Jeb Bush would like you to believe that George Bush became president on 9/12/01

During last night’s debate, Jeb Bush’s biggest applause line was also his most head-deskingly bold-faced lie:

In response to Donald Trump claiming (not wrongly) that George Bush’s presidency was so bad that it all but guaranteed President Obama’s victory in 2008, Bush said, “You know what? As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: He kept us safe…Do you remember the rubble? Do you remember the firefighter with his arm around him?”

The crowd went nuts, journalists tore their hair out and, today, Jeb doubled down:

There it is: George Bush keeping us safe from that time that he didn’t keep us safe.

Jebya is apparently unbothered by the fact that the rubble he’s referring to was the result of an attack that happened on his brother’s watch. Or maybe he doesn’t remember. Or maybe he thinks someone else was president.

The “Bush kept us safe” meme a lie the neocons have been spitting out ever since the attacks, and it’s a lie that Republicans consider a science FACT. So much so that Public Policy Polling is going to ask Republican primary voters who they think was president on September 11th, 2001. There’s a legitimate chance that a large number of them say someone other than George W. Bush.

But maybe not, claim isn’t premised on George Bush taking office on September 12th, 2001 — as much as that’s what it implies. The claim is based on the dual premises that a) no one saw 9/11 coming, so it isn’t anyone’s fault (or maybe it’s Bill Clinton’s?) and that b) Bush put America’s boot up so many asses after 9/11 that no one dared attack us ever again.

Neither of these premises are close to being valid. First, we absolutely did have reason to believe that an attack was on the way. Sure, you could make a bad argument that since lower-level analysts were told to “hold off” on sending intelligence about the eventual hijackers up the chain of command, this oversight isn’t George Bush’s “fault.” That would, of course, leave aside all of the times that warnings did make it up the chain of command and were ignored all the same. Either way, you can’t say that the attacks didn’t happen under his watch. They did.

Second, and more directly addressing the “after 9/11” asterisk at the core of Jeb, et al’s claim, George W. Bush did not keep Americans safe after 9/11 by conservatives own definition of the term. Mad about four Americans dying in the Benghazi attacks? Think they validate the claim that President Obama hasn’t “kept us safe”? Here’s a list of 39 attacks on US embassies or embassy personnel, 20 of which resulted in at least one fatality, resulting in a total of 87 deaths (24 were American), all of which took place between September 11th, 2001 and the end of the Bush 43 presidency.

All of this ignores the many other ways in which President Bush did the exact opposite of keeping us safe. Like that time everyone told him to evacuate New Orleans because a massive hurricane was going to drown a ton of people and his first response was basically “Nah, because states rights.

Heckuva a job, Jebbie.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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23 Responses to “Jeb Bush would like you to believe that George Bush became president on 9/12/01”

  1. The_Fixer says:

    I think we have a winner :)

  2. BeccaM says:

    Skeletor? Hell no. He’s Governor Voldemort.

  3. BeccaM says:

    …in not just one but several preventable attacks, natural disasters, and wars-of-choice.

  4. The_Fixer says:

    Oh, Boy! Let the nightmares begin…

  5. Houndentenor says:

    Not only is lying not a problem for Republican candidates, it’s their M.O. The base doesn’t care about the truth. Only “truthiness”.

  6. olandp says:

    Not so fast…

  7. olandp says:

    “My brother kept us safe, except for the people who died.”

  8. goulo says:

    Sadly, I doubt most voters remember those points, especially #2 about the Iraq War. :/

  9. The_Fixer says:

    That’s who Rick Scott reminds me of – Skeletor!

    And yes, he’s just as bad or worse, just in a different way with a different style of grifting. Woe be to us, the poor bastard residents of states with bad governors.

  10. Saint Stephen says:

    Sad – but true. Look at all the lies in last night’s debate.

  11. Indigo says:

    Good point. That could happen. His enthusiastic support is not particularly enthusiastic.

  12. Indigo says:

    Jeb skipped ahead and missed calendar day in pre-school. Or so it seems. He’d also like me to believe that he’d be a good president and, as icing on the cake, he’s determined to maintain the story line about what a good governor of Florida he was. Even Florida deserves better than he was. (Not that Skeletor has improved things.)

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    I think it’s just a criticism of Democrats (specifically Obama, who does nothing about them in terms of arrests and prosecutions) and Republicans, instead of just Republicans.

    I also think it’s a perfectly legitimate comment to make about terrorist murders.

  14. mf_roe says:

    So much for the idea that Jeb is the Smart Bush, the idiot doesn’t realize that He alone among the Repugs can be critical of Shrub without blowback from the Bush Base. I expect he will be one of the early cast-offs.

  15. FLL says:

    What matters most is what most voters will remember about the most recent Republican administration. That will be of concern to people who think that the results of the next election will have major consequences, and every commenter on this thread certainly does (comic denials notwithstanding). So what will most voters remember about George W. Bush?

    (1) He had the benefit of many warning signs about the likelihood of a terrorist attack throughout the summer of 2001 and ignored all of those warnings.

