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January 02 , 2010

Conservative Hurricane

How Jeb Bush Remade Florida


Against the backdrop of the Tea Party–dominated GOP, former Florida governor Jeb Bush may appear comparatively moderate, but his record tells a different story. In Conservative Hurricane, Matthew Corrigan probes beyond the mild veneer, the sound bites, and the photo ops to examine the real evidence of Bush’s political leanings—his policies, politics, and legacy as the state’s most powerful governor.

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After remaking himself from a strident ideologue into a restrained conservative policy wonk, Bush became Florida’s first two-term Republican governor. The small-government conservative—who in his second inaugural address dreamed of an idyllic Tallahassee free of government employees—was unstoppable. He presided over the largest accumulation of executive branch authority in the state’s history and advanced a multitude of social and economic reforms, the effects of which are still felt in the Sunshine State today. It was the beginning of a new kind of conservative activism, one that has only gained strength in the years since Bush left office.

From the culture wars to the management of state government, Corrigan examines the governor’s indelible mark on Florida. He demonstrates how the issues most closely associated with Bush’s leadership, including education reform, end-of-life decisions, and gun rights, would guide Republican governors in other states as they rode the rising tide of conservative populism.

For anyone curious about a potential Jeb Bush presidency, this book is required reading.

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