Between the Lines

LBJeb

You knew Jeb Bush was going to run for president; after all, assuming the worst is really the essence of conservatism.  And, sure enough, he’s “actively exploring the possibility”—a half-measure that prefigures the weakness and tepidity of another Bush presidency.

Conservatives tempted to glom onto an alleged winner might want to contemplate the wisdom of the bromide that advises us to be careful what we wish for, because we just might get it.  Bromides are hard to avoid when analyzing the circumstances that might accompany the Second Bush Restoration.  Jeb exudes them like a snail excreting slime to smooth its path, such as when he addressed a gathering at Florida’s St. Leo University last year, where he held up Lyndon Baines Johnson as a model of good governance.  Citing Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power, an account of the early years of the Johnson presidency, Jeb declared that, once in the White House, he’d follow in LBJ’s footsteps and make himself “the master of the Senate.”

Bush made no mention of the “Great Society” welfare state that Johnson erected, which has survived pretty much intact to this day.  Instead, the one-term president who fought a losing war and was eventually brought down by it was exalted as the Great Cajoler: “He went and he cajoled, he begged, he threatened, he loved, he hugged, he...

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