“Having Jeb Bush come to Berlin to argue on behalf of US foreign policy in Europe is a bit like sending Edward Snowden to give a speech on NSA reform to the Republican National Committee.”
It’s a tough joke. That’s the thing. Or maybe the Serious Clown is just not conducive to cheap, overwrought punch lines.
More substantially, Fisher notes:
Bush has come up in nearly every conversation I’ve had here since arriving, and always with a warning: that skepticism of the US is already high here, that the German public’s support of tough policies toward Russia is tenuous, and that the mere sight of a Bush makes Germans want to run in the opposite direction of US foreign policy.
Steve Benen reminds that while most Republican presidential candidates choose England as the first stop on their ritual foreign policy tour, “the trips never turn out well”. Perhaps there is some wisdom in skipping London on this tour, but ostensibly, as McKay Coppins suggests for BuzzFeed, there are other reasons for the unusual “Anti-Putin” European tour.
Beginning with a saber-rattling speech here Tuesday, the presidential contender is set to kick off a carefully choreographed five-day tour of European capitals — from Berlin, to Warsaw, to Tallinn, Estonia — designed to place him in meetings and photo ops with some of the continent’s leading critics of Putin’s Russia. Aides say the itinerary will help Bush lay out his vision for a more aggressive American stance against Russia, and illustrate what he considers to be the failures of President Obama’s weak-kneed response to Putin’s recent aggression in Eastern Europe.
It will also allow Bush to score political points with Republican primary voters back home. The day after he returns from Europe, Bush is expected to officially announce his bid for the presidential nomination in a party where few geopolitical figures are more reviled than Russia’s president.
And, no, you need not worry about the time not so long ago that Republican leaders were absolutely in love with Vladimir Putin; that was then and this is now, and expecting any sort of coherent integrity from Republicans is just plain unfair, and you goddamn good and well know it. Now that they know the chest-beating anti-Americanism doesn’t sell well, they’re ready to move onto their next talking point, that Mr. Putin is so reviled, so, you know, just like always, nothing they ever said or did in the past counts unless it makes them look better in your eyes.
Generally speaking, there seems to be a perception of serious political miscalculation in the critiques of Mr. Bush’s trip to Berlin. Given Jeb’s own for his brother’s warring policies and his petulant need for need for multiple do-overs in order to answer softball questions about war and peace, Fisher’s advice that the Berlin trip is not good politics seems reasonably apt.
Fisher, Max. “Jeb Bush’s anti-Putin speech in Berlin is a strategic and political blunder”. Vox. 9 June 2015.
—————. “Having Jeb Bush come to Berlin to make a big anti-Putin speech seems like a surefire way to make Germans more sympathetic to Russia”. Twitter. 9 June 2015.
Benen, Steve. “Jeb Bush faces deep skepticism in Berlin”. msnbc. 9 June 2015.
Coppins, McKay. “Jeb Bush’s Anti-Putin Republican Primary Tour”. BuzzFeed. 9 June 2015.