Back in September in “Bush League De-Regulation,” I took note of Jeb Bush’s Wall Street Journal op-ed about his views on regulation. I wondered whether he really understands the problem sufficiently, and concluded:
This is another sign that Bush, as good as he is in many ways, is not good enough. He doesn’t get the full depths of the problem. Like his dad and older brother.
Today, as reported by John McCormack in the Weekly Standard, Jeb called for repealing the Citizens United decision:
“The ideal thing–situation–would be to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that allows for effectively unregulated money independent and regulated money for the campaign. I would turn that on its head if I could,” Bush said. . . “It’s going to require an amendment to the Constitution,” Bush added.
Congratulations, Jeb: you’ve just made common cause with Hillary and Bernie. Perhaps Bush means something different and more sound than this; i.e., get rid of contribution and spending limits for candidates, as well as independent efforts. (Or Congress could remove the current limits by statute.) That would be a good idea. But Bush didn’t say that. Instead he used the liberal formulation, and sets up an expansion of government regulation of political speech. (Let’s be clear here: there should be no limitation on independent campaign spending.) Is Jeb that clueless, or does he think we’re stupid? Like the rest of the family he suffers from an articulation problem, at the very least.
He’s wrong, by the way: you don’t need a constitutional amendment, nor do you need Citizens United reversed. Instead, the Supreme Court should reverse the other decisions that upheld contribution limits to candidates. (And watch the left lose what’s left of their minds.) Justice Clarence Thomas is for doing this. It is a bad sign that Bush doesn’t understand this.
Which suggests a way of clarifying this problem at the next debate. I propose the following question:
Governor Bush: Your father made two Supreme Court appointments: David Souter, and Clarence Thomas. Souter was a liberal and great disappointment to conservatives, as he believed fully in the idea of the “living Constitution.” Justice Thomas believes in constitutional originalism. Your brother made two appointments: John Roberts, who upheld Obamacare twice, and Sam Alito,* who voted twice to strike it down. As president, which kind of justice would you appoint: Souter and Roberts, or Alito and Thomas?
If he gets this question, I bet he punts.
* Remember that Alito was only appointed after Bush had to withdraw the appointment of his friend and loyal staffer Harriet Miers, who had no record to go on (or what little record there was was very unsettling). I have a good source who told me that Bush was entirely unenthusiastic about the Alito appointment, resented the conservative pressure that forced him into it, and considered Alito to be “a hack.” Another reason to spray Roundup on all Bushes until the can is empty.