Sure, I know the context of President Bush's swipe at the Tea Party warrior was his campaigning for his kid brother, but wouldn't you think Dubya would have been blasting Donald Trump instead? Or is it that his political acumen tells him that Trump is still, in reality and beneath all the hype, a poseur who will fade, while Ted Cruz, by volunteering to be Trump's Padawan, is the real threat to a third Bush presidency?
Still and all, on the face of it, the forty-third president's words weren't very far off the mark - but not on target, either:
Former President George W. Bush shocked a group of donors to the Jeb Bush campaign on Sunday night with some blunt talk about one of his brother's biggest rivals – and it isn't Donald Trump.
“I just don’t like the guy,” Bush said about Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Sunday night, according to Politico, reporting conversations with donors who attended the event....
A sentiment shared by a large number of Republicans, including conservatives, like myself, who are ideologically simpatico with him but can't fathom his fratricidal compulsions.
According to Politico, Bush took a harsh view on Cruz's apparent alliance with Trump, the GOP co-front-runner, when they stood together at a Capitol Hill rally last month in opposition to the Iran deal. He also noted that he found it suspicious that Trump has criticized every other candidate, except for Cruz.
One donor paraphrased George W. Bush's remarks: "He said he found it ‘opportunistic’ that Cruz was sucking up to Trump and just expecting all of his support to come to him in the end.”
Hmph. Nothing I didn't notice three and a half months ago. Nice of Dubya to finally catch up.
Another donor said that “He sort of looks at this like Cruz is doing it all for his own personal gain, and that’s juxtaposed against a family that’s been all about public service and doing it for the right reasons.
Well, yeah, if by "personal gain" you mean "wants to be POTUS". Which, last I checked, Jeb also wanted, so that particular comment was essentially pointless. Senator Cruz's reasons for same are obviously far more ideological than the denizens of House Bush could ever stomach, but that doesn't render them dishonorable. Indeed, sucking up to Trump is an example of an actual good campaign strategy on the part of Texas's junior senator, since he is the logical alternative destination for Tea Party Trumpsters in the event of their coiffed, loudmouthed hero's demise.
It's just that Trump and Cruz are so over-the-top obnoxious that it makes you want to put an ax through your TV whenever one of them is on, much less both of them together. Which, in turn, foreshadows a GOP ticket I certainly don't want to contemplate.
"He's frustrated to have watched Cruz basically hijack the Republican Party of Texas and the Republican Party in Washington."
The Texas GOP, perhaps; the Beltway GOP? Hardly, though not from lack of trying. But then, it's not like House Bush's metaphorical trophy case is overflowing from their years of timid and tepid steerage of the American ship of state, so that remark is also much less than first meets the eye.
By the way, remember Jeb coming to the defense of his brother against Trump's blaming him for the 9/11 attacks the other day? Maybe he should have just kept quiet instead:
A new battlefield has emerged in the war of words between Republican presidential co-front-runner Donald Trump and the man he deposed in July, and this time it’s Jeb Bush’s own words that are coming back to haunt him.
The former Florida governor wrote a book in 2013, Immigration Wars, in which he wrote that the airplane hijackers who attacked New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11th, 2001 were allowed into the U.S. under ‘leaky’ immigration policies presided over by his brother, President George W. Bush…
Jeb Bush’s own 2013 book noted that ‘in addition to the Mexican drug cartels, the fact that several of the 9/11 terrorists entered the country lawfully under a leaky immigration system has heightened national security concerns.’
Now, to be fair and accurate, it's the London Daily Mail that imputed the quote from that last 'graph to mean that Jeb was condemning George W. for 9/11 - which would be breathtaking hypocrisy in any case, since the ex-Florida governor is an even bigger border eraser than Bush43. He did not, in fact, say that, and it's far more likely that he was referring to the "leaky immigration system" that his brother inherited from Bill Clinton, which would impute reflected condemnation to Hillary instead. But it certainly doesn't help Jeb that he (1) didn't clarify that blame imputation in his book text, and (2) echoed Trump's anti-immigration claims two years ago and yet has pushed the diametric opposite stance to such an extent that he can't reverse himself without combusting his remaining credibility and viability as a national candidate, and is thus completely open to being (again) mocked by The Donald and marginalized in the 2016 GOP nominating race even further.
It's debatable whether Trump or Cruz is Jeb's primary target. Which is another way of saying that I don't think that question really matters. But if I were he, I would listen to Big Bro and keep my weather eye on the latter - as well as Ben Carson - because they are the collective needle that Bush III will have to thread.