TIME politics

Oh, Brother: Jeb Bush and the Problem With Siblings

Psst, look behind you: George and Jeb in 2006
Jim Watson—Getty Images Psst, look behind you: George and Jeb in 2006

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

The comparisons are inevitable when you're running for a job your sib once held

Welcome to the NFL, Jeb Bush. It’s nasty out there on the presidential campaign trail, isn’t it? You shake hands you really don’t want to shake, make speeches you really don’t want to make, and get asked all kinds of questions you really don’t want to answer. And if you’re feeling especially picked on, well, you’re right.

That, like it or not, is part of a contest you’ve been involved in a whole lot longer than you’ve been a sort-of, kind-of, not-quite-announced presidential candidate. It’s the siblings war, and as with any other person with a brother or sister who ever ratted you out to mom or clobbered you in the playroom, it’s a battle you’ve been fighting for as long as you can remember.

The problem you’re facing at the moment—as every news outlet in the country has delighted in reminding you—concerns the Iraq war, which started and unraveled on your big brother George W.’s watch. Last Saturday, you taped a segment for Fox News—hardly an unfriendly outlet for a Republican—and Megan Kelly asked you if, knowing what you know now, you’d have authorized the 2003 invasion. You answered with three words I bet you’d really like not to have said: “I would have.”

Never mind that you later backtracked, saying you’d misheard the question and thought Kelly was asking you what you’d have done if you’d only had the flawed intelligence that was available at the time. And never mind that the rest of your answer to Kelly seems to support that. “I would have,” you said in full, “and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would have just about everybody that was confronted with the intelligence that they got.”

But that didn’t stop Politico from asking “Will Iraq take down another Bush?” That didn’t stop the New York Times from declaring, “Brother’s Past Proves Tricky for Jeb Bush.” And it won’t stop virtually every other sentient person on the planet from connecting you to George W.—for better and for worse.

That’s the way it is with sibs. Part of the problem is the glib association people outside the family make about brothers and sisters. Teachers, camp counselors, coaches, all assume that if your big sib was good in math or sports you will be too—and if you’re not, they’ll want to know why. And if the same big sib was a lousy student or a behavioral handful you have to overcome the assumption that you’ll be the same.

But a much bigger problem is the dynamic that unfolds within the sibling brood itself. Think of a family as a corporation. Mom and Dad are co-CEO’s and the kids are the products. George W. was the first one to come down the assembly line, and like any sole product in any start-up company, he was the exclusive focus of the bosses’ time, money, energy and attention. By the time you came along, those early resources had gone into the ledger as what the MBAs call sunk costs—investments that can never be gotten back. So if the company has to choose between Bush Son V.1 (that’s George) and Bush Son V.2 (that’s you), it’s usually not even close.

That’s at least part of the reason that even though George had the rep of the dilettante and layabout and you were thought of as The Serious One, he got the first shot at the presidential cookie jar and you’ve now got to work with the crumbs that are left. That’s at least part of the reason too that in 2013 even your Mom, who surely loves you like a son, was dismissive of your presidential prospects, telling Matt Lauer that you’re “by far the best-qualified man,” but that, “there are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes.” That couldn’t have felt good.

You made the inevitable comparisons to your big brother much worse by going into the same line of work he and your father did. Family psychologists call this—straightforwardly enough—identifying. Your big brother or big sister gets all kinds of family attention for, say, starring in school plays, so you start going to auditions too. The problem is, the goodies start to get spread a little thin. No matter how many starring roles you land, you’ll still get only 50% of the parental applause for being the family’s performer. Better then to choose a different route—what the psychologists call de-identifying—play sports or join the chess club and get 100% of the laurels for those achievements.

But the most powerful—if least quantifiable—sibling dynamic you’re struggling with now is the business of love, loyalty and guilt. Take that nasty moment on May 13, when you were at a Reno, Nev. town hall and a 19-year-old college student said to you, “Your brother created ISIS.” Did you need that headache? No you did not.

