How can America cure its economic recession?
One solution, according to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is for President Barack Obama to “just chill” and take “a three-month vacation.”
In a wide-ranging interview at Newsmax's West Palm Beach headquarters Monday, Bush said that Obama's meddling may be causing more harm than good.
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At the same time, the popular conservative younger brother of George W. Bush warned his fellow Republicans that Obama is not to be underestimated and may win re-election based on national electoral trends.
The two-term Florida Republican reserved his strongest criticism for policies coming from the White House that he says are contributing to a climate of business uncertainty.
“You know, it almost would be — this may sound a little flippant — but if the president and his team could just take like a three-month vacation, it might be helpful — just chill,” Bush said, when asked his prescription for getting the economy back to normal.
“Don’t try to propose new things and new regulations and new rules, and create this cloud of uncertainty that has frozen in place private investment,” Bush said. “That would be for starters.
“The second thing would be to create a pro-growth agenda for the country. If the country grew at 3.5 percent instead of 1.5 percent over a 10-year period, in the 10th year that variation of 2 percent, say, would create the economy of Germany.
“We should trust people interacting amongst themselves, investing in their own dreams, to far more prosperity than all of this command-and-control environment that exists in Washington,” Bush told Newsmax.
“If the president would just embrace that idea, which is a very American idea, he could get re-elected probably. But more importantly, we could start seeing people getting back to work again, and we could have economic growth.”
Economic growth, he said, is the key to many of the nation’s challenges.
“Without economic growth, our problems become overwhelming. With it, we can solve just about any problem,” said Bush.
Despite the chronic high unemployment, Bush said, “I wouldn’t underestimate [Obama’s] ability to get re-elected.
“People forget that in an off-election year, you have great volatility in turnout, and we had much higher turnout numbers than Democrats.
“But in a general election, where the focus might be on the presidential race and not on these other races, it is possible that he might be able to reassemble the coalition that allowed him to win,” he said.
Bush, who often is credited with keeping the Sunshine State on a sound fiscal footing at a time when other states engaged in deficit spendings, said the key to how 2012 plays out will be how carefully Republicans address the concerns of voters.
The midterms were more a repudiation of the political class in general, he said, and a “a complete rejection of this vast overreach that President Obama and his allies in Congress have attempted,” rather than a vote of confidence in the Republican Party.
Winning the confidence of voters will be the key, he said.
“If the Republicans break up in our disparate parts, rather than focus on the bigger, broader concerns of the American people, I could see that the president could get re-elected,” Bush said.
He said the electorate’s support for the GOP remains tentative, adding, “If Republicans line up to get in the front part of the trough to go after earmarks, and do what Democrats have done, and Republicans prior to them have done, the American people will reject the new Republican majorities in Washington.”
Bush told Newsmax there is no indication so far that Obama can pull off a Clintonian shift to the political center.
“It doesn’t appear to me that he’s going to pivot to the middle, or try to find common ground where there is,” Bush told Newsmax.TV.
“I hope he does that, I hope he tries to find common ground on the things that aren’t ideological. But it seems to me he’s totally committed to this ideology that’s out of step with the American people.”
Other highlights from Newsmax interview with Jeb Bush include:
- The apparent willingness of some tea party-backed candidates to shut down the federal government rather than raise the federal debt ceiling is “a little naïve. First of all, you can’t shut down the government. There are public safety, national security issues, that override a well-intended point, I’m sure, that government is way too big. Better to have a plan on how you reduce the debt by reducing the deficit. And that plan is out there.”
- He praised former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for having “incredible skill” politically, and says she appears to thrive on criticisms of her in the media. “She’s managed to figure out how to deal with this almost irrational displeasure of her. She turns it into a huge political strength. That requires just great political instincts, and she certainly has it.” But he said he would have to side with his mother Barbara Bush in the feud with Palin over what she termed “blue bloods” in the Republican Party.
- The Republican leader told Newsmax that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist had “abandoned” the Republican Party and was “not welcome” to return. If Crist does ever try to run again as a Republican, Bush predicts, “He’ll get crushed.”
- Bush slammed President Obama for failing to aggressively support the civil demonstrations against Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that followed Iran’s flawed election in 2009. Military options against Iran’s must not be removed from the table, he said, in order to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Bush also called the latest WikiLeaks disclosure of tens of thousands of confidential diplomatic cables “abhorrent” and “absolutely disgusting.”
- The former governor of Florida also said that the popularity of his older brother, former President George W. Bush, is rising again in part due to the inevitable comparison with President Obama. The former president has been on a national tour promoting his book "Decision Points."
- States such as Florida that have been relatively successful in keeping their finances in order should not be penalized while states that overextended their liabilities get bailed out by the federal government, he said. “We should make sure that the bad-behaving states don’t get in the front of the line for any kind of bailout in Washington at the expense of states like Florida who have behaved significantly better,” he said.
- He called education reform “a key element in our revival of America.” But he said federal policies have created “these monopolies” all around the country, school districts that he says are centered on the job needs of adults rather than the educational needs of children.
Bush said he cannot envision a circumstance that would lure him into making a presidential run.
“But look, what I have said — and it creates all sorts of scurrying around and speculation — is you never say never in life. All I’ve said is I’m not running in 2012,” Bush told Newsmax.
Editor's Note: See the Jeb Bush Video Clips and Read Other Excerpts from His Interview, Click Links Below:
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