Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 17th, 2015

Why Jeb Bush Should Become a Democrat?

What’s the difference in ideology anyway

If Jeb Bush became a Democrat, I’m not saying he’d win the nomination, let alone the presidency, but he’d have a better shot at either than he currently does in the Republican Party.

As it stands now, Jeb Bush’s presidential ambitions appear to be in jeopardy, with his campaign slashing salaries, downsizing office space, and letting people go.

Last night’s debate was supposed to be Jeb’s big chance to show how much he wants this.

By most accounts, he botched it, badly. Will the candidate generally seen as the “establishment” choice actually lose the Republican nomination? Or can he save his campaign?

 Andrew Bossone shared this link

“Jeb Bush could easily piece together a policy agenda that could pass for something within the mainstream of the Democratic Party without offending any of his plutocratic donors and allies. He’d barely have to update his website.”|By Alex Pareene

Bush’s fundamental problem is that the logic behind his candidacy—the reasonably conservative, but plausibly electable former governor of an important swing state should be a nationally viable presidential candidate—doesn’t appeal to Republican primary voters who’d rather hear Holocaust revisionism from non-politicians who genuinely believe the popular folk myths of the tribal conservative movement.

Unable to make any case for himself on the merits, Bush has been stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for his more fervent opponents to flame out.

But they haven’t yet flamed out, and each time Bush faces a conservative audience, their hate for him just intensifies.

Without any actual message, Bush has just been bumbling around, acting like the worst sort of Bush: peevish, resentful, out-of-touch, and incapable of going off-script without embarrassing himself.

Having raised more than $133 million, all Jeb Bush’s campaign has accomplished is allowing Donald Trump to normalize the long-taboo notion that George W. Bush bears some responsibility for not preventing the 9/11 attacks.

The Bushes are East Coast establishmentarians in a party that long ago moved its spiritual base to the Bible Belt.  (Due to Barbara religious convictions?)

Their political successes have required quite a bit of adaptation.

George H. W. Bush abandoned both his critique of Reaganomics and his support for reproductive rights.

George W. Bush convincingly portrayed himself as a born-again evangelical (which he actually probably isn’t, at least according to the usual evangelical definition of “born again”).

Jeb Bush has no policy positions that violate the sacred tenets of movement conservatism, but he is running against people who are genuine movement conservatives (well, and Trump, who is just an old-fashioned white populist), and he plainly isn’t one.

And the great political skill of the Bush family has always been fundraising, not campaigning.

Trying to appeal to the sort of idiots who back Dr. Ben Carson for president is a mug’s game.

It is demeaning and, thus far, fruitless. Worst of all, Jeb Bush is doing possibly irreparable damage to the Bush family legacy—specifically, their aura of power. (And invasions: Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia…)

Republicans rejecting a Bush should seem impossible. If it happens on this grand a scale, the entire edifice collapses.

That is a real possibility, and it’s one the family seems aware of.

In a New York Times story last weekend, Jonathan Martin and Matt Flegenheimer presented a portrait of an aged and angry George H. W. Bush, looking on in disgust at what has become of his Republican Party.

More is at stake in this race than Jeb Bush’s political career, friends of the family say. The Bush name has been prominent in national politics for three decades, and a rejection of the younger son by the electorate, especially in the primary, could be deeply wounding to a family proud of its role in American history. (Castrated would be my wish)

Jeb Bush hunkered down with donors and his family last weekend, partly to assure the former that he doesn’t intend to drop out, despite recent comments that make him sound less than enthusiastic about continuing his campaign.

And he may well be in it for the long haul, even if he seemed, last night, like he barely wanted to be there.

But the best thing Jeb Bush could do for the Bush family legacy—and for the portfolios of the wealthy families that have bankrolled generations of Bushes—is switch parties.

It would be an irresistible conversion narrative for Beltway idiots.

All Jeb Bush would have to do is say he is embracing the political legacy of his father, a man who has, somewhat improbably, grown into a figure who represents the more “moderate” Republican Party that today’s centrists constantly claim to miss.

Just read this Conor Friedersdorf piece (which is almost comically laudatory toward Bush), arguing that Jeb Bush needs to repudiate his awful brother and embrace his successful father, for a guide to how Bush could sell the conversion:

If Jeb were a better politician, a clearer thinker, or belonged to a clearer-thinking political party, the solution would be clear: run as George H.W.’s son, not George W.’s brother, just as Michael Corleone was better served emulating Vito than defending Sonny.

