While the country's eyes are focused on Charleston, all of the Republican presidential candidates are putting in an appearance at this weekend's Road to Majority conference, organized by Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition.
Jeb Bush boldly went where every Republican candidate has gone before and will again when it comes to questions of race and racial violence.
When pressed on the issue, he allowed that maybe it had some racial components, but he wasn't going to commit to that, instead choosing to cloak Dylann Roof's racist and evil act as an assault on religious liberty.
This is the talking point that Fox News has set before them, this disingenuous claim that a man who walked into a church, sat with the people in the church for an hour and then shot them after telling them "they had to go" because "blacks are raping our women and taking over our country" was attacking religious liberties. No mention there of them "having to go" because fundamentalist extremists calling themselves Christians are hijacking our political process in the name of corporate political gain. None of those words were uttered.
But Jeb Bush "doesn't know" if the shootings were racially motivated.
The "why" of the shootings is obvious. At the decision point between when his finger was on the trigger and when that finger pulled the trigger for the first time, Roof didn't believe black lives mattered enough to spare them. That's racism, plain and simple. It doesn't matter why he didn't believe they mattered, or whether he was angry about a love interest dating a black guy. It only matters that he didn't value African-American lives enough to walk out of that church with his gun stashed in his pocket, unfired.
Why Jeb couldn't articulate that is obvious: he'd rile up all the racists who were sitting in that room and watching from afar, those who he is asking to vote for him.
Jeb Bush is a coward.