More from the National Review Summit: Jeb Bush

By January 27, 2007General

Today’s luncheon speaker was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. His speech is covered well by our friend Paul Mirengoff over at PowerLine and by Kathryn Jean Lopez at the National Review’s “Corner“. Calling himself “a proud conservative,” he laid out three “bedrock fundamental principles” for the assembled multitude: Belief in limited government, a commitment to reform and the realization that self-government requires a level of personal responsibility.

On limited government, he said it was “hard work,” cautioning against a government that grows faster than people’s ability to pay for it. When that happens, he warned, the resulting cost puts a greater burden on all individuals. He proudly pointed to his record on spending, saying that he had vetoed some 2500 special projects — from both parties — totaling some $2.3 billion. In fact, he exercised his line-time veto power so much he quipped that he earned the nickname “Veto Corleone.”

Education is a passion of his and he spoke of the great need for reform, saying it was “essential for our success” as a country, As we’ve said time and time again, he stressed that we need a “knowledge-based workforce”. He has been bullish about the manufacturing base in Florida (with the help of some NAM stalwarts like Al Stimac), so he knows what he’s talking about. On education, he said, “Success is never final, reform is continuous.”

He also talked about health care, highlighting a Medicare pilot project in just two Florida counties. However, their combined population would make them the 25th largest state. It is a plan that stresses wellness and cost containment and has met with success thus far.

He got a question on immigration, and it was clear that this is another issue near and dear to his heart. He mentioned that half the residents of Miami-Dade Country were born in another country. On this topic, he had some great lines: “The people who come to pursue their dreams unleash a contagious spirit,” he said, calling immigration, “A miraculous process that has made my country better.”

As he finished, strains of “Run, Jeb, Run!” could be heard about the room. He had already made clear he wasn’t running, and stressed the need for “a return to civility” in the Nation’s political discourse. Suffice it to say his speech was well-received.