NY Times - One month before Jeb Bush was sworn in as governor of Florida, he was already musing about bold plans to reduce the size of the state government.
“One of our goals should be to have fewer government employees each year we are serving,” Mr. Bush wrote to two aides in an email in December 1998. “We need a baseline from which to start. Labor has huge potential to be reduced, possibly in half.”
The Saturday after he was inaugurated, Mr. Bush forwarded that message to another aide and asked, “Can you make this happen?”
And while he did not slash the number of state employees by half, he did privatize thousands of public jobs. ...
In an email to a friend who was close to a teachers’ union leader about his effort to institute higher-education standards, Mr. Bush instructed his friend to tell the union leader “that a reformed system will be a better one for dedicated teachers.”
“I believe they know this, but they also know that it won’t be so good for the bottom third of teachers that U.T.D. spends most of its resources defending,” Mr. Bush said in March 1999, referring to the union, the United Teachers of Dade....
Responding to a constituent in October 2000 who wrote him about a motorcycle helmet law, Mr. Bush offered a glimpse of his conservative philosophy in explaining why he opposed the measure, saying he did not want to “overextend governments role in our daily lives.”
“Think about how many times we could use government to decide what is and is not healthy or good for us — I am not sure that is the state we want to live in,” he wrote.
He was less of a hard-liner, though, when a gay Floridian hoping to win a job in Mr. Bush’s administration gently asked if his sexual orientation would present a problem.
“On the other stuff, don’t ask, don’t tell is fine with me,” Mr. Bush responded, appropriating the terminology President Bill Clinton used regarding gays in the military. “What you do in your private life is your business. If it crosses over into the public policy realm, then that is another matter. If you are comfortable with that, then we can proceed.”