You could have answered that charge by disavowing your brother—a simple, “Yeah, can you believe the mess he made?” would have done it. Certainly that’s the way any Democrat would go, as well as some Republicans trying to get a little distance from the serial messes of your brother’s two terms. But you can’t do that—not if you want to feel comfortable at the Kennebunkport Thanksgiving table next fall.

So you hedge and you elaborate and you decline to answer hypothetical questions—even if they’re fair and entirely predictable questions. And you sometimes get sick of it all and say, as you also did in Reno, “First and foremost, I am proud to be George W.’s brother. I can’t deny the fact that I love my family.”

No one doubts that that second statement is true. As for the first one? Well, only you know. But get used to the questions, get used to the problems, because they’re not going away. Presidencies are short; campaigns are even shorter. But the wonderful, awful, loving, vexing job of being a sib is forever.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME politics

The Idea That Christianity Is Fading in America Is Hogwash

Election official Robert Buresh attaches the curtain to a polling booth at the Salem Lutheran Church polling station in Fremont, Neb., on Feb. 11, 2014.
Nati Harnik—AP Election official Robert Buresh attaches the curtain to a polling booth at the Salem Lutheran Church polling station in Fremont, Neb., on Feb. 11, 2014.

Dave Carney is the CEO of Norway Hill Associates, a national political consulting firm and a principal of New Troy Strategies, former White House Political Director for George HW Bush & the Moderator of the Antrim (NH) Baptist Church.

Politicians shouldn't read too much into the storyline that Americans have become anti or non-Christian

The sky is falling for Christians in the public square: According to recent finding from Pew Research Center, fewer Americans shared Christian values in 2014 compared to 2007.

How will 2016 politics be affected? In the coming days, we’ll read about the end of the evangelical voting bloc, that the pastors and pews of the nation will be left silenced, that the long-held dreams of the secular left are finally becoming a reality.


As our nation grows, and the younger generations are fed a constant stream of culture that debases religion and Christian values, folks have become less likely to identify with organized religion. The theory is that with fewer people identifying as Christians, their power at the ballot box will be diminished. There is only one problem—Christians still make up the vast majority of American adults and still have the potential to affect change at the ballot box.

Of course, it’s not news that mainline Protestant church membership is falling, and the Catholic Church’s woes have been widely reported. But the Pew study showed only a 0.9% reduction in evangelical Protestants. Considering the growth of the nation and the anti-Christian memes flooding social media and inundating pop culture, evangelicals have remained pretty steady.

So what do these trends foretell for the upcoming elections? Not what you might think.

Even before this troubling trend was reported, too many Christian voters had dropped out of the political process already. In the past decade, about 78 million U.S. adults self-identified as evangelical in their beliefs, but reportedly only about 46 million were registered to vote, and only about 28 million cast a ballot in the 2004 presidential race.

We regularly see reports of Christian-bashing across the nation: secular activists challenging the right of Christians to engage in the public debates; cities trying to subpoena pastors sermons, emails, and private notes; the restriction of school children praying of their own volition; our president scolding pastors on medieval history and equating the holy crusades with the modern-day threats from ISIS.

These attacks on Christianity have the potential to create a populist movement across America, uniting Christians who have become disillusioned with government institutions and political leaders, and who are fed up with the attacks on the Christian values that built our nation. The candidates who speak to evangelicals and their values, and who actively seek their support will find a massive latent block of voters waiting to be excited.

Those looking to forecast the end of the evangelical voting block should take a careful look at one of the lessons from Barack Obama’s 2008 election—who comes out to vote matters.

Just a small increase in the turnout of the evangelical vote could change the political landscape dramatically. It is just these type of studies and reports on the demise of the religion that will drive even more public debate about the need for Christian values. The logical result will be a clearing of the pews on Election Day.

