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Lies, Damn Lies, and Jeb: a Cautionary Tale
March 4, 2002
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 that future.

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 over it!

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