Jeb Bush: What He Thinks of Trump, Biden, DeSantis, and ‘Florida Man’

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Born and raised in Texas, Jeb Bush moved to Florida in 1980. The son and brother of presidents, he was governor of the Sunshine State from 1999 to 2007, where he quickly became known as a champion of school choice and fiscal responsibility. In 2016, he made an unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination and he now resides in Miami-Dade County—happily retired from political life. A self-proclaimed “old-school conservative with libertarian blood running through [his] veins,” I talked to Bush a few weeks ago for our new special issue of Reason devoted to all things Florida (subscribe now and read the full issue online!). He told me that more people are moving to Florida than any other state in the country because “we don’t try to micromanage people’s lives” and that the government “works pretty good,” especially when it comes to education, regulation, and infrastructure. We discussed what he really thinks of Gov. Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump, current President Joe Biden, and whether the “Florida Man” meme captures something essential about the state’s residents. “It’s probably not fair, but who cares?” he says. “It’s funny. We should embrace it. We’re striving to have a disproportionate number of candidates for the Darwin Award each year. We should be very proud of it.” And we talked about what really makes America great. “I would say the shared identity should be that it doesn’t matter where you start in life,” Bush told me. “It doesn’t matter where you were born. What matters is that you have a chance to rise up, that your hard work will be rewarded, and that you will be part of the exceptionalism of our country where people…have a chance to succeed. That’s being challenged like never before.” Today’s sponsor: Join us on November 27 in New York City for a viewing (and afterparty) of the new Reason documentary, Bitcoin, Bathhouses, and the Future of Energy, and a panel discussion on cryptocurrency, the environment, and human rights featuring Nick Gillespie, Zach Weissmueller, Alex Gladstein, and others. Tickets and details here.

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