Prescient Jeb on Trump: ‘He’d be a chaos president’

Back before Donald Trump taught us that everything we thought we knew about presidential politics was wrong, the smart set believed that Jeb Bush would likely emerge from the huge field and become the Republican nominee. Bush turned out to be a complete flop and dropped out in February, having neither won nor finished higher than fourth in any of the primaries he contested.

But in one of the overpopulated debates before he dropped out, he said something that comes back to my mind most days lately. In the context of a long, rational but ultimately too-rational-and-complicated answer responding to Trump’s suggestion that the United States should ban all non-American-citizen Muslims from America, Bush said:

 “Donald is great at the one liners, but he is a chaos candidate, and he’d be a chaos president.”

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/15/2017 - 02:00 pm.

    There are always who are aware they can profit from chaos, and they are out now making money, making deals.

    And. there was an Andrew Sullivan column that made a very good point about the constant chaos:


    With someone like this barging into your consciousness every hour of every day, you begin to get a glimpse of what it must be like to live in an autocracy of some kind. Every day in countries unfortunate enough to be ruled by a lone dictator, people are constantly subjected to the Supreme Leader’s presence, in their homes, in their workplaces, as they walk down the street. Big Brother never leaves you alone. His face bears down on you on every flickering screen. He begins to permeate your psyche and soul; he dominates every news cycle and issues pronouncements — each one shocking and destabilizing — round the clock. He delights in constantly provoking and surprising you, so that his monstrous ego can be perennially fed. And because he is also mentally unstable, forever lashing out in manic spasms of pain and anger, you live each day with some measure of trepidation. What will he come out with next? Somehow, he is never in control of himself and yet he is always in control of you.

    One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. The president of a free country may dominate the news cycle many days — but he is not omnipresent — and because we live under the rule of law, we can afford to turn the news off at times. A free society means being free of those who rule over you — to do the things you care about, your passions, your pastimes, your loves — to exult in that blessed space where politics doesn’t intervene. In that sense, it seems to me, we already live in a country with markedly less freedom than we did a month ago. It’s less like living in a democracy than being a child trapped in a house where there is an abusive and unpredictable father, who will brook no reason, respect no counter-argument, admit no error, and always, always up the ante until catastrophe inevitably strikes. This is what I mean by the idea that we are living through an emergency.

    (end quote)

    One sentence bears repeating “One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all.”

    A very important idea.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/16/2017 - 06:23 am.


    Trump, in his business dealings, was a power manager. He believed he could use the force of his personality, along with any tools he might have had at hand, to overwhelm any opposition. For him, concepts like facts and truth when they weren’t in his favor, were to be overcome. The consequences, if any, could be dealt with by middle managers hired for the purpose. At that point, Trump would be gone, having moved on to the next thing.

    What we will find going forward is that the president is often now in the power position. Very few of the functions of government are really under his control. We have certainly seen that in the early days of the Trump presidency. My own guess, should Trump last deep into his term, is that what we will see is what we have in the Trump Organization. The CEO, i.e. the president, will become irrelevant to the day to day operations of the business. Real governing will be left to the alpha males he has left in charge of the departments who will have a free hand as long as they stay out of trouble and don’t embarrass Trump. It is a management structure that has it’s own problems, but it can work for a while, maybe long enough.

    • Submitted by Helen Hunter on 02/16/2017 - 12:34 pm.

      This structure is already crumbling.

      It’s an inherently weak structure, partly because trump does move on, partly because he only trusts what you refer to as “alpha males”, and over all because it’s built on greed and lawlessness.
      “Alpha males” is an offensive concept that came from 1960s-era popular primatology theorists like Lionel Tiger, who perhaps believed his name gave him a special talent for studying baboon behavior (?!) It celebrates the fictional idea that all human culture sprang from male humans’ hunting behavior, a theory made possible by the fact that very little can be learned about human culture from skeletal remains alone.
      A lovely exception is the evidence that Neanderthal people put flowers on their dead before burying them.
      But that is hardly “alpha male” behavior.
      Trump demonstrates the flaws of the theory in his choices of people to help him run (ruin) the government and by his own lawless amoral and ignorant behavior.
      Let us return as quickly as we can to representative, popularly elected government. We have a lot of work to do to mend the flaws in our system that facilitated the election of someone with no knowledge of or respect for democracy.

