Jeb Bush 'is more ruthless than he looks'

Jeb BushAlex Wong/Getty ImagesFormer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

A new profile in New York magazine underscores the idea that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is not nearly as moderate as he might seem as he campaigns for the Republican nomination for president.

News outlets have been pointing this out for months, and Jennifer Senior’s article in New York is full of even more examples of Bush’s record and reputation in Florida, where he served two terms as governor.

The story argues that the 62-year-old is “not the Bush you think he is,” and “is more ruthless than he looks, more conservative than moderates like to believe.”

For example, Bush likes to note that he has the nickname “Veto Corleone” after the main character in “The Godfather” movies.

GodfatherYouTubeA scene from ‘The Godfather.’

Not only was Bush known for using his veto power aggressively, he was also pretty ruthless in pursuing what he thought was the right path and would rather win than compromise with adversaries, according to sources who talked to New York magazine.

And this attitude apparently extended to members of his own party as well as those on the other side of the aisle. Another way he resembles the famous gangster from “The Godfather” — he’s reportedly been involved with some shady characters in Florida.

Much of this has been covered already, but Senior — who admits that she agrees “with exactly nothing the governor says” — offers some additional examples of Bush’s style. Here are some of them:

  • Dan Gelber, a former Democratic leader in the Florida house, told New York magazine: “Jeb would rather charge the mountain and win than downgrade to a hill and stand at the top with his former adversaries singing ‘Kumbaya.'”
  • Bush reportedly stripped Republican state senator Alex Villalobos of his position as majority leader and moved him into “a minuscule office with only a TV tray for a desk” after Villalobos refused to support one of Bush’s education initiatives.
  • Bush reportedly didn’t like to change his bills, either, even at the suggestion of fellow Republicans.
  • When asked in April which Democrats he has worked well with, Bush didn’t name anyone from Florida.
  • Bush ran “one of the most radically conservative state governments of its day” by cutting taxes and the government work force, tweezing “every stray bit of pork he could find in the state budget,” ending affirmative action, and passing the controversial stand-your-ground gun law.
  • Bush’s deals have involved a “gallery of miscreants,” Senior wrote. His “seamiest project” reportedly involved a company that the Justice Department later sued for bribing Nigerian officials to get government loans. Bush worked with the company, called MWI, to broker deals “to sell water pumps overseas, including to Nigeria.”

But Bush isn’t conservative on all issues. New York also points out areas where he strays from the party orthodoxy, including on Common Core standards and immigration reform.

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