Jeb Bush, Hispanic-American

Maybe it was just a slip-of-the-pen. But it’s fascinating that Jeb Bush identified himself as “Hispanic” in a 2009 voter registration application form for the State of Florida unearthed by the New York Times.

As you probably know, there’s a tradition of cultural reinvention in the Bush family that perhaps coincidentally tracks the declining power of the Northeastern Mega-WASP within the Republican Party. Connecticut Senator’s Son Poppy Bush became a Texas oilman and the family’s first genuinely conservative pol. George W. Bush graduated from Phillips Academy and Yale, but by the time he first ran for office he had discarded the family Episcopalianism for the more suitably southern middle-class Methodism, and replaced his father’s and grandfather’s Yankee twang with a Texas drawl and swagger. And then Jeb took it a step further, heading to UT from Phillips instead of Yale, marrying a woman from Mexico, converting to Catholicism, and settling into Cuban-flavored business and political circles in South Florida.

But when Poppy caused a brief flurry of controversy by referring to Jeb’s kids as “the little brown ones,” it probably didn’t occur to him that Jeb might come to think of himself as a “little brown one” by association–or perhaps by the projection of a pol hungry for votes. Any way you slice the cantaloupe, though, you have to wonder how this news went over with Steve King.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.