Damn Lies, and Jeb: a Cautionary Tale
By Jerald Cumbus (JCMach1)
..what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
-William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"
I have seen its number and its number is 2008. In one
vision of the future I see in that year George W. Bush hands
over the reins of power to his brother Jeb after another election
marred by election tampering, misplaced votes, voter disenfranchisement
and outright fraud. As George and Jeb hug in the ballroom
of some Tallahassee hotel, one nation proclaims "get
over it," it's simply a political dynasty. Meanwhile,
another nation screams and throws the newspaper at the television
and tries to decide whether it will be prescriptions or food
next month. In the words of Fox Mulder, we must fight
There is an inevitable trail that leads to the point I just
described and just like the election of 2000 the starting
and ending point is centered on the Chaotic nexus of the world,
Florida. Unless Jeb is defeated in 2002, he will still
be in place to manipulate Florida's system again in his brother's
favor. The seeds are already being sown. New 'felons'
are being purged and Republican operatives trained to manipulate
the absentee votes in favor of the Republicans. If Jeb
wins in '02, 2004 is a replay of 2000 for Bush. George
W. cannot win election without the state of Florida and he
knows it. After that, all of the Republican party's
hopes are based on Jeb. Even if George W. does manage
to lose in 2004, Jeb will be the party 'savior' in 2008.
He is the Dark Prince.
However, the seeds of Jeb's destruction have been sown.
This time the world is watching Florida. And, frankly,
the world doesn't like what it sees. Almost half (yes,
I said half) of Florida's 4th Graders cannot read at grade
level. Florida ranks 49th among the 50 states in per
capita funding of education. As we all know, you often
get what you pay for. Accordingly, Florida is 49th out
of 50 states in students completing High School. Yet,
Jeb calls his success with Florida's A+ School plan "nothing short of amazing." What's amazing is the media has done very little
to point out Jeb's outright lies about his record.
Ever so slowly, the truth is coming out about "Jeb the
Liar." On February 5th of this year 1,500 protesters
marched on the capitol where Florida Education Association
members and other protesters demanded "truth in government,
truth from the governor." It seems that Jeb has gotten
so used to the lies that he cannot stop himself. After
the FEA, Florida's largest teachers' union, voted to
endorse Bill McBride for governor over Janet Reno, Lois Frankel,
Daryl Jones, and Jeb Bush, Bush claimed "he was not afforded
the opportunity to appear before the FEA group." The
Union has rightly pointed out that this is an outright lie
as "Gov. Jeb Bush was invited to attend, but declined citing
schedule conflicts" (see FEANews, Feb. 2002).
What did the Governor expect from the Union when he does not
even attempt a dialog. The scary part is how he felt
the need to lie about THIS. Everyone knows Bush has
had the worst relations with Florida's unions of any Governor
of Florida in living memory. Even Republican Bob Martinez
in his four years in office had a better record. From
lie to lie to lie the Dark Prince follows the path he has
made for himself.
Little by little, Florida's media has begun to wise-up to
the lies. Even relatively conservative papers have published
articles critical of Jeb in recent weeks. My only question
is: Will it be enough to open up the other possible future
I see? The one that has Bill, Janet, Daryl, or Lois
taking the oath of office less than a year from now.
Slowly. Slowly. The fog lifts -- and the sun shines
again on our state.
Jerald Cumbus is Democratic Activist, teacher, poet who
lives in the state of Florida. He has NOT even begun to get