory budget to ensure that every new dollar of regulatory cost is offset by eliminating a dollar of cost from old regulations…
None of these reforms will be easy to make. The influence peddling industry in Washington will fight every step of the way to defend their fiefdoms and special favors. It is going to take a president with a stiff spine and a proven record of delivering conservative reforms to disrupt the old, established order.
I intend to be that president.
I want to believe Bush, I really do. The problem is that he didn’t do any of this “fighting” against cronyism while in Tallahassee. His brother didn’t do it as President and neither did his father. In fact, cronyism under the Bush family has kind of been a hallmark of the their leadership. That’s not to single them out — cronyism has been even healthier under President Obama — but it’s just to note that Jeb Bush isn’t the most trustworthy candidate when it comes to fighting cronyism.
The candidates who stood against the Federal Reserve and the Export-Import Bank, the candidates who stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the candidates who are standing against the agri-lobby, the corporate welfare queens, the candidates who are actually fighting corporatism and cronyism right now, the candidates who are fighting for more freedom on the internet and in our daily lives… these are the candidates who are most likely to stand against it in the days to come.
At the end of the day, if you’re against cronyism (and you should be), then Jeb Bush shouldn’t be your candidate, no matter what he says. Until Jeb Bush actually stands up to the corrupt corporations and special interest groups who pour their money into Washington, D.C., he won’t have any credibility on the subject of cronyism. Instead, we should look to credible sources who have already been leading the fight against corruption, namely, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.