Jeb Bush Wants You To Know He’s In Favor of Killing Baby Hitler

Give Jeb Bush a DeLorean or a TARDIS and he'll be traveling back in time to Hitler in no time!

Jeb Bush Campaign Speech

Jeb Bush wants America to know that he would be all in favor of going back in time and killing Adolf Hitler as a baby:

MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H. — Have you ever wondered whether, if given the opportunity, Jeb Bush would go back in time to kill Adolf Hitler in his crib?

Well, wonder no more.

“Hell yeah, I would!” the former Florida governor told HuffPost. “You gotta step up, man.”

The question initially arose when The New York Times Magazine polled its readers last month and found that a plurality of respondents said they would, in fact, kill Hitler as a baby.

Bush was then asked the question directly via the email address that he distributes widely to public audiences: Jeb@jeb.org. But he did not answer the inquiry until asked on camera by HuffPost, while riding on his campaign bus in New Hampshire.

Bush did acknowledge that murdering the future German dictator before he had the chance to ignite World War II would be an act that could set in motion unknown consequences.

But the 2016 Republican presidential candidate remained emphatic that he would, in fact, kill Hitler — even if the future leader of the Third Reich were an especially cute baby.

“It could have a dangerous effect on everything else, but I’d do it — I mean, Hitler,” Bush said with a shrug.

The question was, apparently, prompted by a feature that The New York Times ran polling readers on whether or not they would go back in time and kill Hitler as an infant knowing what they know today. That article in turn spawned a number of fun articles from various science fiction and other web sites about about the morality and consequences of an action that, presumably, would have prevented the rise of the Third Reich, World War II, and the Holocaust all in one fell swoop. It’s also a question that has been at the center of the Alternative History sub-genre of Science Fiction for decades now, with many authors spinning tales about the consequences of preventing all of the events linked to Hitler for history, sometimes with a history far better than what we’ve ended up with and some far, far worse. It’s also the inspiration for one of the best, and most frequently shared, humor pieces online called “Everyone Kills Hitler Their First Time,” in which future time travelers keep preventing others from taking actions that stop Hitler’s rise to power.

On a more serious level, Dylan Matthews wrote in the wake of the original New York Times piece about the philosophical questions that killing Hitler in the past would raise, as did other writers. The biggest point to keep in mind, I think, is that the presumption of the question, that killing Hitler would have obviously led to a better state of affairs in the world isn’t necessarily true. Something resembling Nazism could very well have arisen in Weimer Germany without him under the auspices of men like Ernst Rohm, Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler, or many of the others involved in the Nazi Party’s rise to power. The lack of a strong Nazi movement in 1920s Germany could have meant that the Communists would have come to power in Germany, leading to revolutionary conflicts throughout Europe that likely would have led to war. Or, of course, the lack of a strong Germany could have led to a more aggressive Soviet Union under Stalin that began to move west to export its ideology.

Or, perhaps something else would have happened:

It’s a fun topic to talk about, especially for those of us with an interest in history, but I’m not sure why it was a relevant question for a candidate for President of the United States. Unless the U.S. Government has access to a DeLoreon equipped with a flux capacitor or a TARDIS — and I’m pretty sure we don’t — this isn’t exactly something that’s any of these candidates would have to deal with if they were actually elected. Now that Jeb Bush has chimed in, though, I’m sure we’ll see the other candidates asked about it. Because, of course, everyone will want it to be known that even though time travel to the past is probably impossible, they’d still use it to kill baby Hitler in his sleep.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Well…his brother couldn’t get Osama Bin Laden…after saying he wanted him “Dead of Alive” and warning;

    “If he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken.”

    ….so why should we believe for even an instant that JEB! can get Hitler??? Even a baby Hitler would probably be too much for JEB!

