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March 13, 2005

Leaked Bush Tapes: This Time Jeb Gets Hit

The story's a little different this time: the subject, Tom Slade, is a key Republican organizer in Florida, and he knew he was being taped. However, he says he was told he was giving the interview for a book to be written at some later date, and didn't know his comments would be immediately dashed off to the press.

I don't think he has that much cause for complaint; after all, the comments easily could have been released in a book just before Jeb Bush's likely bid for president in 2008.

Still, a little bit of a hatchet job, and again demonstrating how the press-corps' hearts' beat just a little bit faster when they're up the noses of Republicans. Especially Republicans touted as possible presidential candidates.

In an interview in January, Slade said Bush ``does not have the maturity ... and wisdom'' to be president, and that Bush's administration has been marked by a ``dictatorial'' style and reluctance to take advice. That, he said, could prove a problem for the Republican Party in the future.

He said Jeb Bush and his brother President Bush ``are arrogant as hell.''

...

When Slade learned last week that his interview with Paulson would be the subject of a Tampa Tribune story, he said the comment about Jeb Bush's maturity referred not to his present opinion of Bush, but to the opinion he held earlier in Bush's political career, after his loss in the 1994 governor's race.

He said he has revised that opinion.

...

Most of his statements in the interview, though, are made in the present tense, and all seem to apply to the later Jeb Bush. Slade said, for example, that Jeb Bush ``just didn't have the maturity and wisdom to do his brother's job,'' meaning the presidency, which George W. Bush won in 2000.

Hate to say it, but the Trib seems right on the "present tense" point.

...

Paulson, himself a dedicated Republican, interviewed Slade Jan. 13 at Slade's Jacksonville home. He made a tape of their three-hour talk available to the Tribune.

Two points: First, the press loves claiming that those who involved in Republican hits are themselves "dedicated Republicans." Says who? Says Paulson? Is there any evidence of this apart from his say-so?

Second: Why is it that only alleged Republicans are identified by party affiliation in these hits? Seems to me that most hits come from, ahem, "dedicated liberals or Democrats," and yet the press, in those cases, does not see fit to reveal the partisan sympathies of the person involved.

A lot of this seems to have less to do with politics per se than personal politics:

...[T]he relationship between Slade and Bush cooled after Bush assumed the governor's office.

In the Paulson interview, Slade recounts his opposition to the new chairman Bush chose, Al Cardenas of Miami, and the subsequent bad blood between himself and Cardenas as part of the reason for his break with Bush.
...

Slade [opined], ``They are both arrogant as hell. But George W. has the better part of wisdom.

``I finally came to the conclusion after a relatively short period of time that Jeb does not have the maturity to be president of the United States,'' he said. ``He was clearly smart enough, and probably smarter than his brother, but just didn't have the maturity and wisdom to do his brother's job.''

This seems to be the sort of thing that liberals take as deadly criticism but which many conservatives call "principled and determined leadership:

Bush ``is obviously bright, he is obviously highly principled,'' Slade said in January's interview, but is ``absolutely and uncompromisingly'' committed to his own ideas ``without any need for or tolerance for any advice. ... He is pretty dictatorial in the way he runs things.''

Slade seems to tip his hand as to his reasons for disatisfaction with Bush: Slade's a bit more liberal than Bush is.

Bush ``has been such a powerful figure there has not been any room at all for dialogue. That's not helping,'' he said. ``For us to sustain ourselves, the party's got to be a more inclusive party.''

When ostensible Republicans begin repeating the constant bleat of the New York Times editorial page and of every third Anna Quindlan column, I sort of tune them out as the sorts of observers I care much to consider.

And so the 2008 race is now not merely begun, but substantially engaged.


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posted by Ace at 02:27 PM

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