Courtesy of the Washington Post, which has clearly decided to start its coverage of Campaign ’16 early this season:
In 1999, Columba Bush, the famously private wife of then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was detained and fined by federal customs officials for misrepresenting the amount of clothing and jewelry she had bought while on a solo five-day shopping spree in Paris. The incident left the Florida first lady deeply mortified and her husband politically chagrined. Jeb Bush said the first lady had misled customs officials because she did not want him to know that she had spent about $19,000 on the trip.
“The embarrassment I felt made me ashamed to face my family and friends,” Columba Bush said in a July 1999 speech to the Central Florida Make-a-Wish Foundation, not long after the incident. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life.” The ordeal did not stop her from spending freely, however. Less than a year later, she took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry on a single day, according to records filed with the state of Florida by Mayors Jewelers.
That purchase was part of a pattern by Columba Bush of borrowing to buy tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry at a time from the South Florida store over a 14-year period. Documentation available online, which does not include the details of two transactions made less than six weeks apart in 1995, shows that she spent a total of more than $90,000 at the store.
What’s the big deal, you say? It’s been clear for decades that we have a government of, by and for the oligarchs. Congress is brimming with millionaires, and even po-boy presidents like Bill Clinton and Hussein can amass large fortunes while in office — and look forward to pots more money thereafter in their “retirement.” And in Jeb Bush’s case, why not trade on both your money and your family name in order to go for the Bush Hat Trick? Never mind that family dynasties are antithetical to the American system (the exceptions of the Adamses and, to a lesser extent, the Roosevelts notwithstanding).
There is no compelling need for a Jeb Bush candidacy, but it seems he is determined to force one upon us anyway — as if his father and his brother weren’t bad enough. Two Bushes and one Romney are more than enough.