Republicans have finally started to realize that the Americans have noticed the millions of dollars pouring into their Super PACs, and that we aren’t happy about it. As an afterthought, the GOP candidates who are at least maintaining a cursory attempt at being a serious candidate have been trying to work some of that “populism” stuff that that Bernie Sanders guy keeps talking about into their stump points. But the inherent corruption of GOP politics keeps on getting exposed, making their half-hearted attempts seem even more insincere.
Take Jeb Bush, for instance. Speaking at Florida State University, Jeb talked about the lobbying power that shaped the “comfortable establishment” of Florida’s capital and that “I was a governor who refused to go along with that establishment” (even though he certainly did). He somehow was able to say that with a straight face at an event that was organized by one of Florida’s most powerful corporate lobbying groups, the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
Bush’s campaign team insisted that the event was of their own creation, to avoid violating federal election fundraising laws, which is suddenly a concern for the campaign despite a near six months of constant violations before officially declaring his candidacy. But Florida State University was kind enough to provide the International Business Times with emails that said: “This will be a Florida Chamber event. However, Jeb Bush’s team has requested to pay the invoice and be the name on the contract. This is to avoid any legal gray areas.”
The hypocrisy is incredible, and is illustrative of the shady way that Republican candidates organize their campaigns. It doesn’t stop there either- while Bush was taking shots at legislator who went through the revolving door of politics to private sector lobbying jobs and back into politics, he was doing at FSU- where university president John Thrasher has made a career through that door, as reported by the International Business Times:
[Thrasher was] a former state Republican Party chairman who became a lobbyist at the Southern Strategy Group after serving as Florida House speaker. Thrasher later left Southern Strategy and went back through the revolving door, first to the state legislature and then to the $430,000-a-year public-sector job at FSU. Thrasher was given the job in 2014 by appointees of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, whose election campaign Thrasher chaired.
The nerve of Jeb Bush to preach about the evils of corporate lobbying while lying the entire time about who organized the event in question, at a university chaired by a former lobbyist and legislator, is a microcosm of how politics in America works these days. The revolving door is one of the biggest sources of corruption in American politics, and it needs to be shut once and for all. Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently introduced a bill attempting to rein in the rampant back and forth traffic of legislators to lobbyists, but it’s clear that corruption and unethical practices has ingrained itself in the culture of American politics. Jeb Bush’s hypocrisy is only the tip of the iceberg; this particular incident is noteworthy for it’s shameless appeals to populism while it teeters on a house of lies.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.