  2. ptfe says:

    ” Unless the U.S. Government has access to a DeLoreon or a TARDIS — and I’m pretty sure we don’t…”

    Just to nit-pick, a DeLorean is totally accessible to the U.S. government. What they need is a flux capacitor, which is, as the good Doc Brown says, what makes time travel possible.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So if JEB? would go back in time to strangle baby Hitler in his crib and therefor save millions of lives, would he go back and kill his own brother to save the lives of as many as 500,000 innocent Iraqi civilians and stop the birth of ISIS? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. @ptfe:

    Fair point, will update 🙂

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    Now THAT’s a Republican. He doesn’t trust government to help with retirement or provide health care, but a program to go back in the past and interfere with history? What can go wrong?

  6. gVOR08 says:

    I’m not sure why it was a relevant question for a candidate for President of the United States.

    it wasn’t. But the answer sure was. Sure I’d step up and be brave. If the situation is purely hypothetical and won’t actually happen and even if it did presents no risk to me. In the real world? Step to Trump? Well I don’t know. He’s mean. And popular. Need to think about that. Maybe I could get Christie to do it. Maybe my PAC I don’t talk to twice a day. Maybe later. If his poll numbers drop. I might get hurt…

    Your Tweet is very good. Beckwith’s wins the intertubes.

  7. Jen says:

    As a NH resident, I am just about ready for this primary to be over so the winnowing can begin in earnest.

    On the topic at hand, if the show Quantum Leap taught us anything, it’s that small changes can alter the course of history. So if one had access to a time machine, wouldn’t it be less morally questionable to, say, just make sure he got into art school?

  8. Mikey says:

    The Doctor hasn’t even used the TARDIS to do this, and he’s got the perspective of centuries of life and being a Time Lord and all that.

    I’m pretty sure Jeb! has nowhere near the Doctor’s level of wisdom.

  9. Franklin says:

    “If you want to ask a Republican presidential candidate a trick question, ask if they’d abort baby Hitler.” I think he means fetus Hitler. 🙂

    And good response on Twitter, Doug (noting that you might have been tooting your own horn by quoting yourself).

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @ptfe: But..but. Doesn’t the government still have the time machine Obama used to plant those birth announcements in the Honolulu papers?

    @OzarkHillbilly: First runner-up to Beckwith’s tweet. And would little Jebbie! himself still sign on to PNAC?

  11. Kylopod says:

    The basic problem with a question of this kind is that it is an attempt–and not a very successful one, as this article points out–to reach a level of certainty that doesn’t exist in the real world. It reminds me in many ways of the ticking-time bomb scenario that torture advocates are always bringing up. You want to justify making a terrible choice allegedly to achieve some greater good, so you simply concoct some far-fetched hypothetical that tries to imagine away everything standing in the way of truly knowing the consequences to your decision.

    While it’s tempting to dismiss Jeb’s answer as silly pandering, a little macho talk to boost his right-wing bona fides, it also needs to be kept in mind that this is the brother of The Decider, and it’s exactly the type of unreflective answer we came to expect from that administration.

  12. Ron Beasley says:

    With Trump and Carson sucking all of the oxygen out of the room Jeb like the other candidates are just trying to find themselves relevant. Daniel Larrison has a good post on Jeb Bush today. he doesn’t think that Jeb has a chance of coming back.
    I didn’t think it possible just a few weeks ago but I think Trump may ultimately be the Republican nominee. Larrison also has a good post on Trump While he may not share the views of the Republican establishment Trumps views do come closer to those of both the Republican and Democratic rank and file..

  13. Slugger says:

    ” I’d move Hitler’s family to Chadd’s Ford, PA. N.C. Wyeth raises him along with his sickly son, Andrew. N.C. homeschools both and creates a durable impression that greatness in a man expresses itself in artist creativity. Adolf grows up to have a reasonably successful career as a landscapist.
    You see I believe that the opportunities that America gives people result in bringing out the best in them. I am running to ensure that America’s promise is not subverted into a plutocracy.”

  14. al-Ameda says:

    MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H. — Have you ever wondered whether, if given the opportunity, Jeb Bush would go back in time to kill Adolf Hitler in his crib?
    Well, wonder no more.
    “Hell yeah, I would!” the former Florida governor told HuffPost. “You gotta step up, man.”