Friedersdorf’s not entirely wrong. Except that (as he knows) doing as he suggests would be exactly the wrong way to win the Republican nomination.

But by repudiating Tea Party extremism, Congressional obstructionism, and nativism, and declaring himself a moderate with beliefs close to those of his father, Bush would immediately win himself a lot of very influential new fans.

The brainless “radical centrists” of the political media would swoon.

Best of all, he’d be able to bring along his existing fundraising base while gaining brand-new Democratic rich people begging to write him checks.

Every centrist party bigwig who doesn’t care for Hillary Clinton, but is terrified of Bernie Sanders, would welcome Jeb(!) to the race.

But isn’t Jeb Bush too conservative for the Democratic Party?

The good news for him is that ideological realignment, and what Norm Ornstein and Tom Mann refer to as “asymmetric polarization,” have created, on the one hand, a Republican Party that is very, very conservative, and on the other, a Democratic Party that encompasses basically everyone even slightly more liberal than the very, very conservative Republican Party.

Plus, the Bushes have always been ideologically flexible, except where it really counts: Looking out for their class interests.

Jeb Bush could easily piece together a policy agenda that could pass for something within the mainstream of the Democratic Party without offending any of his plutocratic donors and allies. He’d barely have to update his website.

He could wholeheartedly support immigration reform—business interests love it—and corporate “education reform”—Democrats love it even more than Republicans do.

He could make vague murmurs about a “grand bargain” and “fiscal responsibility,” to signal to backers that he has not wavered in his commitment to slashing retirement benefits, and still remain well within the parameters of normal Democratic Party behavior.

And, hell, if Jeb Bush really wanted to make things interesting, he could reject his brother’s foreign policy misadventures, talk up his father’s record (and bring on some of his father’s foreign policy advisers), and plausibly define himself as less hawkish than the ostensibly liberal Democratic Party frontrunner.

As Hillary Clinton appears to tack left, coming out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Keystone Pipeline, there is an opportunity, for an opportunistic candidate, to run as the business-friendly alternative.

There are plenty of influential wealthy Democrats—exactly the sort of people who would have been Northeastern Republicans back when the Bushes first established themselves as a political force—who would welcome a Bush into the party with open arms. It’s almost surprising that the Bushes haven’t already made the move; Jay Rockefeller and Lincoln Chafee come from similarly famous old Northeastern Republican families.

There’s already a Democrat in the race with a Republican pedigree: Hillary Clinton, who was once, herself, a Young Republican and a “Goldwater Girl.”

As the GOP went through its Civil Rights-era realignment, she chose the moderate, Northern wing, supporting Nelson Rockefeller’s bid for the presidency in 1968, and only finally becoming a Democrat when Nixon won the nomination instead.

 Hillary own conservatism was perfectly in line with the conservatism of George H. W. Bush, who was serving in Congress at the time.

“I’m done with this, absolutely,” Mrs. Clinton recalled thinking upon hearing Mr. Nixon’s acceptance speech. She characterized the Republicanism of her youth as one of fiscal conservatism and social moderation, and at odds with what she viewed as the intolerance of Miami.

“Fiscal conservatism and social moderation” remains a doctrine with a lot of appeal to a certain class of people.

They’re not revanchists, who want to take the country back to a mostly imagined prior golden age.

Nor are they people who want to reorder society to make it more just.

They’re the people for whom the status quo works just fine.

People in this class already make up the most important base of support for both Clinton and Bush.

That’s how one Federal Reserve chair, appointed by Ronald Reagan, serves during two separate Bush presidencies separated by two terms of a Clinton presidency.

It’s why Barack Obama, in conjunction with his own Bush-appointed Federal Reserve chair and his Robert Rubin-mentored Treasury Secretary, responded to the 2008-2009 financial crisis with a series of decisions indistinguishable from ones President George H. W. Bush might have made in similar circumstances.

It’s why Wall Street isn’t worried when a Clinton begins talking like a populist.

Do the Bushes really have any future in a party that can no longer abide a reliable Chamber of Commerce ally like John Boehner?

I don’t think they do.

