THE PLANK DECEMBER 5, 2006
Three quick thoughts in response to Jason's post about Poppy and Jeb. First, it's not such a stretch for Jason to theorize that, deep down, H.W. might have preferred Jeb to be the son who ascended to the White House. The Bush family literature is filled with this kind of thing. For example, The Bushes, the tome written by Bush-family confidants Peter and Rochelle Schweizer, includes the following paragraph about H.W.'s thoughts during the 1994 campaign season:
As the father watched his sons campaign, he offered his own assessments of their strengths. When it came to Geroge W., it was all about his personality: "He is good, this boy of ours. He is uptight at times, feisty at other times--He includes people. He has no sharp edges on issues. He is no ideolgoue, no divider--All this talk about his wild youth days is pure nuts. His character will pass muster with flying colors." [Oops!] When he talked about Jeb, the focus was on his intellect and his beliefs, and he declared that his second son had a great political future. "There is no question in my mind that he will become a major political figure in the country. He is passionate in his caring and his beliefs. He speaks well and at six-foot-four is an impressive man."
There's also this detail about election night, 1994:
As George W. prepared to make his victory speech at ten o'clock, he received a telephone call from his father. They chatted for perhaps ten minutes, and then George hung up the phone with more than a hint of disappointment on his face. "It's [sic] sounds like dad's only heard that Jeb lost," he told his aunt Nancy. "Not that I've won."
Man, I'd forgotten how interesting that book was! My second thought is, given the Bushes' constant need to redeem themselves in the face of mistakes (real or imagined) made by other family members, does the fact that W. has been such a colossal screw-up make a future Jeb presidential campaign more likely rather than less? I think it might... (It makes it less likely in 2008, of course, but not 2012 or 2016.) Third, in light of what Poppy was saying about the differences between W. and Jeb, shouldn't this possibility be extremely disconcerting? With moderates like W. in the family, who needs ideologues?