    (2) He started the Iraq War for no good reason, even planning it as president-elect, before he began his term.

    (3) He gleefully let New Orleans residents drown–shaming the U.S. before the entire world–no doubt keeping in mind that the mostly African-American victims vote largely Democratic.

    Most voters have a functioning memory, which does not bode well for the Republican ticket’s chances in 2016.

  16. BeccaM says:

    That’s kind of hijacky, Bill.

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    Those figures don’t include the huge number of racist and terrorist murders of people of color by cops.

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    The question is best framed as ‘who is responsible for terrorist attacks on the the US’.

    The clear and unavoidable answer is that they were caused by the terrorist wars of aggression by Democrats and Republicans and their zionist clients. American and zionist terrorism killed scores of thousands in a dozen countries and produced not only massive ethnic cleansing in Palestine but the climate that islamists used as an excuse for their inexcusable terrorist attacks on civilians on 9-11.

    Clinton’s embargo killed half a million Iraqi children and Bushes attack on Iraq brought the total to well over a million.

    Reagan, the Bushes, the Clintons and Obama are the worlds worst terrorists, followed closely by the zionists.

  19. BeccaM says:

    By way of Oliver Willis:

    pic.twitter.com/ErAS7wLKJS

  20. BeccaM says:

    – 9/11. “All right, you covered your ass” and “My Pet Goat,” motherfuckers.

    – Failing to capture Bin Laden or to take down Al Qaeda after 7 straight years in Afghanistan…and there, deposing one government (the Taliban-led one), replacing it with a weak puppet and dozens of independent local warlords. War and perpetual occupation left open-ended on purpose.

    – Launching a war based on lies about WMDs in Iraq…and leaving that one open-ended, too, by design. Creating a power vacuum that allowed ISIL to form and flourish. (Turns out more than a few former Iraqi ‘Republican Guard’ members are now in ISIL. Why? Because one of Paul Bremer’s first acts as appointed occupation dictator was to disband the remaining Iraqi army.) This one war not only destabilized Iraq, but many of the nations surrounding it. Now the GOPers have the gall to say it was Obama’s fault for withdrawing U.S. troops when it was Dubya who signed the drawdown agreement — and THAT was because Iraq wouldn’t agree to let U.S. forces have perpetual immunity for crimes they might commit. (And THAT came on the heels of revelations that U.S.-hired mercenaries and ‘contractors’ (also basically mercenaries) were running amok.)

    – Torture in Gitmo and at dozens of ‘black sites’ across the globe — becoming instantly the single greatest anti-American recruiting tool terrorists could ever have hoped for.

    – Katrina. ‘Heck of a job.’ Hundreds of Americans dead, unnecessarily, while Dubya enjoyed his birthday cake and the guitar he had no clue how to play.

    – The economic crash that began in 2007, compounded by banks literally stealing people’s homes through fraudulent mortgage paperwork.

    – Eight straight years of ignoring the estimated 75,000 Americans dying needlessly due to lack of access to affordable health care, insisting the invisible hand of the market would fix everything magically if just left alone.

    – Eight straight years of denying the oncoming climate catastrophe, despite the clear evidence and scientific consensus. (Honestly, if these fuckers had been in charge a few decades back, we’d probably still be using CFCs and the Earth would be missing most of its ozone layer.)

    – And speaking of WMDs, let’s talk nuclear weapons. How’s about North Korea and the nukes they detonated in 2005 and the ballistic missile program they’ve been working on furiously ever since? Or how Iran went from zero uranium processing centrifuges to 5000 by the end of the Dubya debacle? And how every nation on the planet learned a very important lesson from the Bush Administration: Have no nukes or WMDs, America can and will bomb and invade you, especially if you have something they want (like oil). Have them and suddenly the U.S. is willing to negotiate.

    – Then let’s talk about the YEARS of phony ‘terror alerts’, which were always timed to coincide with political expediencies and sagging poll numbers. Like the alerts coincidentally just a week or two before the 2004 elections. Years of using the government itself to terrorize the American people, not at all unlike the way a domestic abuser uses fear to control his victims.

    But anyway… Stefan up there has the right of it. Posting a picture of George W Bush standing on the rubble in NYC and saying ‘He kept us safe’ is the epitome of an oxymoron. Emphasis on the last two syllables.

  21. Hue-Man says:

    The only thing the Bush administration delivered was lies. “mushroom clouds”, “torture works”, “heckuva job” come to mind but the list is long. TeaParty/GOP have learned the lesson – telling the truth can lose votes but lying doesn’t cost you anything.

  22. Brent Hull says:

    I cannot determine what is more offensive Jeb’s lie or the utter phooking cowardice of the other candidates that did not call bullshyte on that one. Someone on stage should have cackled out loud immediately after hearing that crap.

  23. Naja pallida says:

    The entire Bush administration, for the last two-three years of his Presidency, pushed this concept every chance they were given, and they were only barely questioned on it then. Even if you ignore the glaringly obvious failure of 9/11, everything Bush did essentially set us up for the situation we have in the middle east today. He actively made us less safe, and that was the entire plan.

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