In his Esquire interview with king of snark Tucker Carlson, the testy former Florida governor gets a few things off his chest. First of all, his brother was like, way more popular than the current president at this stage of the game (actually, he wasn’t…) Republican ideas are popular too, they just need to stop saying them with such nasty faces on. Republicans just need to learn to speak more kindly, and more gently, you know, like Jeb. … okay, maybe not exactly like Jeb, who seems about as cuddly as a velociraptor. But you get his point: the GOP needs to, in Jeb’s words, “find more creative ways to express [its] principles,” especially to Hispanic voters. [Sidebar: The John Ensign solution: express your principles in increments of $12,000... the Sarah Palin solution: express them walkin'.] Jeb didn’t take the bait on the right wing’s Obama = socialist meme, at least not entirely:
CARLSON: Is Obama a socialist?
JEB: I don’t know. Define socialism for me. It’s a word… I believe he’s a collectivist. He believes that through collective action, through government, you can solve more problems.
JEB: Socialism is pejorative in America, so people stop listening. People are tired of it. That word won’t stick. It’s a turnoff. It doesn’t help.
And while he didn’t offer any new ideas of his own (his solution to the economic morass: cut taxes and cut spending. yawn. … Jeb did demonstrate the one quality that sets him apart from the rest of his family, with the exception of his father. He may not be the most compassionate conservative around (sorry sick people and disabled kids. You should have been smart enough to be born rich…) but he’s not an idiot (…apparently, he doesn’t have all that much respect for idiots, either, his older brother notwithstanding):
[Bush laughs when he hears that Joe the Plumber briefed House Republicans on Gaza. He doesn't seem to really believe it. Brother and son of recent Republican presidents, he doesn't seem to fully understand what's going on in the party his family has dominated for more than two decades. "Joe the Plumber? Really?" he says. "Well, that... Really?" In response, he mounts a defense of erudition and expertise.]
I think it’s okay to have a deeper understanding of things. I think it’s okay to talk in three-syllable words. The world we’re living in is incredibly complex. And simplifying things to the point where you’re misunderstanding where we are as a nation isn’t going to help people overcome their fears or give them hope that they can achieve great things. I don’t get inspired by shameless populism.