Den libertære Bush

Weekly Standard har i sin seneste udgave en artikel, der skamroser Bush. Nej, det drejer sig ikke om præsidenten George, men derimod dennes broder Jeb, der er guvernør i Florida. I artiklen præsenteres Jeb Bush som intet mindre end USA's bedste guvernør. Man skal selvfølgelig have i mente, at Weekly Standard er særdeles pro-republikansk og at der en udpræget mangel på feel-good historier fra den republikanske lejr i disse tider. Alligevel må Jeb Bush' resultater siges at være imponerende og man kan godt ærgre sig over, at det ikke er Jeb men George, der sidder i huset på 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Jeb Bush, der ifølge ham selv besidder et "libertarian gene" kan se tilbage på en række bemærkelsesværdige politiske resultater, som bør opmuntre desillusionerede borgerlig-liberale, der har mistet troen på, at det er muligt for borgerlige politikere at føre borgerlig-liberal politik:  

In a state with a surging population, Bush has presided over a booming economy with the highest rate of job creation in the country and an unemployment rate of 3.0 percent (the national average is 4.6 percent). Florida has no state income tax, but Bush has nonetheless found a way to cut taxes every year of the eight he's been in office. Meanwhile, he's trimmed the state employment rolls by 11,000.

[…]

He's the first governor to impose stringent testing and accountability on Florida elementary and secondary schools, along with three voucher programs, the most ambitious of which was struck down this year by the (liberal and majority Democratic) state supreme court. This achievement went beyond the No Child Left Behind program of his brother, President Bush, who dropped vouchers in a compromise with Democrats in 2001.

On health care, no governor has attacked Medicaid, whose costs are swamping state budgets, more boldly than Bush. He wangled a breathtakingly broad waiver from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to privatize Medicaid in two populous counties, Duval (Jacksonville) and Broward (Fort Lauderdale). The new program, affecting more than 200,000 Medicaid recipients, goes into effect July 1.

Hvordan er Jeb så forskellig fra George?:

Friends of Jeb compare him favorably with his brother, but they're wary of doing it on the record. One former Republican governor insisted that Jeb Bush "is far more gifted than his brother or his father," the elder President Bush. A consultant who knows both Jeb and George says, "Jeb is excellent and George is above average."
The conventional wisdom is that Jeb is the smart one who thinks through issues, and George is merely savvy and acts on instinct. That's a media myth. Both think alot before they act. And they agree on many things. JebBush has visited Iraq and backs the policy there. He agrees with his brother on immigration and taxes and soon.

But there are significant differences, so many that conservative activist Grover Norquist says, "Jeb Bush is adopted." There's no "genetic mix" with his father or his brother, according to Norquist. He is joking, of course, to highlight the ideological gap between Jeb and the Bush family. Jeb Bush is a small government conservative. He was feted in Washington in 2003 by the libertarian Cato Institute and talks about having a "libertarian gene." President Bush has no such gene. He's what I call a strong government conservative and others refer to as a big government conservative. True, President Bush is closer ideologically to President Reagan than to his father, a moderate. But Jeb Bush is closer to Reagan than his brother is.
But there are significant differences, so many that conservative activist Grover Norquist says, "Jeb Bush is adopted." There's no "genetic mix" with his father or his brother, according to Norquist. He is joking, of course, to highlight the ideological gap between Jeb and the Bush family. Jeb Bush is a small government conservative. He was feted in Washington in 2003 by the libertarian Cato Institute and talks about having a "libertarian gene." President Bush has no such gene. He's what I call a strong government conservative and others refer to as a big government conservative. True, President Bush is closer ideologically to President Reagan than to his father, a moderate. But Jeb Bush is closer to Reagan than his brother is.But there are significant differences, so many that conservative activist Grover Norquist says, "Jeb Bush is adopted." There's no "genetic mix" with his father or his brother, according to Norquist. He is joking, of course, to highlight the ideological gap between Jeb and the Bush family. Jeb Bush is a small government conservative. He was feted in Washington in 2003 by the libertarian Cato Institute and talks about having a "libertarian gene." President Bush has no such gene. He's what I call a strong government conservative and others refer to as a big government conservative. True, President Bush is closer ideologically to President Reagan than to his father, a moderate. But Jeb Bush is closer to Reagan than his brother is.

Jeb has vetoed hundreds of spending measures. His friends are not immune to his veto knife. Bush and Mel Martinez were good friends in 1999 when Martinez, then an Orange County (Orlando) official and now a U.S. senator, got the legislature to approve funding for a transportation project. Bush "vetoed the damn thing," Martinez says. "He's legendary for that. He does it to his best friends." In contrast, President Bush is legendary for not vetoing a single spending bill.

Nedenfor følger en mere detaljeret opgørelse over Jeb Bush's resultater: 

* Political leadership: Florida was a weak-governor state when Bush arrived. No more. It had cabinet government with six elected state officials besides the governor. Now the cabinet has been reduced to three members plus Bush, and power is not shared equally. Bush rules. He removed the bar association from a role in naming judges and now controls the selection process. He also eliminated the state board of regents, took control of the board of every public university, and gained the right to name the state education commissioner. And he's changed the policy debate from how much government can do to how much it should leave to the people and the free market. "That's his greatest effect," says Robert McClure of the Bush-friendly James Madison Institute in Tallahassee.

