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Anatomy of a Smear: Jeb Bush and “Working Longer Hours”

Anatomy of a Smear: Jeb Bush and “Working Longer Hours”

Jeb Bush’s economic talking points under fire

Republicans and Democrats have given Jeb Bush a taste of his own foot over comments the presidential candidate made during a live-streamed interview with a local New Hampshire news outlet.

Reporters with The Union Leader were quizzing Bush about his plans to grow the economy and reform the nation’s tax structure when Bush said that, in order to grow the economy, “people need to work longer hours.”

Via ABC News:

He was answering a question about his plans for tax reform and responded:

“My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours” and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”


ABC US News | World News

The left dialed up their response to “maul”:

The Bush campaign responded, and to the network’s credit, ABC News has offered the full context of Bush’s comments:

In a statement, a Bush aide clarified that he was referring to the underemployed and part-time workers: “Under President Obama, we have the lowest workforce participation rate since 1977, and too many Americans are falling behind. Only Washington Democrats could be out-of-touch enough to criticize giving more Americans the ability to work, earn a paycheck, and make ends meet.”

Bush commented on this issue speaking before the Detroit Economic Council back in February.

“For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work. We have seen them cut the definition of a full-time job from 40 to 30 hours, slashing the ability of paycheck earners to make ends meet,” he said. “We have seen them create welfare programs and tax rules that punish people with lost benefits and higher taxes for moving up those first few rungs of the economic ladder.”

Props to Amy Walter with the Cook Political Report, who kept her head and reported on what Bush actually said:

This should serve as a moment of clarity for Republicans, conservatives, those inclined to vote Republican, and anyone who has ever had their words twisted at the behest of a mob.

I’m willing to assume for the sake of a wonky argument over the science of talking points that Jeb Bush isn’t totally screwed when it comes to jobs and the economy. That being said…Jeb Bush may be totally screwed when it comes to jobs and the economy. The name “Bush” is used by both sides of the aisle to personify the dreaded establishment dynasty that candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are working so hard to distinguish themselves from. “Bush” is also associated with wealth, privilege, and the kind of alleged white tone deafness that progressive activists feed off of.

Did Bush say something wrong here? No, he didn’t. When I was unemployed and struggling to earn a living, I would have killed for longer hours at the two soul-sucking jobs I worked to make sure I could pay my rent and feed myself. Hearing a Jeb Bush lay out a plan that would give me the opportunity to work harder on behalf of myself would have resonated with me.

That being said, we’re not dealing with a world of conservatives who have been raised to think for themselves, work hard, and seek out opportunity; we’re dealing with people who are willing to exploit off-the-cuff comments about economic plans in an effort to keep voters convinced that they can’t do it alone, and the fact that they can’t do it alone is Jeb Bush’s fault.

Moment of clarity? Jeb Bush may not be the only one who’s screwed here.


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Generally, any disparaging comment that a MSM reporter claims came from a Republican is overblown, and any disparaging comment that a MSM reporter claims comes from a Democrat… Well, we may never know. We’re still waiting on one.


Midwest Rhino | July 9, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Yeah, he was mostly taken out of context, but he said it in a strange way. “People need to work more hours”. That was too broad, not at all specific to the big problem.

Some are “underemployed” which means below the educational abilities partly, and fewer hours sometimes. But part of that is people working two part time jobs, so they really work too many hours. (and in counting jobs, I believe that counts as two jobs, despite being one person with “a job” in two places) A lot of it is not enough jobs, so they just need any job instead of welfare.

Half of it is Jeb’s own problem, but of course the left skews that to say something else. But in light of “workforce participation rate”, the context that supposedly explains the left’s twist away, that does NOT rise by people working longer hours, does it?

If he means those who aren’t working ANY hours, and are able to – and yet are still eating, their food provided in part by my labor …

Yeah, they should be working WAY more hours.

Used to be people could work longer…like a 40 hour work week instead of a 25 hour work week.

Simpler solution:
A) Replace the tax code with a “no deductions; no credits; flat rate” or Fair Tax kind of thing.
B) Replace “Obamacare” with an actual functioning system…or even better…(C) Respect the 10th Amendment and restrict the Commerce Clause to its base intent.

Just a side note…let’s remember how many hours those in elected office “work” each year. They get more time off than a college professor!

I know…I work 32 weeks a year; 12 hours a week*. It is a tough gig, but someone has to do it….. 😉

* classroom time..what people think is all we do. We also go to pointless meetings for hours on end and try to do a little research on the side…and not just where to take our next vacation.
Well, unless you are in those “soft sciences” …. how the heck did they ever become part of Academe anyway???

In context, Hillary’s media plan is actually looking pretty street wise.

Sammy Finkelman | July 9, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Nobody should go around pretending that this accusation against Jeb Bush makes any sense.

no matter what he says on any other subject, he will never get my vote because of his pants wetting on illegal immigration. he is weak and could never stand up to a weak Dem in a debate.

Really? This is news? Come on America stop the constant whining and being offended. Yeah, it was an idiotic statement but really? Next thing that makes “news” (and most of what is pushed by the liberal hierarchy is not even real “news”) will be that a candidate farted and then denied it in front of a the “press”.

Good grief, grow up America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, I live in Florida and I don’t want another Bush. Not because of a silly statement.

Henry Hawkins | July 9, 2015 at 7:18 pm

It was a poorly worded statement of the obvious. Bush hasn’t run for anything in over a decade and it shows.

Juba Doobai! | July 9, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Jeb needs to find his ‘nads with both hands and punch back at the Democrats, which will silence the critics on his side. Don’t “clarify”; dump the whole mess at the door of Obama and obamacare. You would think Bush would’ve been smart enough to learn a thing or two from Trump—instead of kneeling at Loser Romney’s altar! Am no fan of Trump, but he does know how to fight like a girl.

Of course his words were twisted, but Bush didn’t really “misspeak” at all. Far too many of the jobs Obama supporters will tell you he has “created” are part-time jobs. To willfully misinterpret a clear intent just because you can is dishonest.

Jeb was speaking with the thought of a single mom telling her boss, “I need more hours.”

– –

I wish the Bush-bashers would take a day or two to study and research which have been the five most effective Governors in terms of conservative goals and policies achieved. Do it at home, for yourself.

If your list doesn’t include Jeb Bush – if he is not the top or close to it – you are only lying to yourself.

A lot of Americans are working part-time, though they want full-time employment. The left is harassing him.

It is hard to smear the rorschach man.

G. de La Hoya | July 11, 2015 at 8:17 am

The president of the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., also said just as much about Obamacare ruining the incentive to a working a 40 hour work week. That criticism didn’t get much air time though.