Jeb Bush has a moment of what appears to be compassionate conservatism:
Jeb Bush Signals More Funding and Faster Drug Approval for Alzheimer’s
.... Mr. Bush’s comments ... signal that ... if he runs for president and wins, he would be willing to reverse some of the spending cuts to medical research that Republicans have pushed for in recent years during budget battles.
The Republican from Florida suggested as much in March when he said at an event in Iowa that increasing spending would be wise in some cases.
A deviation from right-wing orthodoxy on Jeb's part? Well, there's a reason for that:
Former Gov. Jeb Bush opened up last week about his mother-in-law’s affliction with Alzheimer’s disease and, on Tuesday, shed some light on what he thinks should be done to fight the illness.
In an email exchange with Maria Shriver, the journalist, activist and author, Mr. Bush wrote that he has been getting a lot of feedback since revealing that his family has firsthand experience with the disease. As for how he would address Alzheimer’s disease, which according to the Centers for Disease Control afflicts five million Americans, Mr. Bush called for more research funding and a faster drug approval process.
“We need to increase funding to find a cure,” Mr. Bush said. “We need to reform F.D.A. [regulations] to accelerate the approval process for drug and device approval at a much lower cost. We need to find more community based solutions for care.”
So it's not that Jeb disagrees with his fellow Republicans on social spending in general, or even that he dispassionately examined the GOP's approach to medical research funding and found it inadequate to the task. He believes Alzheimer's needs more funding because Alzheimer's affects him personally, as the son-in-law of someone who's suffering from it.
This is how Republican compassion usually works. Who in the GOP supports same-sex marriage? Dick Cheney (gay daughter) and Rob Portman (gay son). Who in the GOP is skeptical about torture? John McCain (torture victim). Who in the GOP ever says a kind word about Muslims? Grover Norquist (married to a Palestinian Muslim).
There are exceptions to this rule, but not many. Jeb as president wouldn't rethink the GOP's entire approach to non-military spending -- but for this he'll make an exception. Because it matters to him.
UPDATE: The Miami Herald's Naked Politics blog lists multiple vetoes of Alzheimer's research by Jeb Bush when he was governor.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog