Jeb Bush, crony capitalist, unironically promises to end crony capitalism as president

I could be wrong, but I’m getting the sense that Jeb Bush doesn’t understand how irony works.

The same guy who insists on claiming that his brother “kept us safe” while presiding over the actual antithesis of safety is now claiming he — after making his fortune on the backs of his family’s political careers — will end “crony capitalism.”

As Bush wrote in a statement published on his website earlier today, “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.”

Ha freaking ha.

Jeb Bush's yearly income, via Vox

Jeb Bush’s yearly income, via Vox. Notice the spikes in 1990, 2007 and 2011, when speculation that he would run for president mounted.

Does Bush really expect anyone to believe that he is the man for the job of disrupting the political culture in Washington DC? The same man whose father and brother served a combined 28 years in prominent DC-based jobs, ranging from Congressman to RNC Chair to President of the United States? The same man whose personal income spiked during the very years in which his father and brother had their most prominent DC-based jobs? From Mother Jones:

In 1988, Bush formed a company with GOP donor David Eller to market water pumps manufactured by Moving Water Industries, another Eller business, to foreign countries. The company used Bush’s White House ties to drum up business. In 1992, at the behest of MWI, the Export-Import Bank approved $74 million in US-backed loans to Nigeria to buy water pumps from Eller’s company. The Justice Department later alleged in a 2002 civil suit that about $28 million of those loans were used to bribe a Nigerian official. Bush was not implicated, but in November 2013, a jury found MWI guilty of making 58 false claims to the Export-Import Bank on its applications for the Nigerian loans. A federal judge fined the company $580,000. Bush escaped testifying after the judge determined his testimony wouldn’t be relevant to the central issue in the case.

And:

The Bush Family, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bush Family, via Wikimedia Commons

Cuban American real estate developer Armando Codina was the Florida chair of George H.W. Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 bid for the GOP presidential nomination. He loved the Bush family so much that when Jeb first moved to Miami in the early 1980s, he made Bush a partner in his real estate company and gave him 40 percent of the profits—even though Jeb had no real estate experience or money to invest. In 1985, Bush and Codina bought an office building partially financed by a savings and loan that later failed. The $4.56 million loan went into default, but federal regulators gave Bush and his partner a pass. Instead of foreclosing, they merely asked them to repay $500,000 of the loan. Taxpayers picked up the rest. In 1991, Bush and Codina sold the building for $8 million.

Bush may be correct in saying, as he does in his statement, that “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.” But an honest effort to tackle the tens of billions of dollars of corporate welfare subsidies that are tucked into the federal budget should start by admitting why those subsidies are still there: past Presidents Bush.

And for his part, Bush should admit that if he knows anything about how to stop crony capitalists, it’s only because he knows how to be one.


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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21 Responses to “Jeb Bush, crony capitalist, unironically promises to end crony capitalism as president”

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  2. gratuitous says:

    I don’t think he will. He’s got the political chops and the financial wherewithal to bide his time until the other candidates implode. T Rump is looking like a disabled 747 looking for a place to crash land. Carson is being exposed as a know-nothing kook. The long haul isn’t really for either of them.

    Fiorina has lost her debate bump and fallen back into the second tier with Jeb! Cruz and Rubio have never really caught fire. Paul is going to junk his campaign soon so he can fall back on his day job. Jeb! can afford to wait and wait, even if he does have to fly coach right now.

  3. The_Fixer says:

    Ahh, the “Bush Exception.” Kind of like the Republican motto – “All for me, none for thee.”

  4. koolaidyarn says:

    He might believe this crap – he just doesn’t think it applies to him or his family.

  5. The_Fixer says:

    The Bushes reside in a permanent “oppositeland” – whatever rhetoric they espouse on a given day is exactly the opposite of what they mean.

  6. MoonDragon says:

    Does the fact that he created a persona out of whole clothe in his own mind count?

  7. olandp says:

    Jeb! is a “self-made man” as are all of the Bushes going back to granddaddy Prescott, and probably before him.

  8. Shorter Jebya: (Free!) Stuff happens.

  9. mf_roe says:

    I hope not soon. His presence makes it impossible for the rest of the field to ignore and gloss over the Bush legacy. Having him in to race insures that W’s foul-ups will be relived over and over. Many repugs wish W could be forgotten. Jeb’s clumsy defense of his brother just keeps the wounds raw. I suggest he have some campaign events in New Orleans.

  10. UncleBucky says:

    Yep, Neil Bush is smart by staying OUT of the spotlight. But that doesn’t mean he’s not guilty of some of the worst shenanigans…

  11. UncleBucky says:

    When is Jebya dropping out?

  12. Indigo says:

    Tim Burton for sure! The rest . . . let the casting couch decide.

  13. mf_roe says:

    Or, the Cult Speak of THUMPER, a kernel of truth wrapped in carny style self-promotion

  14. mf_roe says:

    Tim Burton directing Gary Busey as John Galt

  15. Indigo says:

    EXACTLY! That explains it.

  16. mf_roe says:

    WELLL, what about HARVEY?

  17. emjayay says:

    He was doing so well making millions from various companies and financial outfits even with no knowledge or expertise, but only selling his name and connections.

  18. Indigo says:

    I agree. I’m increasingly puzzled by Jeb’s comments. Whatever movie he has running in it’s head, it’s not a Jimmy Stewart movie no matter how he spins it. Bizarre.

  19. BeccaM says:

    ‘Crony capitalism’ — like nearly all of the slogans, talking points, and propaganda commonly used by the Republican party and their loyal media outlets — is nothing but an empty phrase for them.

    Just like “Bush kept us safe,” “religious liberties,” “death tax,” “tort reform,” “repeal and replace Obamacare,” and practically every other focus group tested Frank Luntz-esque Newspeak invention, the words are chosen only for their sound and intended connotations, not because they stand for anything like a coherent populist policy or even a respect for reality and history.

  20. mf_roe says:

    I don’t know what movie is playing in Jeb’s head, but I see “Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest”.
    The only smart Bushes are the ones that hide in the shadows and scam the system from hiding, like the ones making millions of the school testing industry (Racket).

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