‘I am sickened by the “second campaign” now being waged’

A reporter friend told me in 2006 that Jeb Bush responded to email, no matter how late (one response came after three in the morning). Reporters assigned to work yesterday filed stories about what Bush wrote in them. No flashes of insight here: not a single beguiling turn of phrase or policy revelation. Let’s get the emails written to water and parole boards, conservation groups, and chambers of commerce, please.

The New York Times posted a couple of responses, the first quoted to a man balking at motorcycle helmet laws. Bush:

“Think about how many times we could use government to decide what is and is not healthy or good for us — I am not sure that is the state we want to live in,” he wrote.

He was less of a hard-liner, though, when a gay Floridian hoping to win a job in Mr. Bush’s administration gently asked if his sexual orientation would present a problem.

“On the other stuff, don’t ask, don’t tell is fine with me,” Mr. Bush responded, appropriating the terminology President Bill Clinton used regarding gays in the military. “What you do in your private life is your business. If it crosses over into the public policy realm, then that is another matter. If you are comfortable with that, then we can proceed.”

But he could preen when required, as in this piece of hyperbolic mendacity concerning the 2000 vote counting:

“I am sickened by the ‘second campaign’ now being waged,” he wrote to a constituent in Port St. Lucie, Fla. “It degrades our great state and more importantly, does threaten our democracy.”

No mention of Bush’s campaign on Terri Schiavo’s behalf.

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