That was Jeb! Bush's response in 1994 to a black voter who asked what he planned on doing for the black community in Florida.
Today he made good on that promise again when he responded to a voter asking if he thought the Voting Rights Act should be reauthorized.
The short answer? No.
"If it’s to re-authorize it to continue to provide regulations on top of states as though we are living in 1960 — because those were basically when many of those rules were put in place — I don’t believe that we should do that," Bush responded. "There’s been dramatic improvement in access to voting — exponentially better improvement. And I don’t think there’s a role for the federal government to play in most places — there could be some — but in most places where they did have a constructive role in the 60s. So I don’t support reauthorizing it as is."
So I guess that puts him in the John Roberts "racism is over" camp.
As bad as Jeb! is at campaigning, he's not stupid, and his answer here is about as disingenuous as they come. Because much of the "dramatic improvement in access to voting" made since the 60's was undone after the Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that struck down portions of the VRA when red states in the South made a mad dash to enact new voting laws, including Florida where Gov. Rick Scott, thrilled by the ruling, pushed ahead with another voter purge which luckily fell apart. And this was after cracking down on voter registration drives and cutting voting hours that led to the longest lines at the polls in the country during the 2012 election.
Jeb's comments also come on the heels of a move in Alabama to close driver's license offices in communities with a majority of the state's black population after enacting tougher voter ID laws. But sure, Jeb! says we aren't living in the 60's.
Probably the most reprehensible facet of Jeb's statement is the hypocrisy, considering his own actions in "government intervention" in elections. After all, it was Jeb! who purged thousands of black voters in Florida (possibly violating the VRA in the process.) Then there's the 2000 election. Jeb! seemed just fine with government intervention then when his brother George was heading for a loss. In fact, had it not been for Jeb!, we wouldn't have had the disastrous eight years that set the country back in a hole we're still trying to dig our way out of.
Oddly enough, one of the few things his brother George did right was to sign a reauthorization of the VRA in 2006 when it passed in Congress. But that was back when Republicans could still function somewhat in Congress.
Fast forward to the present, where there is currently a complete meltdown occurring in the GOP-led House as I write. "Washington is broken" says Jeb! who also tells us he is just the guy to fix it. But first, to get there he has to get through the election.
How fitting that, when asked what he would do to "fix" the Voting Rights Act, Jeb's answer is virtually the same as it was back in 1994:
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