Jeb Bush Calls POLITICO “Trash”, Yet Used Them to Advance Ed Policy Agenda in 2011

Last evening POLITICO printed a story from Florida-based journalist Marc Caputo that staffers from Jeb Bush’s campaign were shopping their resumes.

Several Jeb Bush campaign workers are already shopping their résumés with Florida political consultants as expectations mount inside his team that their candidate won’t push on after South Carolina.

“I can unequivocally tell you that people are looking for work, because they say they’ve been led to believe that they won’t have a job because the campaign won’t be around any longer or their jobs won’t because the campaign won’t have any money,” said one Republican who helps run one of the Florida campaigns and who is a Bush donor.

Four separate and senior political consultants in Florida said they have been negotiating with potential employees who are preparing for the end of the Bush campaign. The entreaties for new work from these Bush staffers — most of whom are not top-level campaign hands — have markedly increased apace with signs that the former Florida governor is under pressure to exit the race after Saturday’s GOP primary if he performs poorly.

“I have people in [Marco] Rubio’s campaign and various campaigns I talk to and said ‘Hey, if it doesn’t work out for you, come and work for us,’” said one of the consultants. “Suddenly in the past week, I’m getting calls and they’re asking me: ‘Are you looking for somebody?’ And those people are exclusively Jeb people.”

POLITICO has indeed been reporting this week on the Bush campaign’s demise. A remarkable piece from Michael Kruse yesterday afternoon provided a timeline to the relationship between Bush and Marco Rubio and is tellingly titled How Marco Rubio Slew His ‘Mentor’ . A morning story, Bush Machine Running on Fumes was penned by Eli Stokols.

Obviously seeing a pattern, Bush struck back last night:

In response to POLITICO’s report, Bush told FOX’s Megyn Kelly on Friday night: “I don’t read Politico. I think it’s trash.” He didn’t deny the substance of the report.

Embolden print mine – and for a reason.

Bush clearly didn’t think that way in 2011 when he used POLITICO to advance his education policy agenda. In an ironically titled opinion piece, Lead or Get Out of the Way on Schools Bush sought to influence then Education Secretary Arne Duncan to grant ESEA (No Child Left Behind) waivers to states which had education infrastructure which pleased him.

Such an exercise in federal power over education policy was not new to Bush. During the same month he penned his POLITICO piece, he used his tremendous political influence to squash opposition to common core standards at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual meeting in New Orleans.  Bush was only able to stall ALEC temporarily as they passed anti-common core legislative measures 4 months later in Scottsdale, Arizona.

All signs point to the curtain falling on Bush’s campaign today in South Carolina. Of his primary opponents only Donald Trump has made Bush’s education record an issue predictably calling it “a joke.” Opponents of Bush’s education agenda in Florida – including this writer – have homes on both sides of the political spectrum. For us, his demise comes as no surprise. Maybe even a bit of schadenfreude, too.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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