      • Submitted by Steve Sundberg on 02/17/2017 - 01:58 pm.

        Name blame?

        “… Lionel Tiger, who perhaps believed his name gave him a special talent for studying baboon behavior.”

        LOL @Helen Hunter. Your aim is true.

  3. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/16/2017 - 07:28 am.

    Agree completely

    It is very much a “Can’t see the forest for the trees” issue. Every Trump lie is another tree and every politician plants their lie trees here and there. What seems to be escaping notice, or at least outrage, is that the Trump forest is deeper, darker and bigger than anything previously encountered and the deeper we wander in the greater the danger to us. It is proven that almost 70% of his fact checked statements are lies. Imagine you have a cancer diagnosis and you are fighting for your life, in desperate need of good decisions. And 70% of what your Doctor tells you is false: how many bad paths do you go down? How long before it is simply to late to find the right one? The same example can be applied to numerous other life events like legal situations.

    I’ll certainly admit to liberal, left wing kook tendencies; but, the failure of the House Oversight Committee to do anything is criminal. Look at the energy expended on Benghazi and now we have known Russian attempts to influence our last Presidential election and known links from the Trump campaign to Russian officials during the campaign and the response from our oversight apparatus:

    “Nothing to see here, let’s move along”

    I do not know if evidence exists to remove Trump; but, it seems to be there for the Oversight Committee.

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 02/16/2017 - 12:47 pm.

    Jeb and Trump were right

    Trump is right, Jeb was a weak candidate. Jeb was right, Trump is a total chaos president. The last two Republican Presidents says a lot about their party. Bush nearly destroyed the world economy and Trump can’t put two truthful statements together that make any sense. Both are major liars. The Republican Party was behind Bush and they don’t know what to do with Trump. Not even Republican politicians trust Trump. Trump blatantly lies about facts and belittles anyone that challenges him. Trump is down right dangerous.

  5. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 02/16/2017 - 03:18 pm.

    Trump has the truthful news?

    Trump is a consummate liar! There is no way around that issue. He has the real news, really? I don’t think so. He bad mouths the news media every chance he gets. I wonder what a narcissist would do without the news media to get him the attention he so dearly needs. I have no idea how anyone knows what Trump is for or against. I guess that makes it easy for him to continually claim success because he has been on every side of every issue at some point in time. The safe thing to do when you hear Trump speaking is assume what he says is exactly the opposite of what the real truth is. You will be right more times than you are wrong. Melania has it right. She won’t even live in the same state with him. If Republican voter remorse doesn’t set in after Trump’s ineptitude our country is in big trouble. That will make two recent Republican Presidents where damage control will be required to clean up after them.

  6. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/16/2017 - 07:55 pm.


    The real question is: can we survive this chaos? The right wing nuts will not agree, but from this perspective, Obama left Trump a very well functioning executive branch. How long can it withstand this execution by tweet? Had really hoped this guy would prove me wrong, but my problem is watching (historical performance is usually a good predictor of future performance, and he is proving me right, prefer if he proved me wrong) not sure if that is a good thing or bad. We are on a train ride that will be a train wreck, problem, lots of folks think the train wreck is exactly what this country needs. Evidently they are looking back at 2008-9-10 with fond memories instead of, boy did we dodge a big one! How did Savoy brown put it with a little liberty: We’re “going down the road on the Hellbound Train” “I been so wrong Too late now” we’re “moving on” !

  7. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/17/2017 - 06:12 am.

    Trump is a consummate liar!

    Trump is a salesman, and salesmen do tend to exaggerate. That’s why we have Carfax. Or to mix the metaphors, it’s Trump’s music they like, and they don’t pay too much attention to the words. Democrats used to know this when we played “Happy Days are Here Again” at our conventions knowing they really weren’t.

  8. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/17/2017 - 08:57 am.

    Trump lies

    The relationship between Trump and truth is tenuous at best, and people understand that. What Trump says is rarely ever meant to be taken as literally true. With Trump, words are used to convey attitudes, emotions, feelings about the way the world is, and the way people want it to be. People who insist on literal truth, who don’t seem to grasp that there are indeed alternatives to fact, have missed the point of Trump. And as long as they don’t have a strategy for appealing to voters who vote on that basis, the prospects of winning future elections will continue to be dim.

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