Meanwhile, there seems plenty of room for them in the party of Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, and Cory Booker. (Those millionaires laughing out at the financial corruption claims)

Part of the genius of Bill Clinton was his ability to lure a significant portion of the plutocracy over to the Democratic Party.

Jeb Bush could be the man to bring the rest over, giving business interests more direct control over one party than at any point since perhaps the Coolidge-era GOP.

If Jeb could pull it off, it would be the perfect knife in the back to the Republican Party that has rejected him, and the perfect way to ensure that the interests that the Bushes have always represented continue to be well-represented in Washington.

More war on Terror? Why is  that the only recurring alternative for mankind?

Call me selfish, but I don’t want to get killed in a terrorist attack at a gig.

So perhaps we could try something different from the War on Terror spiral?

After all, it’s not going so well.

In 2001, when 9/11 happened, the jihadis were a small group of Saudi ex-pats in the mountains of Afghanistan. Now jihadi groups control more than half of Syria, a third of Iraq, and large swathes of Libya. They’re fighting in Yemen, in Afghanistan (still), in Pakistan, in Somalia and in Nigeria.

They’ve attacked in Paris (twice), Sousse (Tunisia), Sharm el-Sheikh, Beirut and other places just this year.

If the West has been trying to stop jihadis since 9/11, it hasn’t worked. (It created ISIS)

But it’s much worse than that. The aim of jihadis is to shock Muslims in order to wake them up and get them to join their struggle.

Bin Laden was explicit about it. One tactic to do that is to provoke an over-reaction from the West – and the West has been willing to oblige.

Invading and occupying Iraq is the most obvious example, which led directly to the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2007.

But terrorist attacks also provoke increased government surveillance on all of us, the targeting of Muslim communities and social division.

The jihadis’ great allies are the politicians and journalists who shut down any attempt to understand this.

The airwaves are full today of facile people saying that what happened in Paris is an attack on Western freedom and culture, so there’s no point in thinking any more deeply about it. But on Thursday ISIS killed 43 people in Beirut with two suicide bombs – because they hate Arab culture?

 Andrew Bossone shared this link

“I know people’s first impulse when a terrorist attack happens is to want to hit back in a direct way, to punish the people who did it and deter others.

But that impulse has been tested to destruction since 2001. Jihadis bank on it, it’s a central part of their strategy.

I don’t know why we always go along with it. It’d be better to do things that might work instead.”

Provoking retaliation is a key part of the jihadists’ strategy, writes Alex Nunns

Pulling up the roots

I expect we’ll carry on acting out the cycle that has worked so successfully for the jihadis since 2001.

But personally, out of a sense of self-interest, I’d prefer it if we tried something different.

Like: tackling the problem of Saudi Arabia, where the jihadi ideology comes from, and which prefers ISIS and the other jihadi groups to succeed if it means Shia Muslims can’t live.

Like: withdrawing support from Turkey while its intelligence agencies help the Nusra Front and turn a blind eye to ISIS, all because it hates the Kurds more than the jihadis and bombs them with NATO’s blessing.

Like: trying to refrain from destroying countries, their infrastructure, their institutions like in Iraq and Libya, both now overrun by jihadis.

Like: actually attempting to end the war in Syria, which is complicated and difficult, but Britain could help by at least not blocking negotiations as it did in the Geneva I and II peace conferences in 2012 and 2014.

The British, French and American governments thought for a few years that it was in their strategic interests for the Syrian war to go on, weakening Syria’s ally Iran and knocking out an enemy of Israel.

But it wasn’t in the interests of us, the people, and certainly not of the thousands of Syrians who have died as a result.

Like: helping refugees who are fleeing from horror, mostly because we should obviously help people in need but also because it’s not wise to have millions of people languishing in squalid camps building up resentment.

I know people’s first impulse when a terrorist attack happens is to want to hit back in a direct way, to punish the people who did it and deter others. But that impulse has been tested to destruction since 2001. Jihadis bank on it, it’s a central part of their strategy. I don’t know why we always go along with it. It’d be better to do things that might work instead.

You Don’t Want to Read this: Stop tactics that failed since 2001.

In Paris and anywhere else

I join the world in grieving for the dead in Paris. I have grieved for the dead from 9/11 forward —

The Australians who died in terror attacks on Bali in 2005, Londoners who died in terror attacks in 2005,

The French citizens who died in the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January of this year,

The Russians whose plane went down over the Sinai a week or so ago. (And the most recent attacks in Beirut Borj Barajneh, and in Kenya?)

