This is taken from an interview Esquire Magazine did with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Jeb was my governor while I lived in Florida and I greatly enjoyed the work he did in that state. In this interview, Bush talks about everything from the President’s approval ratings, the elections, to the Republican Party. In this particular part of the interview, the interviewer asks Jeb about the future of the Republican Party. Here’s Jeb’s answer: (Republicans, take note. This is the best formula for success I’ve yet to hear.)
Okay, give me your forty-five-second pitch for a Republican future.
[Bush outlines four points, speaking for more than fourteen minutes. It’s worth noting here that after two years out of the governor’s mansion, Bush seems a little out of practice at this interview business.]
We need to empower people to be taking advantage, to turn their fears into opportunities in a variety of different areas. It seems to me four areas of greatest concern right now, outside of foreign policy, which is a whole other subject. [On education.] Are we educating our kids properly? Are enough of our children gaining the power of knowledge in the current system? The answer is unequivocally no. So we should have more school choice, we should have more pay for performance, we should be raising standards, not lowering standards, we should embrace technology in a radical way, we should have “seat time” eliminated.
[Timidly.] Seat time?
You show up for 180 days, you graduate. It should be based on what you learned… People learn differently. It’s a simple fact that our education system ignores.
We’re living in a world now where in order to create high-wage jobs, you have to have knowledge-based workers. There is no way to do that unless they have the basic building blocks of being able to think abstractly, understand math and science, be able to read, maybe once in a while express a thought in a three-syllable word, preferably do so in more than one language, and have a sense of history, because it has this crazy way of repeating itself. I don’t think our education system in America is acceptable right now.
[On health care.] Have you ever gone to HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services]? Have you gone to CMS, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid? It’s scary. That’s going to be the marketplace for health care if Democrats have their way. Senator McCain had a fantastic health-care proposal that he had a hard time explaining, that said that basically you should empower people, individuals, to make choices, and they should be rewarded when they make choices that improve health-care outcomes.
Under Obama, we’re going to create a system that’s not focused on quality; it’s focused on access to care.
You end up insuring fewer people the more government expands its insurance. People drop out of the private market. For every person the government takes on the rolls, there’s an equal number of people leaving the private sector. We’re like gerbils running in place. We’re not expanding health-care access per se.
There are all sorts of technologies now that exist that allow us to improve health-care outcomes if we organize our system differently.
[The budget is the third point.] If you put a performance review on almost any government program, there’s always a better way of doing things.
[Energy is the fourth point.] We don’t have control over our energy sources, and it puts us in a vulnerable position.
[Conservatives need to be involved in the discussion about alternative fuels, Bush says.] We’re the only country in the world that would consider it appropriate policy not to take advantage of our own natural resources to provide stable, low-cost sources of energy.
[A pause. A moment of reflection.]
In this interim period, we have to pay for our sins and show some humility.