In an interview with a New Hampshire newspaper Jeb Bush, Republican candidate for president, criticized Obama’s foreign policy for taking a “nuanced approach – where it’s all kind of so sophisticated it makes no sense, you know what I’m saying? Big-syllable words and lots of fancy conferences and meetings – but we’re not leading, that creates chaos, it creates a more dangerous world.” This anti-intellectualism is of course a pose.  Bush went to that most fancy and intellectual prep school Phillips Academy in Massachusetts and is a college graduate. Yet he feels that he must dumb himself down (and that is saying something for a member of the Bush family) in order to appeal to those he wants to vote for him. If that is not an insult to the American people I don’t know what is. It is moreover a statement that says that the rest of the world is as dumb as he assumes the American electorate to be. It is an appeal to get away from Obama’s “nuanced” approach to foreign policy and back to the old American foreign policy of being a bull in a china shop wielding American lives and money as a club.

Unlike others among the Republican presidential candidates Bush is not a lawyer.  His diplomatic experience is limited to teaching classes in Mexico as a high school student, speaking Spanish and marrying a Mexican woman. He feels and wants to convince us that his experience as a wealthy real estate developer and former governor of Florida is exactly what this country needs in its leadership. There are other Republican candidates with gubernatorial experience and others with much more public service experience than Bush.  If real estate development experience is a prerequisite then Trump has even more than Bush and we can see where that leads. Why then should people vote for Bush? Yes his family name recognition makes him a front runner and he has managed to raise money from the Republican fat cats, but why does he say we should vote for him? We should vote for him because he is less nuanced, doesn’t use as many three syllable words and doesn’t have as many meetings on foreign policy.

This is horrifying. We should all want our leaders to have a nuanced foreign policy, use whatever words necessary, and have as many meetings as it takes to avoid sending our troops off to war or to keep from sending our money abroad. The idea that the people who are working on our behalf should be “dumber” or less skilled is certainly an odd one. I for one want them to be better than that and as good as they can be. We should want our diplomats to be as much better than us at “diplomatting” as our soldiers are better than us at fighting.

I have hope that our electorate is better than this and there are enough voters to see the hypocrisy of Bush’s attempts to portray himself as one of the people. I hope we have learned our lesson about the last Bush we elected and will not fall for this again.  Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.


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