Woe to the political leaders who read too much into the story line that Americans have become anti or non-Christian. The power of those who can engage faith-based voters will be unleashed during this election cycle. Too much is at stake for it to be ignored.

Americans still have a strong sense of right and wrong, an innate sense of fairness, and a belief in the enduring truths that are taught in the Bible. These ideals are the rock of our society. There are millions of evangelicals looking for a leader willing to fight to put them back into our culture and government.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME South Africa

South African Opposition Party Elects First Black Leader

Newly elected Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader Mmusi Maimane, delivers his victory speech after being elected leader Sunday, May 10, 2015 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Michael Sheehan—AP Newly elected Democratic Alliance party leader Mmusi Maimane delivers his victory speech after being elected leader in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on May 10, 2015

"Freedom means nothing without opportunities"

(JOHANNESBURG) — South Africa’s main opposition group on Sunday chose its first black leader at a party congress, seeking to expand its appeal in a country whose ruling party has dominated since the first all-race elections in 1994.

Mmusi Maimane was elected by delegates of the Democratic Alliance party who convened in the city of Port Elizabeth. He replaces Hellen Zille, a white who is the premier of Western Cape province, the only one of nine South African provinces that is controlled by the opposition.

In a speech, Maimane said many South Africans are struggling under the burden of poverty, unemployment and economic inequality and that more must be done to create jobs and promote small businesses more than two decades after the end of white racist rule.

“Freedom means nothing without opportunities,” Maimane told party members.

Maimane had been head of his party’s caucus in parliament, where he sharply criticized President Jacob Zuma over a spending scandal at his private home. Despite the scandal, Zuma led the ruling African National Congress to another victory in elections last year.

The Democratic Alliance has its roots in white liberal opposition to apartheid decades ago and has struggled to shed perceptions among some South Africans that it primarily represents the interests of South Africa’s white minority.

The party has made inroads. In the 2014 elections, the Democratic Alliance won more than 22 percent of the vote, an increase of more than 5 percent from 2009. A new party that wants to distribute national resources to the poor, the Economic Freedom Fighters, won more than six percent.

The African National Congress had more than 60 percent of the vote, several percentage points lower than its result in the 2009 elections.

South Africa’s political factions are gearing up for municipal elections next year. The Democratic Alliance plans a strong push in the key municipalities of Pretoria, the South African capital, and Johannesburg, the country’s biggest city.


Here Is the 2015 U.K. Election Summed Up in a Single Picture

Britain has turned into a giant Maggie Simpson

The U.K. has voted, and exit polls overwhelmingly point to a victory for the Conservative Party. The Scottish National Party won 56 of the 59 seats up for grabs north of England.

The result mapped out by official party colors, as several users on Twitter are gleefully pointing out, is reminding everyone of a certain beloved animated character.


This Is the Youngest British Lawmaker in Almost 350 Years

<> on April 29, 2015 in Paisley, Scotland.
Jeff J Mitchell—2015 Getty Images Mhairi Black on April 29, 2015, in Paisley, Scotland

What were you doing when you were 20?

Mhairi Black, in many ways, is just like any British 20-year-old. She loves soccer, and is a season-ticket holder for soccer club Partick Thistle, which is based in the Scottish city of Glasgow, a short drive from her hometown of Paisley. She also enjoys playing and listening to music.

One thing that sets Black apart from her peers, however, is that she is now a Member of Parliament after winning the Paisley and Renfrewshire South seat on Friday. The Telegraph reported that through her defeat of sitting Labour Party legislator Douglas Alexander by more than 6,000 votes, Black became the youngest British lawmaker in more than 300 years (after 13-year-old Christopher Monckton in 1667).

“The people of Scotland are speaking and its time for their voice to be heard at Westminster,” said Black, who represents the Scottish National Party (SNP). “Thank you to everyone who turned out and voted for me,” she said in a tweet.

