Jeb Bush and the $1 Trillion Nuclear Weapons Budget
Just before the 4th of July parade in Amherst, NH got underway, I asked Republican candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush about current plans to spend $1 trillion on nuclear armaments, a plan that has been backed by the Obama Administration. Governor Bush said that he wasn’t aware of the plan. But unlike some candidates who simply brushed me off, he did seem interested in learning more. Did the budget include delivery vehicles? Did it include warheads? I said that the budget includes both delivery vehicles – a whole new fleet of nuclear subs and heavy bombers and possibly new ICBMs – and also re-designed warheads which would be very destabilizing.
Bush asked if I had written information and I promised to get it. Then, darn it, I realized we didn’t have anything with us. I will try to attend another event where I can put the information in his hand and hope that he will take the time to at least glance at it.
Another issue that came up was the right of citizens to work together to ask candidates questions and record their answers. I approached Gov. Bush just a few minutes after my friend Will Thomas also asked him about nuclear weapons, and Gov. Bush remarked that he assumed we were working together. Indeed we were. Both Will and I, as well as other AFSC-GUI bird dogs, are deeply concerned about nuclear weapons. Later on at the event, a Bush aide seemed visibly upset about organized bird dogging. But why should it be wrong for voters to ask the candidates questions, record the answers, and then publicly discuss the candidates’ views? Reporters and TV stations do it constantly. Certainly we as citizens should be able to. The voter’s right to to ask the candidates questions and discuss the answers is what the primary is all about. I’m asking similar questions of all the candidates, Republican and Democratic, and trying to faithfully and respectfully report the answers. And I appreciated that Governor Bush seemed interested enough in the issue to respond.
Now if I can just find an event where Hillary Clinton will answer my questions. So far she seems to be doing mainly tightly-controlled large events. No small public venues for her. I’ll have to try harder to ask her a question about nuclear weapons. Can’t really predict what she’ll say.