Jeb Bush is no better than Ted Cruz: Why his moderate rep is such a farce

His Iraq remarks should come as no surprise. Like his brother before him, he's a neocon extremist

Published May 14, 2015 8:00AM (EDT)

  (AP/M. Spencer Green)
(AP/M. Spencer Green)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNet "I would have invaded Iraq, and you would have too."

That is literally what Jeb Bush told Megyn Kelly in an interview set to air tonight on "Fox So-Called News."

Amazing, right?

Up until this point, Jeb has done everything he can to separate himself from his brother George W. Bush's disastrous eight years as president.

Just a few months ago, for example, he went out of his way to say during a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs that he was his "own man" and that his family's track record didn't say anything about what he would do as president.

The irony, of course, is that Jeb owes everything to his last name.

His connections, his money, the very fact that he's taken seriously as a candidate - they're all because his last name is "Bush."

If his last name were anything other than "Bush," he wouldn't get anywhere near the amount of attention he's getting.

But even so, being the brother of the guy who got us into the Iraq mess is something voters actually do care about, which is why Jeb has tried really hard to distance himself from "W." and his policies.

That's what makes what he said to Megyn Kelly about invading Iraq so surprising.

It's a big break with his campaign strategy so far, which has been to sell himself as a "moderate" conservative who's learned from the mistakes of the past.

But here's the thing: If it is a break with campaign strategy, it's an honest break with campaign strategy.

That's because Jeb Bush isn't really a moderate.

Like his brother and dad before him, he's a neocon extremist.

The mainstream media has apparently forgotten this, but back in the late '90s, Jeb helped found the Project for a New American Century or PNAC, a neocon think tank that called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and pretty much every other government the US didn't like.

According to PNAC, the end result of this massive regime change campaign, would be a "Pax Americana" in which the US would dominate the world, its natural resources, and its economy.

It sounds like something out of a James Bond movie, but PNAC was very influential.

Many of its founding members like Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Zalmay Khalilzad, for example, went on to serve in the George W. Bush administration where they helped plan the Iraq debacle.

If history's any guide, these very same PNAC neocon extremists would also play a big role in a Jeb Bush administration.

The Washington Post has put together a great graphic comparing Jeb's foreign policy advisers with the foreign policy advisers of the two Bush administrations and the Reagan administration, and that graphic makes one thing really, really clear: The same people who advised Ronald Reagan and both George Bushes on foreign policy are advising Jeb Bush on foreign policy.

This group includes people like Paul Wolfowitz - yes, that Paul Wolfowitz - who are so tied to both PNAC and the nightmare of the Bush II years that just mentioning their names makes it feel like 2003 again.

So while he can say whatever he wants about being a moderate, Jeb Bush is ultimately as extremist as they come, and if elected president, he'll run this country just like his dad and brother did.

By Thom Hartmann

Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" and more than 25 other books in print. He is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute.

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