Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush touched a third rail at the Republican National Convention in his speech on Thursday night—he paid tribute to his brother, George W. Bush.
Jeb Bush, after receiving a standing ovation from delegates in Tampa, defended the deeply unpopular last Republican president."My brother, well, I love my brother," Bush said. "He is a man of integrity, courage, and honor; and during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe.”
In a speech that focused mostly on education reform, Bush also had an economic message for President Obama. “So, Mr. President, it is time to stop blaming your predecessor for your failed economic policies,” Bush said. “You were dealt a tough hand, but your policies have not worked. In the fourth year of your presidency, a real leader would accept responsibility for his actions, and you haven't done it.”
That predecessor was, of course, George W.
Bush 43, as the last president is known, decided not to come to the convention and has hardly been mentioned from the stage. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan made an implicit and hardly flattering reference to him when he said he and presidential nominee Mitt Romney would keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP or less “in a clean break from the Obama years and, frankly, from the years before this president.”
Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, is among many Republicans who voted for Bush initiatives that increased the deficit, including wars, tax cuts, the auto bailout, and a Medicare prescription-drug program. Ryan has more recently proposed stringent federal budgets that sharply cut spending and taxes.
Convention delegates did see a video this week featuring George W. Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush (Bush 41) affectionately bantering with each other about their presidencies and expressing support for Mitt Romney.