Today's New Hampshire Race Is Vital for Jeb Bush — and It's All About Florida

Jebbie has taken some pretty bizarre positions.EXPAND
Jebbie has taken some pretty bizarre positions.

Today's primary vote in New Hampshire is all about the Jebster.

The former Florida governor and fading presidential candidate is sunk if he doesn't nail the New Hampshire race today — finishing at least in the top three. 

The right wing of the party has staged an interesting attack on him — coming primarily from South Florida — calling his 2006 decision to destroy 660,000 orange trees (most of them from private backyards) among the largest takings by government (and among the most screwed-up) in history. According to a blog called the Conservative Treehouse.com:

As voters in New Hampshire heard on Saturday night, Jeb Bush believes it a horrible thing to seize property from private citizens; yet history would reflect when Jeb Bush himself was governor of the state of Florida – not only did he order seizures, by force, but Bush also refused to reimburse the residents.    

Indeed, the fight over destruction of 660,000 orange trees has lasted for years, and scores of homeowners are still waiting for payments required of the state by judges because of an illegal decision the Jebster made here. After the state Supreme Court chastised Bush for the state Department of Agriculture's taking of healthy trees, one Palm Beach decision last year required about $19 million for 66,000 trees destroyed. Other decisions have required payment of tens of millions more.  

That decision is among several — including the one to continue wearing those goofy glasses — that have hurt Bush among voters. He and his PAC, Right to Rise, have spent millions attacking Marco Rubio as well, which has not improved his standing.

Weirdly, he has also made the decision in recent days to go after Super PACs, which have benefited him more than any other Republican candidate, in a last-ditch effort to win moderate voters. 

Bush could and should do well in New Hampshire because of the family's longtime residence in Kennebunkport, Maine — and the candidate's oft-discussed charm in small groups that contrasts his discomfort on TV. As the New York Times put it last month:

The frequency of that assessment — that Mr. Bush is a lot more compelling in person than on TV — suggests a possible, if challenging, path toward reviving his faltering campaign. And as he makes his way from veterans’ halls to high school gyms in New Hampshire, a state that typically rewards retail campaigning in presidential races, he is not only surprising voters with his skills on the stump, but also winning over many of them.

Jeb's tenure in Florida may well become a bigger factor if he emerges from the Granite State with much success. So keep an eye on the returns tonight — and ask the folks at your local charter school what they think of Jebbie.


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