It all started out with a reference to James Robertson - the Detroit man who walked 21 miles to work every day.
"It's really a symbol of this whole idea: Can we shed a skin, basically, and renew ourselves?" Bush said.WTH is "radical connectivity?" Who is threatened by Airbnb or Uber and what does that have to do with a 21st century government that works for people?
Shedding a skin is Bush's euphemism for national transformation: purge public institutions of what doesn't work and ingest the fruits of radical connectivity to inspire and support innovators...
I ask Bush how such thinking could translate into a modernized federal government. "This is the big challenge of our time," he says excitedly. "In the shared economy, how does government work for people? It doesn't. In fact, if you're Airbnb or Uber or anybody participating in the shared economy, there are people attacking you because you're a threat. So I think the challenge is how do we move to a 21st-century government to deal with 21st-century opportunities and challenges?"
If you think that Jeb's plans to address these challenges will help you make sense of what he's saying, you're going to be disappointed. Because he doesn't have any. All he knows is that they won't come from President Obama - who is sooooo old school.
Bush acknowledges that he doesn't have those answers—not yet. But he says the solutions certainly won't come from the White House. "This president, who is really the first post-, I mean, definitely when people think of Barack Obama, they think of him as a 21st-century man. Yeah, young and dynamic. His campaign embraced technologies like no one else had. But his policies are in most ways a reflection of the 20th century. It's almost like Hubert Humphrey has come back."Later on in the interview Bush opines about the problem that the government is a monopoly with the power to tax and regulate. Now there's brand new 21st century thinking!!!! < not > We'd have to go back a long way (especially through the resulting Great Recession) to get to a time when the Republican agenda was something other than "lower taxes and fewer government regulations." I doubt that anything captures the 20th century Republican agenda more than those two stale ideas.
So what's up here? Either Fournier completely mangled everything Jeb Bush said (a possibility) or Bush is trying to dress up really old school Republican arguments, pretend he's a deep thinker, and pull the wool over our eyes. If its the latter, I can already see the hordes of media lapping this all up because they don't understand it - but it sure sounds smart.
I don't know about you, but I'm not impressed.