Jeb Bush is cleaning up a mess he helped create. It’s a distraction from what he’d rather be doing, which is building an “aura of inevitability” around his soon-to-be presidential campaign. He’s spent the past week distancing himself from the speech that one of his foreign policy advisers, former secretary of State James Baker, delivered to the annual meeting of J Street, the liberal fringe group that pushes tough policies against Israel.
Fighting continues in eastern Ukraine despite a ceasefire agreement reached earlier this month by European negotiators.
While Russian-backed separatists began to pull back some heavy weapons from the front lines on Tuesday as part of the deal, Ukraine says the rebels are still initiating attacks. Ukrainian forces retreated from the strategic rail hub Debaltseve last week under an onslaught from the separatists—who were bolstered by Russian troops and advanced weaponry, Western officials said—and residents now fear that the rebels could launch further attacks on the eastern cities of Mariupol and Kharkiv.
An intellectually stimulating and potentially historic event was held at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday. House majority leader Eric Cantor, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, and Senators Mike Lee and Tim Scott appeared alongside conservative thinkers and journalists such as Arthur Brooks, Ross Douthat, Reihan Salam, Ramesh Ponnuru, Peter Wehner, Yuval Levin, and Kate O’Beirne to discuss “solutions for the middle class.” The AEI panel was noteworthy not only for its content but also for the presence of Republican elected officials. It was the debut, however modest, of “reform conservatism” as a political force.