Mike Kueber's Blog

October 7, 2015

Jeb Bush gets a bum rap on “stuff”

Filed under: Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:06 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’m not a big Jeb Bush supporter in his run for the presidency. Like his father, he seems a bit too eager to compromise, and when you combine this trait with his family connection to Mexico, you have a near certainty of a president who will grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants (about half Mexican) and ensure the further Latinization and balkanization of America. On a personal level, I don’t like the guy because of his adolescent reputation as an unpopular big bully that seems to have stuck with him.

But in the past two weeks, I believe Jeb has been unfairly criticized for two comments he made regarding “stuff”:

  • Regarding the call for action in response to the Oregon killings – “We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s very sad to see. But I resist the notion—and I had this challenge as governor—because we had—look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

This is precisely the notion that I have argued many times. Conservatives try to minimize the role of government in society, so it just doesn’t make sense to us that government should be expanded every time something bad happens. That would be a prescription for disaster. But Bush critics trivialized the substantive philosophy and instead quoted only “stuff happens,” as if Bush was pooh-poohing the entire tragedy.

  • Regarding how the GOP will make inroads into electoral support from African-Americans – “Our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

This, too, is a sound conservative position in opposition to the buying votes of special interests by giving them the spoils of government. But Bush critics, like Charles Blow of the NY Times, accuse him of stereotyping blacks as “leeches” and “welfare queens.”

Incidentally, the nonpartisan website fivethirtyeight.com recently published an article that provides the facts regarding the distribution of free stuff (means-tested Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, SSI, TANF, and welfare) among the races:

  • As of 2012, 21 percent of the U.S. population, or 52.2 million people, participated in one or more of those six programs on average each month.
  • In any given month during 2012, 42 percent of black Americans received a means-tested benefit, compared with 36 percent of Hispanics, 18 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders and 13 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
  • Currently the U.S. population is 77 percent white (62 percent of them non-Latino white Americans), 13 percent black, 17 percent Latino and 5 percent Asian. (Latinos are an ethnicity and may be of any race.)


  1. Mike,
    Interesting post. Latinization and Balkanization of America? I would suggest that most Mexicans who come to the U.S are hardworking people looking to better themselves and their families. Despite that, and being partly of Mexican heritage, I would not support amnesty. I doubt that Bush would either.

    But to suggest that the federal government should not take the initiative in gun control is short sighted. These mass shootings are not just bad things that happen. We have made gun laws so lax and the acquisition of semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines, not to say body armor, so easy that one person is now capable of killing dozens of people almost in seconds. Is that what the framers sought?

    Republicans (and most Democrats) cannot find the courage to buck the NRA. The right to bear arms is not the only right in the constitution and does not underpin the rest of our rights. I.e., we do not have to defend ourselves against our government by arming ourselves. Until there is meaningful gun control at the federal level our children will continue to be slaughtered and politicians will lament that bad things happen.

    Comment by Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez — October 8, 2015 @ 2:50 am | Reply

  2. Robert, I agree that the vast majority of Mexicans who come here are hardworking people looking to better themselves, although there seems to be a dramatic difference between the Mexicans coming here legally (rich and educated) and those coming illegally (poor and uneducated). Trump’s charge re: the illegal immigrants from Mexico was well beyond his typical hyperbole. My point is that the percentage of Americans from Latin American is exploding, and America should have the right to determine which people from which countries are admitted. That is what I meant by Latinization. I don’t think that position is racial. I don’t think Americans would be happy accepting a similar number of immigrants from Europe either, although color probably plays a role, as does religion especially in the case of Muslim immigrants.

    And the balkanization I’m referring to is our current dysfunction in government. I fear that too rapid of diversification will exacerbate the balkanization, although it is possible that we will reach a tipping point where the great majority accepts it (sort of like same-sex marriage).

    By amnesty, I mean that all illegal immigrants will be allowed to stay, and I think the Democratic Party, plus Jeb and Rubio will agree to this. That is not technically opening our borders, but it seems akin to what we were taught to be de facto open borders, although not de jure.

    Regarding gun control, I suppose you could take action on the fringes, like conservatives do with abortion, to drawback on this constitutional right. But I doubt the current Court would allow much of that, with its mindset that the 2nd amendment is intended to allow people to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. There would need to be another liberal on the Court to change this mindset.

    And I wonder if these mass murderers would choose alternatives weapons – like homemade bombs. Like in OKC.

    And finally, I wonder why you focus on protecting children as a factor. I hadn’t thought that gun killings of children were especially problematic, but maybe they happen with more regularity than I am aware of.

    Comment by Mike Kueber — October 8, 2015 @ 3:42 am | Reply

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