If there's one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on in Washington D.C. it's that the parties have never been so divided. Barack Obama likes to blame the Republicans. Yet on the day Jeb Bush announced his candidacy in Miami, National Democratic Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was on a nearby stage, launching an all-out attack — four hours before he announced.
Wasserman Schultz, who lives in neighboring Broward County, and who served in the state legislature when Jeb was governor, said Floridians are in the best position to judge the governor. “I plan to have someone dogging Jeb Bush, not only in Florida, but wherever he campaigns,” she said.
“In Florida we witnessed first hand the consequences of putting in power someone who always thinks he is right and everyone who disagrees with him is wrong. No matter what the voters, or the legislature, or the courts say, at the end of the day Jeb Bush is going to get things his way, come hell or high water.”
She paused a moment, looking up from her notes, then said slowly: “That mentality put him at odds with the legislature, with the courts and with the voters of Florida. . . .”
Whoa. Wait one minute, Debbie. “At odds with the voters of Florida?” People in Florida like this guy. While brother George W. left the White House, struggling with an approval rating of 37 percent, his brother was leaving the governor's mansion with an approval rating of 64 percent. That's 64 percent!
Here's why Floridians like him. First of all he helped create jobs. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida added 1.32 million jobs during Jeb Bush's 8-year term. Compare this with the 162,000 jobs added by Scott Walker in Wisconsin during his 1-year term, while Texas added 2.25 million jobs during Rick Perry's 14 years in office.
During Jeb's terms, Florida's economy boomed, with its GDP growing 7.2 percent while the national average was 5.3 percent during that period, according to Department of Commerce records. So Debbie is going to have her work cut out for her.
Later in her attack, Wasserman Schultz said Jeb is “no different from other Republican candidates, and will have to remain loyal to the right wing Tea Party agenda to get the nomination.”
Here, Debbie's remarks could indeed do some good by jolting Jeb's memory back to his first election campaign, which many say was stolen when the Lawton Chiles campaign made mystery calls days before the election, to frighten hundreds of thousands of senior citizens.
A Florida Senate committee investigating the calls issued subpoenas for all records held by the Chiles campaign and the state Democratic Party to find out who made the calls.
That committee was successful in finding that Chiles staffers made the calls to senior citizens in nine populous counties. Callers said that Jeb's running mate, Tom Feeney, planned to abolish Social Security and cut Medicare. Seniors panicked and Jeb lost that election, the closest governor's race in Florida's history.
Jeb, don't let that happen again. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has warned that she's dogging you, so be careful. Remember what she did to Mitt Romney in a Democratic fundraising e-mail. She falsely charged that Romney wanted to abolish all abortions, whether it be rape or incest, or whatever.
To back up her charge, she joined parts of two unrelated sentences from a Los Angeles Times article. It was an outright lie, exposed, not by Fox, or some other right-wing outlet, but by Anderson Cooper on CNN.
Romney lost that election by a landslide, receiving 25 percent of the Hispanic vote, to Obama's 75 percent. In Florida, Jeb received an average of 60 percent of the Latino vote in his two victories.
Finally, that statement of Jeb's about immigrants coming to the United States illegally, despite risks and hardships, is “an act of love.” Conservative Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona agrees and applauds the governor for having the guts to make it. And the far right shouldn't forget that those three little words could mean an awful lot of votes for a candidate already fluent in Spanish.
Like most Americans, Bush also has said he supports increased border enforcement. In addition his policy offers a way to legal residency, if the illegal alien earns the right to such status over a period of years.
Among his stipulations are paying back taxes, learning English, and doing community service work. And they cannot get in line ahead of others who are here legally. How can the ultra right-wing confuse that policy with amnesty?
Remember Mitt. Romney was spouting off something called “self-deportation.” How many votes did that cost the Republican Party?
Malcolm Balfour worked as a producer for the CBS affiliate in Miami, was bureau chief of Reuters in Miami, and then became an article editor at the National Enquirer in the 1970s. He was a New York Post Florida correspondent for 27 years and worked as a freelance for numerous popular publications and television shows, from "Entertainment Tonight" and "Inside Edition" to "Hard Copy"and "Good Morning America." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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