When I created the Curmie II Award last year, I said it was still OK to talk about the previous year until the college football season was over. Well, the national championship game hasn’t happened yet, so here we go with the second annual installment. The Curmie II, you may recall, Gentle Reader, goes to a politician for “statements so absurd on their face that we wonder how the speaker is capable of dressing himself, let alone holding public office.” The inaugural award went to Representative Mike Rogers for his immortal line, “You can’t have your privacy violated if you don't know your privacy is violated.”
This year’s winner is former President and still politician George W. Bush, for this gem: “I think you have to earn your way into politics. I don’t think that anything is ever given to you.” Uh huh. Thus spake the son of a President and grandson of a Senator. No one ever accused W of being smart, but this really surpasses credulity. He couldn’t possibly believe that nonsense, could he?
Of course, there are those who really do make it on their own merits, however dubious those merits may be. Barack Obama is one; Ronald Reagan was another. But spare me from anyone named Bush, Rockefeller, or Kennedy, from Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul and Mitt Romney and Al Gore and Evan Bayh and all the others who got a foot in the door to politics because Daddy or Uncle Joe or Hubby or whoever was sufficiently powerful to be pandered to.
What is particularly disturbing about President Bush’s comment is that it was essentially unprompted. CBS’s Bob Schieffer didn’t ask about whether Jeb Bush would have an advantage because his father and brother had both been President. He said “Your Mom said there have been enough Bushes running for President. What do you two [the interview was with both W and Laura Bush] think about that?” And to that question, W responded that “sometimes her prognostications haven’t been very accurate” (what???) and then spouted the nonsense quoted above.
Schieffer, being one of the more incompetent journalists ever employed by a network, then changed the subject, as if Bush’s remarks had somehow been something other than jaw-droppingly stupid or transcendently arrogant or outright insane. Laura actually said a couple of intelligent things, they both said they’d do whatever Jeb wanted them to do if he decided to run, Schieffer sucked up a little more, and we were done.
Like his brother, Jeb Bush is white, male, heterosexual, Christian, rich on money he didn’t make… oh, and Daddy and Big Bro were both President. What sentient being would argue that he doesn’t have a huge advantage, all other things being equal? One is reminded of the great line by Jim Hightower about GHWB: “He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.” [I should note that the line was not original with Hightower, but he was the one who applied it, to great approbation, to George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Democratic Convention.]
The idea that wealth, name recognition, political connections, inside advice on negotiating hardball politics—that being born a Bush, in other words—isn’t a huge advantage… well, that’s a face-meltingly stupid comment, even for W. Indeed, it is enough so that he gets a Curmie II.