Before the youngster assumes her responsibilities in Westminster later this month, however, she still has a final-year politics exam at the University of Glasgow to get through.

TIME politics

Sen. Rand Paul: What You Discuss on Your Phone Is None of the Government’s Business

This undated photo provided by the National Security Agency (NSA) shows its headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.
NSA/Getty Images This undated photo provided by the National Security Agency (NSA) shows its headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

Paul is the junior U.S. Senator for Kentucky.

The sacrifice of our personal liberty for security is and will forever be a false choice

I’ve long said what you discuss on your phone is none of the government’s business, and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agrees.

Today, the federal court struck down the government’s sweeping, undefined, and illegal war on civil liberties, ruling that it is unlawful for the National Security Agency to collect the bulk phone records of American citizens.

The three judge panel slams the overreach of the NSA’s limitless metadata collection and privacy intrusion, writing in the opinion that the program was an “unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans.” The court judges the program’s premise as ineffectual, stating “the records demanded are all-encompassing; the government does not even suggest that all of the records sought, or even necessarily any of them, are relevant.”

This is an important victory for privacy, but the fight for liberty must continue in the Supreme Court and Congress until this grave miscarriage of justice is completely repealed.

The current ruling concludes that Section 215 of the Patriot Act does not authorize bulk collection of phone records. While this is great news, it also raises an important question. One of the reforms being offered in Congress is the USA Freedom Act, which bans bulk collection but replaces that collection with a new authorization for collection from phone companies.

Now that the appellate court has ruled that Section 215 doesn’t authorize bulk collection, would the USA Freedom Act actually be expanding the Patriot Act?

That would be a bitter irony if the attempt to end bulk collection actually gave new authority to the Patriot Act to collect records.

Senator Wyden and myself have a simpler approach to the problem. We simply ban the collection of phone records and do not replace it with an alternative collection system. We presume the replacement system would be constitutionally sound Fourth Amendment warrants.

The Supreme Court must strike down the government’s illegal spying program as a violation of our Fourth Amendment right to privacy. The Supreme Court will also determine if there is a First Amendment violation; the Second Circuit opinion asserts there is “a concrete, fairly traceable, and redressable injury” to the right of free association.

Congress must repeal the Patriot Act’s Section 215 provision that is used as the justification for the program’s legality. Without Congressional authorization for the program’s expiration at the end of the month, the government’s warrantless collection, as the court puts it, was never legal. “Congress cannot reasonably be said to have ratified a program of which many members of Congress — and all members of the public — were not aware,” reads the opinion.

Congress can also take other immediate action to prevent the Washington machine from collecting any American’s personal communications. I sponsored the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act to block federal, state, and local governments obtaining information on individuals or groups of individuals held by a third party in a system of records without a warrant. Congress should pass this bill immediately. I will also continue to fight for our civil liberties in the courtroom as part of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all Americans in protest of this unconstitutional program.

Opponents of civil liberties contend the NSA data collection has made our country more safe, but even the most vocal defenders of the program have failed to identify a single thwarted plot. If anything, the terror attack during the Boston marathon is a tragic reminder that casting too wide of a collection net for intelligence can be a distraction from the analysis necessary to stop plots — and, I’d argue, push us further from the fundamental reform necessary for our intelligence agencies to successfully counter terrorism.

The NSA should keep close watch on suspected terrorists to keep our country safe — through programs permitting due process, the naming of a suspect, and oversight by an accountable court. The sacrifice of our personal liberty for security is and will forever be a false choice, and I refuse to relinquish our Constitutional rights to opportunistic and overreaching politicians.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME politics

Bernie Sanders: It’s Time To End Orwellian Surveillance of Every American

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a town hall meeting at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 26 office May 5, 2015 in Lanham, Maryland.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a town hall meeting at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 26 office May 5, 2015 in Lanham, Maryland.

Bernie Sanders is the junior U.S. Senator from Vermont.

