George Graham

Cringing at Jeb’s Joke


First, the disclaimer: I see through a glass darkly. I have no special sources to draw on, no exceptional occult or analytical powers to inform me. All I have is what I read on the web and hear and see on TV, plus my basic common sense.

To me (as it was with Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley), if it looks like a duck, if it swims like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

And, based on that simple logic, I can’t shake the uneasy feeling that organized crime has sunk its hooks into America’s political system.

So I cringed when a leading Republican presidential candidate joked in Thursday night’s debate about being called “Veto Corleone.”

I know Jeb Bush (top photo) was referring to his ruthless budget cutting during his time as governor of Florida, not to any extracurricular involvement. But I wonder, does he know what’s on the Internet? Does he know how his family is characterized on some web sites?

The Bush dynasty goes back a long way, and there are startling accusations on the web concerning their activities. I wasn’t around, for example, when Jeb’s grandfather,Prescott Bush, is supposed to have collected funds for Hitler. And I haven’t read or heard this accusation repeated in coverage of the current presidential campaign.  But I come across it on the web when I Google the Bush family.

American news sources have short memories. They don’t have time for “old news.” They have forgotten the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s, for example. But the American Society of Criminology has not. And its web site has a savage indictment of the part Bush family members played in that debacle (including Jeb).

Of course, anyone can write just about anything on the web. So I am not going to repeat the stuff I’ve come across. (I’m not even going to link to the web sites.)

Still, the accusations on the web might be based, however unfairly, on official records – from that Savings and Loan mess, for example. An enterprising reporter might decide to dig the records up.

So if I were a Jeb Bush adviser, I would tell him to deep-six the joke about being known as the Godfather.

(Lower photo shows Marlon Brandon as Vito Corleone n The Godfather.)

Click for more on Jeb Bush.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for