    I see, pro-life until birth.
    But really, why not apply this to abortion too? you could write this into an anti-abortion law, with language to the effect that, “abortion is illegal except when a woman is pregnant with a baby murderer,” something like that.

  15. Guarneri says:

    Not to steal the thread from this vital and erudite discussion, but is there time and effort better spent on this blog for something such as, oh, I don’t know, teasing out the birth/death adjustment or the over 55 vs under 55 components of the recent jobs report to give a true picture of an important issue of the day? What next, Ben Carson says he peed his pants when he was 5 and there are no kindergarten classmates to verify this tall tale?

  16. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:

    to give a true picture of an important issue of the day

    Since when are you interested in a true picture?
    Not much you type is true.
    Did you have some sort of epiphany?

  17. John West says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Or his grandpa. Prescott Bush, and his consiglieri (later US Secretary of State) John Foster Dulles, were essentially money-launderers for Fritz Thyssen and the Nazis, and continued their activities until Bush’s company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading With The Enemy Act.

  18. Rodney Dill says:

    The real question would be, would he do it knowing the new alternate future would be more muslim, less christian, more liberal, and more socialist than if Hitler had lived.

  19. Everyone tries to kill Hitler on their first trip:

    Wikihistory by Desmond Warzel

  20. al-Ameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    What next, Ben Carson says he peed his pants when he was 5 and there are no kindergarten classmates to verify this tall tale?

    If Ben Carson was a Democrat Darrell Issa would be calling for another investigation.

  21. C. Clavin says:

    So…wait….
    Republican assumption #1: It’s acceptable to kill a baby Hitler. (see; Bush, Jeb)
    Republican assumption #2: Republicans think Obama is another Hitler. (see; Carson, Ben; Paul, Rand; Perry, Rick; Huckabee, Mike; Santorum, Rick; Limbaugh, Beck, Glenn; Rush, Drudge, Matt; Sowell, Thomas; Gohmert, Louie (R-TX); North Iowa Tea Party; Langone, Ken (Home Depot founder); Weber, Randy (R-TX) – and that’s just what I found with a quick :30 second search)
    Ipso facto: Republicans must think it’s acceptable to…well the NSA is reading this…but I think you get my jist…
    Seems like a legitimate follow-up question in any case.

  22. WR says:

    @Mikey: “The Doctor hasn’t even used the TARDIS to do this, and he’s got the perspective of centuries of life and being a Time Lord and all that.”

    With all due respect, I will refer you to the Tennant-era episode cheerily titled “Let’s Kill Hitler!”

  23. PJ says:

    Talk about a desperate campaign.

  24. the Q says:

    Great, now the next book from OReilly will be “Killing baby HItler”…….

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Guarneri: That’s the problem with conservatives, G. No sense of humor.

  26. An Interested Party says:

    What next, Ben Carson says he peed his pants when he was 5 and there are no kindergarten classmates to verify this tall tale?

    Can’t you come up with some original material

  27. Jenos Idanian says:

    I find myself liking one thought I saw somewhere: maybe Hitler was such a monster because of all the time travelers who’d tried to kill him as a child…

  28. Kylopod says:

    This must be the first time I have ever upvoted a Jenos comment.

  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Kylopod: Don’t feel bad; it’s happened before.

    I just wish I could either claim credit for it, or find where I saw it…

  30. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Doug’s self quoted tweet from the OP for one

    Doug Mataconis @dmataconis
    What if Hitler became an evil monster because of all of the time travelers who tried to kill him as a child?
    12:38 PM – 9 Nov 2015
    618 618 likes

    It’s also been a schtick on at least a couple of sci fi shows.

  31. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: Well, that’s just embarrassing. Doug, my apologies for slighting you on your own thread — and a belated congratulations on a superb line.

    Personally, I’d have put on my Serious Face and said “I’m afraid that, at this time, I cannot comment about certain highly classified government research projects.”

  32. stonetools says:

    The more subtle ( and morally correct) time travel intervention would have been to prevent Gavrilo Princip from killing Archduke Ferdinand- but of course most folks don’t know who those people are.

  33. Mikey says:

    @WR: Well, crap. And here I thought I was on to something.