What if Jeb Bush had said what his father now says about W., Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Iraq?

That doesn’t mean throw­ing his fath­er and broth­er un­der the bus; an ob­ject­ive view of pres­id­ents 41 and 43 can in­clude many pos­it­ives. But it would re­quire from Jeb Bush a clear-eyed as­sess­ment of how he would be a bet­ter bus driver. What went wrong in Ir­aq and why? Why is U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­ten so wrong and so eas­ily dis­tor­ted? When is a bru­tal dic­tat­or bet­ter than a dan­ger­ous va­cu­um? Can the United States re­build na­tions in its im­age? Should it? What, if any, freedoms are worth sac­ri­fi­cing for more se­cur­ity? How do we fight Is­lam­ic ex­trem­ists without de­mon­iz­ing a re­li­gion?

Jeb Bush could have ar­gued that the per­son best suited to tackle those and oth­er ex­ist­en­tial ques­tions is some­body who has watched, up close and per­son­al, as Amer­ic­an lead­ers tried hard to find the an­swers and failed.

In­stead, he tried to dis­tance him­self from his broth­er—nev­er a reas­on­able goal. In those five days in May, which set the tone for a sour and soul­less cam­paign, Jeb Bush first gave a mud­died ex­pres­sion of sup­port for the war. He then called the ques­tion hy­po­thet­ic­al, re­luct­antly con­ceded he would have done things dif­fer­ently in Ir­aq, and fi­nally said, “I would not have gone in­to Ir­aq.”