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5 Things You Should Know About Jeb Bush's Far-Right Legacy

December 17, 2014 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Bush has been responsible for enacting some of the most toxic conservative policies.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush announced his intention to create a presidential exploratory committee this week. While many are focusing on his relation to former President George W. Bush (he's his brother), the association with one of America's most unpopular presidents isn't all that could hurt him.

Bush has been responsible for enacting some of the far-right's most toxic policies, everything from the nation's first Stand Your Ground law to a path of education privatization that Bush has continued even after he has left office. Here are the five big ones:

1. Signing the First “Stand Your Ground” Bill Into Law: The tragic Trayvon Martin killing spurred renewed criticism of “Stand Your Ground” laws that make it easy for citizens to justify using lethal force. Bush signed into law the first of these bills, making Florida a pioneer state in their use. “This law is about affirming that your home is your castle and, in Florida, you have a right to be absolutely safe inside its walls,” said Marion P. Hammer, former National Rifle Association, at the time, thanking governor Bush for signing it. Sadly, the law has applied to a lot more than just home invasions—“justifiable homicide” tripled in Florida after the passage of the law, and similar laws were in 30 states by 2012.

2. Spearheading Efforts to Privatize Education: Bush wanted to make a name for himself as the “education governor,” but the policies he ended up pursuing produced results that were “mixed as best,” as the Washington Postwrites. The governor enacted the state's first statewide voucher program, but it ended up being struck down as unconstitutional by Florida's supreme court. He also enacted high-stakes testing, coupled with a system to grade and sanction Florida schools that did not meet standards. While these policies pleased conservatives on paper—they relied on punishing teachers and schools for educational outcomes rather than looking at the conditions of students—they didn't net much in results, with some modest test score improvements but a “high school dropout rate …read more


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