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Can Jeb Bush Be His "Own Man"?

By       Message David Sirota     Permalink
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Reprinted from Truthdig


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Jeb Bush's last name comes with advantages that are difficult to overstate. In a presidential race, he gets, among other things, instant name recognition and a built-in fundraising apparatus from his father and brother. Those assets alone explain why a man who hasn't won an election in more than a decade is nonetheless considered a serious contender for his party's presidential nomination.

And yet, a few months into the presidential race, Bush has not been able to turn "contender" into "front-runner," in part because he cannot seem to escape the legacy of the same last name that provides him so many privileges.

READ: What Voters Don't Know (Yet) About Jeb Bush

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Bush's struggle with the Bush legacy started in February, when the former Florida governor gave a speech declaring: "I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man." There was no problem with the rhetoric, except for the fact that it was accompanied by Bush announcing his foreign policy advisers -- 19 of 21 of which had formerly worked for his father or brother. A few months later, Jeb Bush said his brother was one of his top advisers on the Middle East.

George W. Bush's policy in that region soon became a focus of inquiry on the campaign trail. In May, Fox News' Megyn Kelly asked Jeb Bush: "Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the (Iraq) invasion?"

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David Sirota is a full-time political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He blogs for Working Assets and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. He is a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. His 2006 book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and is now out in paperback. He has been a guest on, among others, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NPR. His writing, which draws on his (more...)
 

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