Here at BTL, we love electoral politics more than anything else and this 2016 election is already a doozy! Between the two major parties, however, there are approximately 712 candidates to keep track of, so we’re putting together a regular “Meet The Candidates” feature where we’ll relay all dirty details about each and every participant in spendmoney-gate 2016.
Today, we begin with the case of Jeb(!) Bush, a man who many in the media still consider a “frontrunner” due to his campaign’s massive war chest. This “frontrunner” moniker is curious, however, considering that he’s polling in single digits and is not even the most popular GOP candidate from Florida, but we digress. Let’s get to know him better anyway. Here, for your reading pleasure, is the story of Jeb! Bush, the forever-second-place Bush brother...
A Slacker’s First Love: Pot
Though he has “no recollection” of why his Andover classmates remember him as a bully, Jeb did famously describe his former self, the exclamation-point-less John Ellis Bush, as “a cynical little turd.” Most commonly noted about his early years is the absolutely insane quantity of pot he smoked and his total lack of interest in anything at all. Vietnam? Nah. School? Nopers. Embarrassing his family? Eh. His gentleman's Cs were amazingly even less gentlemanly than those of his cheerleader/crowd favorite brother George. In short, he was full-stop annoying until a magical trip to Mexico changed him forever...
A Mexican Affair to Remember
In 1970, Jeb took a three-month class trip to Leon, Mexico, where he experienced a heavily-edited version of love at first sight. The moment that he describes as a “lightning strike” across a town square was really engineered by friend John Schmitz, for whom Jeb was the second-choice for companion on a double-dating excusions with two sisters. Jeb’s date for the evening was 16 year-old Columba, who sources describe as the “free-spirit daughter of a divorced mother in a community where, in her own words, divorce was a sin.” Jeb romanced her while in Mexico (ick), then returned to school a changed man, making the honor roll for the first time ever. He reportedly then blew through college in two-and-a-half years, which is suspicious even for a good student, and proposed to Columba in 1973. She answered yes by giving him the world’s most ironic peace-symbol ring, and their wedding was held in Texas soon after. Poppy and Babs only met Columba a week or so before, and those two still don’t really get what that whole thing was about but sometimes you just have to humor your middle child so they don’t become a sociopath.
Since he was raised in the Episcopal church, Jeb’s marriage offered another break from his family in the form of a conversion to Catholicism. The religion suits him well because he is militantly devoted to outdated thinking, saying in 2009 that he likes Catholicism because “ the Catholic Church believes in and acts on absolute truth as its foundational principles and doesn't move with modern times as my former religion did.”
Cheating on Columba with the People of Florida
Eventually, armed with a new religion and a young family, Jeb went into the Bush family business, running a failed bid for the Florida governorship in 1994 before finally winning four years later. There, he famously “earned” the nickname “Jeb!” from the uber-intellectual and not-at-all dementia-riddled citizens of Florida.
As governor, Jeb! steered Florida through the new millennium's greatest challenge - stupid voters voting against his brother. In 2001, hoping to get a lovingly tepid pat on the back from his father, he helped his brother steal a presidential election. George Jr. lost the popular vote and likely would have lost the Florida recount vote as well had Jeb!’s administration not cleverly purged the state’s voter rolls of thousands of innocent, non-felonious, regular African-American voters the year before, then secretly conspired with his brother’s campaign during the recount process. Having overcome the burden of obeying the will of the electorate, Jeb! moved on to other important jobs such as overseeing another voter purge in 2004 and unnecessarily taking sides in the largely absurd Terry Schiavo debate. He also earned the ire of Floridians near and far for not loving manatees enough. (Or loving them too much? Or loving them but not loving them enough? Seriously, what’s your deal Florida?)
Jeb! is also famous for his disrespect for women, a gender that he wishes would just get off his back and “find a husband.” To that end, he added a chapter in his 1995 book Profiles in Character called “The Restoration of Shame” in which he waxed poetic about how great it would be if we all got together and publically shamed teen mothers like we used to in the old days, a strategy that historically rid us of teen pregnancy once and for all in the [not real] era. Ever the problem solver, in 2001 he allowed a bill to become law that would require women hoping to put their babies up for adoption to first publish their sexual histories in the newspaper in order to notify any potential fathers of their plans. It led to a huge uptick in abortions, oddly enough, something he also doesn’t think women should have the right to do. Jeb! has also [mis]understood women’s issues as recently as this year. Just last month he said that Planned Parenthood is "not actually doing women's health issues." Oh, Jeb!
Jeb! was fortunate enough to leave office in Florida in 2007, just before a major recession grasped the entire nation largely caused by his brother’s idiot financial policies and insistence on going to war at every opportunity. He now famously says he led the nation in job creation as governor but Florida immediately shed all of those new jobs in 2008 so, like, is that so impressive? Bush has also tried to ding Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton over the State Department email scandal, apparently forgetting that his own highly publicized gubernatorial email release was edited to a comically obvious degree and included no correspondence that related to any event that actually happened while he was governor. Ah, transparency.
Jeb!’s time as governor was also even less popular with his family than with the people of Florida. Columba (who is now considered one of his presidential campaign’s biggest liabilities because she wants nothing to do with his campaign or political career) has publicly blamed his career for ruining her kids, most of whom have run into trouble of some sort, either with drugs or the law or with banging girls in public.
Power: A Post-Florida Love Affair
For years, many Americans were convinced that Jeb must be the smarter Bush brother. This was mostly because nobody ever thought about Jeb! enough to notice that he was clearly the less-favored son - just look at him, always been standing slightly behind George and posing slightly out of Poppy’s reach. Jeb!’s 2016 campaign has been largely defined by having more money than God, but it’s started hemorrhaging all the good donors ever since people actually started paying attention to Jeb! himself. That’s probably fine since Jeb! doesn’t seem all that certain that he wants to win anyway. Though he committed to the paleo lifestyle to slim down for the campaign, he announced his plans to run by obliquely tweeting that he was “excited to explore the possibility of running for president” instead of just excited to run. He’s hated by conservatives because he thinks immigration is “an act of love” and won’t sign Grover Norquist’s ridiculous anti-tax pledge, but he’s hated by moderates because of his total disdain for anybody who is non-white, non-male, non-rich, and non-NRA-loving. In addition he’s hated by all for his establishment ties, last name, and general financial resemblance to non-stool-sitter Mitt Romney. Winning combo? It actually might be. This is the GOP we’re talking about after all.
Oh, and if all of this was too much for you to read, here’s info about the comic book edition of Jeb!’s life story. That’s a real thing.