Jeb Bush really is making a total mess of this campaign, isn't he?
Jeb Bush invited a firestorm on Friday by saying that “stuff happens” in reference to renewed calls for legislative action after tragedies like the mass shooting in Oregon.
“I had this challenge as governor because we had — look, stuff happens,” he said at a forum in South Carolina. “There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
The inelegant phrase immediately set off a wave of criticism from observers suggesting he was playing down the scourge of gun violence and the tragedy on Thursday, in which a gunman killed nine people at a community college in Roseburg, Ore.
Mr Bush, taking questions from the state’s attorney general, Alan Wilson, was speaking about a pattern of proposing legislative responses that he said did not halt the tragedies they were meant to stop.
Asked afterward about the “stuff happens” comment, Mr. Bush said, “it wasn’t a mistake,” and requested that a reporter point out “what I said wrong.”
“Things happen all the time,” Mr. Bush said. “Things. Is that better?”
There are three issue here.
First problem is the GOP notion, widely held, that there is nothing that government can do or even should do in order to prevent the mass slaughter of citizens like this. More than 30,000 people die yearly to firearms in the US and somehow Republicans have not only counseled that the government shouldn't prevents it, but that it can't: it's the blood that waters the tree of liberty, the necessary cost of a free society where firearms "preserve" the Constitution. Indeed, 300 million firearms in the hands of American citizens is good and necessary and there's nothing that we should do in order to curtail that number. By far, this is the biggest issue and the largest debate we need to have, but cannot.
Problem number two is the fact that Jeb Bush, like most Republicans, are running for President (you know, Chief Executive of the Federal Government) in order to specifically not do anything. Vote for me, I won't solve you problems! Republicans of course don't think government is the answer (gun deaths, the economy, the environment) unless they do (Sharia law, women's reproductive systems, repealing health insurance).
Finally, Jeb's mealy-mouthed "What's the big deal?" reaction to this just makes him look even more like a privileged creep with all the empathy of Mitt Romney. It's truly amazing how out of touch the guy is, and incapable of hiding problems one and two from "moderate" voters.
Anyway, add another gaffe to the pile for Jeb, who is self-destructing at the cost of hundreds of millions in donor and super-PAC dollars before our very eyes.