Iraq escalation benefits only Jeb Bush

Iraq escalation benefits only Jeb Bush

Senator McCain presents as someone who figures it’s his turn, per
generally the way GOP presidential nominations work—the next man in
line steps up, wins the nomination usually without too much difficulty,
and then wins or loses the general election. The occasional exception
like Barry Goldwater is characterized for a generation in party lore as
someone who tore the party apart and then went on to lose the
presidential election in a landslide. McCain is showing his loyalty in
spades to the Bush team, to the Oval Office. But only some obliviousness
to history would predict that his loyalty will be repaid with unstinting
support by Team Bush.


There can be no happy Iraq outcome for McCain. If things get worse–the overwhelming probability–then even he will be forced to bail on
the policy at some point, and the question will always be why he did not
do so earlier, saving more lives; why he did not put his independent
power base to better use. He will be associated with, and he is
aggressively associating himself with, catastrophe. If things were by
some miracle to get better, the Iraq War is still Bush’s war. Meanwhile,
Governor Jeb Bush sits comfortably by in Florida, in relative political
safety in spite of Mark Foley, the sugar growers, his family’s several
run-ins with the law, the ecological disaster in the Everglades, and the
ongoing election fraud in Florida. Jeb Bush is not tied to Iraq policy;
he has no son in Iraq; he is not storming the country in support of
Bush’s escalation.

Jeb Bush

White House Iraq policy at this point, in other words, may be guided by
desire to help Jeb win next time. This is the only perspective from
which the escalation makes even bad sense.

Of course, a plausible alternative explanation is that it makes no sense
at all—that it is merely Bush’s vain effort to prolong the war, which
is what he cares about most, while his cronies with both hands in the
cookie jar frantically extract their utmost.

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