I voted against the Patriot Act every time, and it still needs major reform.

I welcome a federal appeals court ruling that the National Security Agency does not have the legal authority to collect and store data on all U.S. telephone calls. Now Congress should rewrite the expiring eavesdropping provision in the so-called USA Patriot Act and include strong new limits to protect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.

Let me be clear: We must do everything we can to protect our country from the serious potential of another terrorist attack. We can and must do so, however, in a way that also protects the constitutional rights of the American people and maintains our free society.

Do we really want to live in a country where the NSA gathers data on virtually every single phone call in the United States—including as many as 5 billion cellphone records per day? I don’t. Do we really want our government to collect our emails, see our text messages, know everyone’s Internet browsing history, monitor bank and credit card transactions, keep tabs on people’s social networks? I don’t.

Unfortunately, this sort of Orwellian surveillance, conducted under provisions of the Patriot Act, invades the privacy of millions of law-abiding Americans.

The surveillance law originally was passed by Congress in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I voted against it. I voted against reauthorizing the law in 2005 when I was still in the House and voted “no” again in 2011 in the Senate when Congress passed the most-recent four-year extension of the law. I believed then and am even more convinced today that the law gave the government far too much power to spy on Americans and that it provided too little oversight or disclosure.

The law expires at the end of this month, and Congress already has begun to debate how to revise and improve the law. We should give intelligence and law enforcement authorities the strong tools they need to investigate suspected terrorists, but the law also must contain strong safeguards to protect our civil liberties. Under legislation I have proposed, intelligence and law enforcement authorities would be required to establish a reasonable suspicion, based on specific information, in order to secure court approval to monitor business records related to a specific terrorism suspect. In renewing the surveillance law, Congress also should reassert its proper role overseeing how intelligence agencies use, or abuse, the law that our intelligence community has operated in a way that even they knew the American public and Congress would not approve.

We should strike a balance that weighs the need to be vigilant and aggressive in protecting the American people from the very real danger of terrorist attacks without undermining the constitutional rights that make us a free country.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME politics

Here’s Who Conan O’Brien Would Cast in a Movie About the 2016 Candidates

Ted Cruz gets Kevin from The Office, and Bernie Sanders just gets a bowl of coleslaw

Since there are about 850 candidates running for the Republican nomination, according to Conan O’Brien, it’s about time to start casting a made-for-TV movie about the election. And Conan has some very specific ideas about who should play each character.

Hillary Clinton will be played by David Spade and Chris Christie by Mama June from Honey Boo Boo. Naturally. But then Carly Fiorina will be played by lime cat? And Bernie Sanders by a bowl of coleslaw?

Conan’s personal favorite seems to be Ted Cruz being played by Kevin from The Office. Watch the clip and the devastating side-by-side images, and see what you think.

TIME politics

See This ‘Superhero’ Kid Get an Obama Fist Bump

President Barack Obama greets Luca Martinez, 4, with a fist-bump as he walks from the White House to board Marine One in Washington on May 2, 2015.
Carolyn Kaster—AP President Barack Obama greets Luca Martinez, 4, with a fist-bump as he walks from the White House to board Marine One in Washington on May 2, 2015.

A young boy is the recipient of a presidential pound

Royal babies get all the attention in England, but what’s the perk of being the son of a press photographer? A once-in-a-lifetime fist-bump with the President.

On Saturday, four-year-old Luca Martinez accompanied his father, Associated Press photographer Pablo, to the South Lawn to see President Obama’s helicopter up close. Luca wore superhero clothes and goggles to protect his eyes during takeoff and covered his ears against the noise, according to CNN.

The President strode out and saw Luca, and gave him a pound for the ages, complete with exploding fist.

It was fun, Luca said when reporters asked him about it.


