Jeb Bush has announced the formation of a committee to explore a run for the Presidency. He therefore becomes the first official all-but-candidate of Campaign 2016, ahead even of the designated President-in-Waiting, Hillary Clinton. So this March headline appears to have come true:
Influential Republicans Working To Draft Jeb Bush Into 2016 Presidential Race
For a while now I've told interviewers that I doubt Hillary will be the Democrat nominee - because she's a terrible candidate and eventually even she will know that. But I made one exception way back in March: If Jeb Bush jumped in, Mrs Clinton "would be insane not to run". Now that Jeb has indeed jumped in, I have nothing to add to what I wrote nine months ago:
Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton now and forever, at least until George P Bush marries Chelsea Clinton and the two ruling houses are consolidated into one House of Bush-Clinton-Rodham-Coburg-Gotha. I've nothing against Jeb Bush. I happen to disagree with him on "immigration reform", but he was a competent executive of Florida and he's a thoughtful and (on his game) gifted speaker. But there are over 300 million people in this country, and, granted that 57 per cent or whatever it's up to by now are fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community, what is it about the Bush family that makes them so indispensable to the Republic as to supply three presidential candidates within a quarter-century? Say what you like about actual monarchy but at least you get a non-heriditary political class: this may seem incredible to Americans but neither Canada's Stephen Harper, Australia's Tony Abbott, New Zealand's John Key nor Britain's David Cameron is the previous Prime Minister's brother or wife.
Jeb is campaigning "to restore the promise of America". A Bush has been on six of the last nine presidential tickets, but the smart money in the GOP thinks they're so indispensable to the Republic that they should now be given a shot at a third presidency. One man and his sons will have supplied three-fifths of America's presidents within a quarter-century - in a republic of over 300 million people. I don't think that's any way "to restore the promise of America" - and, in fact, like the unconstitutional amnesty, the hideous CRomnibus and the bipartisan debt mountain, it's another sign of the seedy dysfunctionalism of America's political institutions.
Yet, following Jeb's announcement, the big money and the A-list campaign operatives will already be gravitating to Bush. From my March post:
So who are these "influential Republicans" working to draft Jeb?
'Many if not most of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney's major donors are reaching out to Bush and his confidants with phone calls, e-mails and invitations to meet, according to interviews with 30 senior Republicans. One bundler estimated that the "vast majority" of Romney's top 100 donors would back Bush in a competitive nomination fight.'
'"He's the most desired candidate out there," said another bundler, Brian Ballard, who sat on the national finance committees for Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. "Everybody that I know is excited about it."'
The guys who picked last season's loser are already excited about next season's loser. How exciting is that?
~The day after the Sydney siege, the Taliban attacked a schoolhouse in Peshawar, and slaughtered over 130 children, while also burning a teacher to death in front of her class. Those who survived did so by playing dead:
Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city's Lady Reading Hospital, Shahrukh Khan, 16, said he and his classmates were in a careers guidance session in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms burst in.
"Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks," he said, adding that the gunmen shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) before opening fire...
"The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again."
As with Sheikh Haron at the Lindt coffee house, the Taliban have not wanted for sympathizers in recent years, as Andrew Bolt reminds us:
Media coverage of the conflict in Afghanistan is failing to convey the "humanity of the Taliban", a BBC presenter has said.
Lyse Doucet, a presenter and correspondent on BBC World News, was speaking at a discussion of TV reporting of the war in the country.
Josh Earnest, Obama's press secretary, appeared to be drawing a subtler distinction between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban. Whatever. Maybe they're doing a good Talib/bad Talib act. Or it could be that they were, pace Miss Doucet, attempting to convey the inhumanity of the Taliban. The Islamic State lads have been outpacing the older, tired terror brands in the depravity stakes, and discovering that, far from the world being repulsed by such blood-drenched savages, a significant percentage is seduced and attracted by it. In such a market, the Taliban and al-Qaeda can't afford not to look like, so to speak, "moderate Muslims".
~By the way, re that hospital the survivors of the schoolhouse massacre were taken to: do you know who Lady Reading Hospital is named after? The Marchioness of Reading was born Alice Cohen, the daughter of a Jewish merchant in London. She married a barrister called Rufus Isaacs, who in 1921 as Lord Reading became Viceroy of India - the first Jew to hold the highest office in the Raj. (He was also the first Jew to serve as Britain's Foreign Secretary and as Lord Chief Justice of England. He's buried in the Jewish Cemetery at Golders Green.) Alice Reading devoted her time as vicereine to charity and health issues, and was the driving force behind the construction of proper medical facilities in Peshawar.
So here we are nine decades later: Jew-hate is endemic among the hard men of Islam. But, when it comes to treating wounded Muslim schoolchildren, the only game in town is a hospital founded by a Jew.
~I'll be on the radio Wednesday morning with Toronto's Number One morning man, John Oakley, live on AM640 at 8.30am Eastern. South of the border, I'll be checking in with Dennis Miller coast to coast at 12.30pm Eastern/9.30am Pacific.
On Thursday I'll be in Montreal to shoot the breeze with the legendary Tommy Schnurmacher at 800 CJAD live at 10am Eastern.
~The Blaze has compiled a hit parade of its Top 15 author interviews, and I'm thrilled to find I'm at Number One on the list. My new book The Undocumented Mark Steyn is available at Amazon and all the other outlets, but, if you'd like to make it an even more special present for your loved one this Christmas, we've paired it with my new Goldfinger CD in one swingingly undocumented package, and with some of our exclusive Michael E Mann trial-of-the-century merchandise in our Steyn vs the Stick Winter Warmer - both exclusively available from the Steyn store.