Like Many Others, Jeb Bush Put Checkered Youth Behind

tags: Jeb Bush, Phillips Academy

Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history and education at New York University. He is the author of "Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education," which will be published next month by Princeton University Press.

A scion of a famously rich and well-connected family goes to a fancy prep school. Partying with his friends and neglecting his studies, he almost gets kicked out. But he eventually grows up and goes on to a successful career in politics..

John Fitzgerald Kennedy? No, John Ellis Bush.

Better known by his family nickname, Jeb, Bush has become the putative front-runner for next year's Republican presidential nomination. And that has brought renewed scrutiny of Bush's business activities and his performance as Florida's governor, which is exactly as it should be.

But his dissolute years at Phillips Academy in Andover? Please. If an errant youth disqualified you for the presidency, JFK would have never made it. Nor would many of our other presidents, who were hardly paragons of virtue as younger men.

Jeb Bush's Andover antics are back in the news, thanks to a long article published earlier this month by the Boston Globe. Taller than most of his peers, Bush bullied some of them and smoked marijuana with others. He was also caught drinking alcohol during his second year at Andover, which placed him on probation. ...

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