Not since he backed his brother up on 9/11 and the Iraq War has Jeb Bush gone and said something so bone-headed that he risks what little is left of his chances at a successful presidential campaign. Believe it or not, Bush actually came out and said during CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sunday, “I admire Rick Snyder for stepping up right now.”
That’s right, Jeb Bush came out publicly as siding with the infamous Gov. Rick Snyder regarding the #FlintWaterCrisis. He thinks he’s doing a good job and owning up to his mistake in stripping Flint residents of their voices and democracy; placing in a privately hand-selected Emergency Manager to rule the city like a dictator, insisting Snyder knows best; and switching the city’s source of drinking water from Detroit to the heavily contaminated Flint River, consequently leading to a steep spike in the lead levels of children and creating a man-made catastrophe that’s being referred to as “Michigan’s Katrina.” The move shifted from allegedly saving Michigan mere millions to costing the state an estimated $1.5 billion or more in the long run.
And those children will never be the same for it.
Bush said during the interview, “[Snyder’s] going to the challenge, and he’s fired people and accepted responsibility to fix this.”
Though Bush wished to make clear he is critical of the decisions that led Flint into its present crisis, he wants the world to know he’s a company guy, willing to tow the Republican line for a fellow conservative. That’s why he also stated, “[W]hat I’m saying, though, instead of saying, ‘The dog ate my homework,’ and, ‘It’s someone else’s fault’–once it became clear, he’s taken the lead now, and that’s exactly what I think leaders have to do.”
And sure, Gov. Snyder has taken the lead, in a manner of speaking. He did take the lead in stripping Flint of its democracy and the people their voices. He did take the lead in instituting another emergency manager law after the people of Michigan voted the first one down. Snyder also took the lead in selecting Flint’s emergency manager and overseeing his emergency management system across the state, which means he is ultimately responsible for any and all decisions made by himself and his emergency management system in Flint, from start to finish, where it is concerned with the water crisis. Consequently, he’s also taken the lead in firing accomplices and scapegoats, as well as hiring PR firms to spin the hot seat away like a kid on a bar stool.
But Bush isn’t talking about any of that “leadership.” No, he’s talking about the hollow apology Snyder gave last week at Michigan’s heavily protested State of the State address, where “one tough nerd” said, “I’m sorry, and I will fix it… Government failed you… I’m sorry most of all that I let you down. You deserve better. You deserve accountability. You deserve to know that the buck stops here with me.”
That’s why he released only some of his emails regarding the scandal, leaving out the entire year during the negotiations leading up to the decision to switch water sources for the city of Flint in one of only two states in the nation where the governor is immune to Freedom of Information Act requests—because we “deserve” the “accountability” Rick Snyder mentions and the “transparency” for which Jeb Bush praises him. That’s why he still refuses to resign from office despite the people, celebrities and even presidential candidates calling for it—because “the buck stops” with him.
Yet in reality, Snyder refuses to resign or accept responsibility, let alone listen to a healthy conscience that would encourage him to turn himself into police for poisoning an entire city. Lack of malicious intention for involuntary manslaughter does not always free one from doing time, right? Why should a governor who poisoned an entire city make for an exception just because he made “a mistake”? Intention or no, he still poisoned the city. It was still on his watch, under his dictatorial leadership. You do the crime (whether you meant harm or no), you do the time. Isn’t that we’ve always been told? That’s the American way.
And still, Jeb Bush–hopeless, lost soul that he is–sides with Snyder.
Is it any wonder he’s found it so difficult to become the conservative front-runner?
Featured image by Gage Skidmore via WikiMedia, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.