National Constitution Center Role Could Doom Jeb Bush

Conservative group says he's "unelectable" because of Liberty Medal award to Hillary Clinton.

Saw this coming:

The conservative group ForAmerica released this ad today, claiming that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is “unelectable” because he was onstage when Hillary Clinton received the 2013 Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center here in Philadelphia. (Bush was chairman of the center’s Board of Trustees at the time.)

“Jeb has absolutely no credibility to criticize her because he has already anointed her as a great public servant; and he inexplicably did so almost a year to the day of the Benghazi massacre,” L. Brent Bozell, the group’s chairman, said in a release announcing the ad. “He will lose, and the public will have to suffer at least another four years of Obama’s policies – and anything worse she has in store for America.”

Jeb Bush (center, at left) and Hillary Clinton at Clinton's Liberty Medal ceremony. | HughE Dillon

Jeb Bush (center, at left) and Hillary Clinton at Clinton’s Liberty Medal 2013 ceremony. | HughE Dillon

Perhaps coincidentally, the add came out the same day the National Constitution Center announced the 2015 winner of the Liberty Medal: The Dalai Lama. He’s the second straight foreign winner of the award since Clinton received it in 2013. Which raises the question: Will the people who choose the Liberty Medal — which honors individuals “of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe” — have the courage to recognize American acts of political courage in the future? Or will what’s happening to Jeb Bush now mean the award is confined to less-controversial foreigners and entertainers like previously recipients Steven Spielberg and Bono?

Put another way: How can the National Constitution Center function as a center of thought and study about our governance — with its intertwined politics — without actually being consumed by politics? Right now, the answer is murky.

In any case, the attack has been a long time in the making. We noted at the time of Clinton’s award that conservatives — ranging from National Review to Rush Limbaugh — were howling about Bush’s involvement in it.

And in fact, observers at the time noted that Bush was careful about sharing the stage too closely with her that night. “Even as Bush seemed to brush off criticism, he never got too close to Clinton, denying a photo of them side-by-side that would surely be used against him in a future campaign,” The Washington Times reported that week.

It wasn’t enough, though. Jeb Bush stood somewhere in Hillary Clinton’s vicinity two years ago in Philadelphia, and because of that he is unqualified to be president! It’s going to be a long campaign.

Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.