TIME Nepal

These Are the 5 Facts That Explain Nepal’s Devastating Earthquake

Destroyed villages sit on mountain tops near the epicenter of Saturday's massive earthquake, in the Gorkha District of Nepal on April 29, 2015.
Wally Santana—AP Destroyed villages sit on mountain tops near the epicenter of the massive earthquake, in the Gorkha District of Nepal on April 29, 2015.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake will hamper Nepal for years

The earthquake that ravaged Nepal, killing at least 5,000 people, has revealed the best and worst both in the Himalayan nation and those rushing to its aid. These 5 facts explain what’s shaping the domestic and international responses to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and where Nepal goes from here.

1. Quick to aid

Aid pledges are pouring in: $10 million from the US, $7.6 million from the UK, and $3.9 million from Australia, among others. But as welcome as this influx of funds is, the sad reality is that Nepal is ill-equipped to make full use of these resources. That is why countries are lining up to donate technical expertise via disaster response teams as well. China has sent a 62-member search-and-rescue team to help the recovery effort. Israel has sent 260 rescue experts in addition to a 200-person strong medical team, while Japan has sent another 70 people as part of a disaster relief team. The United Nations, in addition to releasing $15 million from its central emergency-response fund, is busy trying to coordinate international efforts to maximize their effectiveness.

(TIME, Quartz, Wall Street Journal)

2. A weak base

Nepal’s infrastructure was critically feeble even before disaster struck. With per capita GDP less than $700 a year, many Nepalese build their own houses without oversight from trained engineers. Nepal tried to institute a building code in 1994 following another earthquake that claimed the lives of 700 people, but it turned out to be essentially unenforceable. To make matters worse, a shortage of paved roads in the country means that assistance can’t reach remote regions where it’s needed most. Local authorities are simply overwhelmed, as is Nepal’s sole international airport in Kathmandu. Planes filled with blankets, food and medicine are idling on tarmacs because there are not enough terminals available.

(TIME, Washington Post, TIME)

3. Half a year’s output gone?

The economic cost of the earthquake is estimated to be anywhere between $1 billion to $10 billion, for a country with an annual GDP of approximately $20 billion. The economic impact will be lasting. Tourism is crucial to the Nepalese economy, accounting for about 8 percent of the total economy and employing more than a million people. Mount Everest, a dangerous destination under the best of circumstances, is the heart of that industry. The earthquake this past weekend triggered an avalanche that took the lives of at least 17 climbers, and as many as 200 people are still stranded on the mountain.

(Quartz, Deutsche Welle, Wall Street Journal, The Independent)

4. Internal political barriers

Nepal’s domestic politics are not helping. Nepal’s 1996-2006 civil war claimed the lives of at least 12,000 Nepalese, and the country’s political system has never really recovered. The government that stood before the quake was woefully ill-prepared to deal with a disaster of such scale. There have been no elections at the district, village or municipal level for nearly 20 years, and the committees in charge of local councils are not organized enough to deal with the difficult task of coordinating emergency assistance. Things are not much better at the national level, where Kathmandu has seen nine prime ministers in eight years.

(Washington Post, New York Times, TIME)

5. A competition for influence

Not all foreign aid is altruistic, and some countries never miss an opportunity to capitalize on tragedy. For years, Nepal has been an object of competition between India and China. For India, Nepal has been a useful buffer state between itself and China ever since Beijing gained control over Tibet. Relative to China, India and Nepal are much closer linguistically and culturally. Nepalese soldiers train in India, and New Delhi is a main weapons supplier to Nepal. For China, Nepal is an important component of its “New Silk Road” plan to link Asia with Europe, and offers a useful ally against Tibetan independence. China was already Nepal’s biggest foreign investor as of 2014. While in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake both Asian powers are providing significant assistance, it’s in the reconstruction phase where the true competition between the two will emerge. Pay particular attention to the race to build hydroelectric power plants: both Beijing and New Delhi have been positioning themselves to take advantage of Nepal’s 6,000 rivers to feed their respective energy needs.

(Quartz, BBC, TIME)

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