* The economy: It's bursting at the seams. Florida is no longer totally reliant on tourism, agriculture, and the retiree industry. Under Bush, Florida has become the fourth largest high-tech state. Its bond rating has been hiked to Triple A. The economy, in Bush's words, was "knocked for a jolt" by 9/11. He "went out to shamelessly promote" tourism, and state construction projects were accelerated. It worked. He stubbornly fought a high-speed train connecting Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. It was approved in a 2000 referendum, only to be rejected in 2004 at Bush's urging.

* Taxes: Bush has slashed $20 billion in taxes over eight years and enjoys the heartburn this gives the media and liberals. "I do love it," he says. "Prior to my arrival, there may have been a tax cut or two, but normally the way to solve problems was to raise taxes." This y
ear, the legislature kille
d what Bush calls "the evil, insidious intangibles tax" on stocks and bonds. His tax cuts are all the more shocking in a state with no income tax but with a balanced budget requirement.

* Education: Bush's education reforms have been vindicated by scholarly studies. Jay Greene and Marcus Winters of the Manhattan Institute found testing to end social promotion in Florida schools had led to "substantial academic gains for low-performing schools." A Harvard study concluded the stigma of poor student performance and the threat of vouchers caused schools to improve. The test scores of African-American and poor students rose significantly. One example: The percentage of African-American fourth graders reading at grade level doubled to 56 percent from 1999 to 2005.

* Medicaid: Bush's bold experiment, due to begin in less than a month, has important national implications. In Broward and Duval counties, Medicaid recipients will choose among 19 insurance plans. The program provides incentives to change behavior by quitting smoking, seeking preventive care, and getting dental exams. The aim is not to cut the cost of Medicaid but to slow its staggering growth: Florida's Medicaid budget jumped from $7 billion in 1999 to $16 billion in 2006. If the Florida test succeeds, other states will follow.

* Medicaid: Bush's bold experiment, due to begin in less than a month, has important national implications. In Broward and Duval counties, Medicaid recipients will choose among 19 insurance plans. The program provides incentives to change behavior by quitting smoking, seeking preventive care, and getting dental exams. The aim is not to cut the cost of Medicaid but to slow its staggering growth: Florida's Medicaid budget jumped from $7 billion in 1999 to $16 billion in 2006. If the Florida test succeeds, other states will follow.

Må man foreslå d'herrer Fogh og Hjorth Frederiksen en studietur til Florida? En sådan ville være en sjældent gavnlig udnyttelse af borgernes skattepenge. 

4 Kommentarer

  1. Interessant og ganske opmuntrende. Ikke mindst mhp. 2012 eller 2016. Jeg tror og håber, han er for klog til at stille op i 2008.Jeg er også en smule bange for, at der er tale om ønsketænkning, når der skrives…”…President Bush is closer ideologically to President Reagan than to his father, a moderate. But Jeb Bush is closer to Reagan than his brother is.”Jo, vi håber bestemt alle, der en dag dukker en ny Reagan op, men jeg tvivler på, at han eller hun skal findes indenfor Bush familien.

  2. Erik Kofoed

    6. juni 2006 at 10:06

    God artikel!Men er der en særlig grund til, at dele af teksten skal gentages 3-4 gange??Mvh Erik

  3. Ganske opmuntrende læsning på en nat, hvor man ikke kan sove.Det ville da være skønt at se, at det Republikanske Parti fand tilbage til sine “rødder” – hvormed jeg forstår Barry Goldwaters smukke libertarianske linje.Jeg har personligt mistet meget for Republikanerne efter, at man er begyndt at fokusere og udøve indflydelse igennem en stærk føderal regering (uha… det isner helt ned af ryggen når jeg skriver det). Et strålende eksempel er debatten om et forfatningsmæssigt forbud mod bøsseægteskaber, som mange republikanere er for. Hvis vi går 20-30 år tilbage i tiden, var det Demokraterne man primært kunne forestille sig, ville bruge føderal lovgivning til at påvirke livet i delstaterne – i dag er det direkte omvendt.Det bliver spændende at se, hvordan Jeb vil klare sig fremover.Og lige et post scriptum: Jeg er meget imod, at man via Medicaid (læs: statan) vil have folk til at holde op med at ryge.VenligstNikolaj

  4. Nedenstående fangede lige min opmærksomhed:gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2006/06/jeb-bush-on-ticket-scalping.htmlDet er sjældent man ser den slags herhjemme; politikere som helst ser, at folk selv finder ud af hvad en vare skal koste og hvem der skal forhandle den. Som Nikolaj siger, det bliver spændende at se, hvordan han vil klare sig fremover. Jeg kan li’ det jeg hører, men synes ikke man kan tillade sig at være alt for positiv – lidt burde man da have lært af Foghs, ehm, politiske modningsproces.

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