I grieve also for those killed in smaller attacks already smuggled deep into the obscurity of our memory.

(All the over 50 Palestinian youth shot at point blank for throwing stones in the last month?)

(And all the terror attacks that Lebanon witnessed since 2000?)

And so we Tweet hashtags and phrases in high school French and post GIFs to Facebook. We know what to do; we’ve done this before.

But it has to be said, especially looking at the sick repetition of the same story, that despite fourteen plus years of a war on terror, terror seems to be with us as much as ever, maybe even more.

It is time to rethink what we have done and are doing.

Joanna Choukeir Hojeily shared this link of
You don’t want to read this, and I take no pleasure in writing it, and no one really wants to hear it right now.

Since that day in 2001, the one with those terrible sparkling blue skies in New York, we have spied on the world, Americans at home and foreigners abroad, yet no one detected anything that stopped the Paris attacks. We gave up much to that spying and got nothing in return.

Since 2001, the United States has led nations like Britain, France, Australia and others into wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, with drone attacks on people from the Philippines to Pakistan to all parts of Africa. We have little to nothing to show for all that.

Since 2001 the US has expended enormous efforts to kill a handful of men — bin Laden, al-Zarqawi, al-Awlaki, and this weekend, Jihadi John.

Others, many without names, were killed outside of media attention, or were tortured to death, or are still rotting in the offshore penal colony of Guantanamo, or the dark hell of the Salt Pit in Afghanistan.

And it has not worked, and Paris this weekend, and the next one somewhere else sometime soon, are the proof.

We gave up many of our freedoms in America to defeat the terrorists. (And going worse in regaining freedom acquired for 2 centuries of struggle)

It did not work. We gave the lives of over 4,000 American men and women in Iraq (Not counting the private security providers?), and thousands more in Afghanistan, to defeat the terrorists, and refuse to ask what they died for.

We killed tens of thousands or more in those countries. It did not work.

We went to war again in Iraq (for no reason but monopolizing oil export, and under false pretence), and now in Syria, before in Libya, and only created more failed states and ungoverned spaces that provide havens for terrorists and spilled terror like dropped paint across borders.

We harass and discriminate against our own Muslim populations and then stand slack-jawed as they become radicalized, and all we do then is blame ISIS for Tweeting.

Note that it is the strategy of Islamic terror to generate a crackdown in France in order to radicalise French Muslims.

Hundreds of French citizens have already traveled to Syria to fight with groups including ISIS.

(A documentary showed that those French citizens were not checked at airport, barely 40 seconds, and teenagers with faked passports passed quickly. Turkey was is faster in letting in passengers)

As one of the most intelligent commentators on all this, Bill Johnson, said, terrorism is about killing pawns to affect the king.

The attacks in Paris are not about the murder of 150 innocent people. Hell, that many die nearly every day in Iraq and Syria.

The true test for France is how they respond to the terror attacks in the long-game — that’s the king in all this.

America failed this test post-9/11; yet it does not sound like France understands anything more than America.

“We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,” French president Hollande said outside the Bataclan concert hall, scene of the most bloodshed.

(Sounds like “You are with us or against us”)

If I had exactly the right strategy, I’d tell you what it is, and I’d try and tell the people in Washington and Paris and everywhere else.

But I don’t have the exact thing to do, and I doubt they’d listen to me anyway.

But I do have this: stop what we have been doing for the last 14 years. It has not worked.

There is nothing at all to suggest it ever will work. Whack-a-mole is a game, not a plan.

Leave the Middle East alone.

Stop creating more failed states.

Stop throwing away our freedoms at home on falsehoods.

Stop disenfranchising the Muslims who live with us.

(Let the US stop destabilizing 134 countries. Multinationals should not be State policies for dominion)

Understand the war, such as it is, is against a set of ideas — religious, anti-western, anti-imperialist — and you cannot bomb an idea.

Putting western soldiers on the ground in the MidEast and western planes overhead fans the flames. Vengeance does not and cannot extinguish an idea.

Start with those things and see, even if you won’t give it 14 years to succeed, if things improve.

Other than the death tolls scaling up further, I can’t imagine we could be doing anything worse.

Reprinted with permission from




November 2015

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