NEW YORK -- Having witnessed the protracted Miliband fratricide, which concluded with Ed’s (political) death last Friday, the US is delighting in its own Shakespearian vignette this week, with George W. Bush unwittingly scuppering the election campaign of his younger brother, Jeb.
Reported by the New York Times, on Wednesday a student confronted the Republican presidential candidate at a rally in Nevada, telling him that his brother was to blame for the rise of the Islamic State. This was in response to Jeb’s line that Barack Obama’s weak foreign policy was the cause of the emergence of the terror group in Mesopotamia.
"Your brother created ISIS," Ivy Ziedrich, 19, a student at the University of Nevada, said before accusing him of "spouting nationalist rhetoric to get us involved in more wars." She also accused George of waging "pointless wars where we send young American men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism."
The exchange was emblematic of the difficulty Jeb is facing in the shadow of his brother’s controversial legacy. Many in the US (even Republicans) view George as a pariah, though he retains strong support amongst evangelical Christians. Jeb would like to corral this religious support for his campaign, but can’t do so without endorsing his brother’s entanglement in the neocon movement and the fiasco it spawned in Iraq. However, backing the war would be toxic to many Republican voters disgruntled with the war and George’s bailout of the banks in 2008.
On Monday, Jeb responded to a question by stating he would have authorised the war even with today’s intelligence. He was then forced to backtrack, pretending he hadn’t correctly heard the question. Unfortunately for Jeb these questions won’t be going anywhere soon. And unless he comes up with a better answer, neither will his campaign…