Swaggering Biff

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August 13, 2015 8:34 p.m.

After first saying that invading Iraq was awesome and then slinking back to ‘if the intelligence hadn’t fooled us’, now Jeb Bush is back to saying that “taking out” Saddam Hussein was a “pretty good deal.” In moments like these, it’s worth wondering, does Jeb want to be President? Are his political skills too rusty to make a run?

But there’s a more revealing prism.

Jeb will never get past this issue. It is not just because his father and brother are both directly and immediately implicated for good or ill in America’s quarter-century entanglement with Iraq, which makes the questions inevitably awkward. You listen to Jeb and his language and you see palpably that this is a family drama in which he has inevitably taken sides and is too invested and too proud to try to conceal it in public. Even when it is clearly in his own self-interest.

Even the language has that weird brand of tough guy braggadocio that can’t break free of the yacht basin or even quite want to. Swaggering Biff.

Am I psychoanalyzing Jeb? I confess. I am. There’s simply no choice. It’s a family thing for Jeb. And that puts him out of sync with really all of the country.

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