Politics

Bush Brothers Have a Complex Relationship, Marked by Fierce Rivalry, Wounded Feelings

Then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush welcomes President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush to Fort Lauderdale in 2004. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)
Then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush welcomes President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush to Fort Lauderdale in 2004. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)

 

(Los Angeles Times) – When Jeb Bush was born, his big brother didn’t exactly celebrate the news.

“As a kid, George viewed him as a completely unnecessary addition to the family,” John Ellis, a Bush cousin, recounted years later. “Jebbie was just a pain.… I think that carried on for a long time.”

Sibling relations can be fraught, a tangle of love, envy and compassion. In that way, Jeb and George W. Bush — separated by nearly seven years and vastly different life experiences — are no different than any other set of brothers.

But they are, of course, like no other: They’re part of a political dynasty, and their dramas play out for the world to watch, their personal history entwined with that of their country.

As he strives to become the third member of his family to win the White House, Jeb Bush bears the blessings as well as the burdens of that heritage and, especially, the legacy of his brother, who left the presidency a scant 6 ½ years ago amid an unpopular war and the near-collapse of the U.S. economy.

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