Jeb Bush has spent the last few months fundraising like mad and saying things, all kinds of things, that will draw a clear differentiation between him and his brother.
Most of Jeb’s attempts at distinction came from hard pivots to the right, except when he was asked about his brother’s foreign policy choices. If he had to do it over, he’d do it just like Dubya. Maureen Dowd, no fan of the Bushes, had some harsh lines for Jeb in “He Is Heavy. He’s My Brother.”
Then, comes this gem of a find by way of Laura Bassett of the Huffington Post. It turns out that in his book, Profiles in Character, Bush was rueful for the days when unwed mothers and ho’s were shamed in the public square like, you know, in The Scarlet Letter? Oops!
Wait. That can’t be right, can it? Jeb must played hooky during the weeks The Scarlet Letter was taught. Maybe he read a prank version of the Cliff notes for it? Or, simply, Jeb made shit up so he could demonize Hos?
I hope some enterprising reporter corners him and asks him about it.
[*Update: NPR has published an “explainer” of the history of Jeb Bush’ Scarlet Letter law. Of note is that while he didn’t sign the original bill, he did allow it to become law.)
Jeb Bush In 1995: Unwed Mothers Should Be Publicly Shamed
In a chapter called “The Restoration of Shame,” the likely 2016 presidential candidate made the case that restoring the art of public humiliation could help prevent pregnancies “out of wedlock.”
One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.Bush points to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which the main character is forced to wear a large red “A” for “adulterer” on her clothes to punish her for having an extramarital affair that produced a child, as an early model for his worldview. “Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots,” Bush wrote.
Read the rest of Jeb Bush In 1995: Unwed Mothers Should Be Publicly Shamed on HuffPo.