December 17, 2014

Thoughts On Jeb Bush

Now let’s lay some things out here before I get started on this post.

  1. I am definitely a conservative, but I am also firmly in the Republican camp because the GOP is the only vehicle that will allow conservative principles to be implemented to any degree.
  2. I am a firm believer in the Reaganite philosophy that the individual who is with you 80% of the time is a friend and an ally, not a traitor.
  3. While I have close friends and associates who are Tea Party and agree with them on many issues, I am not a part of that movement.
  4. I believe George H.W. Bush to be a true American hero and one of the two greatest Americans to serve as president during my lifetime. The only reason I do not regret opposing him in the 1988 GOP primary is because my candidate was Jack Kemp.
  5. I believe that history will be kinder to George W. Bush than this generation has been – and that said judgment will be fully warranted.
  6. If given the choice between voting for Jeb Bush and any Democrat who might plausibly be nominated in 2016, I would enthusiastically vote for him, warts and all. Love of country would dictate that I do nothing less – just as love of country will require me (as was the case with his father in 1988) to support a more conservative candidate in the primary.

That said, I greet the following announcement with mixed emotions.


Jeb Bush was a fine governor of Florida. He ran the state as a conservative, and did so quite competently. He is a decent man, is able to present himself well, and is undeniably a deep thinker. He is also not an ideologue, which means he can and will work with those he disagrees with (a necessary trait that made Reagan a success and would doom some of today’s conservative favorites).

Unfortunately, he supports the worst aspects of the Common Core movement – which would result in the further federalization of education despite the lack of a constitutional mandate for the federal government to involve itself in that area at all. His best instincts may leave him too open to an amnesty for illegal aliens without gaining control of the border. And then there is the biggest electoral problem – he is, for better or worse, Jeb Bush rather than Jeb Smith, and that last name may be ballot box poison.

However, I agree with Charles Krauthammer that the potential Bush candidacy is a good thing overall.

Charles Krauthammer says a Jeb Bush presidential campaign would discourage other potential candidates from the establishment and conservative wings of the GOP from running for office.

“Those who would be on, let’s say, his wing of the spectrum are going to have to rethink whether they want to go up against Jeb Bush and how good a chance they’re going to have,” Krauthammer said on Tuesday’s Special Report. “Because it creates an instant front-runner, for good or for ill, it will discourage some of the fringe candidates.”

And I wholeheartedly hope this is true. We have a whole host of potential candidates for the 2016 nomination, and many of them simply do not belong in the race. Ben Carson is not even remotely qualified for the job. Chris Christie should be attorney general, not president – and Ted Cruz should be an early appointee to the Supreme Court. Bush protégé Marco Rubio needs seasoning, as does Rand Paul (although the latter might make an interesting vice presidential choice). Neither Rick Santorum nor Rick Perry ought to run, and neither should Mike Huckabee. It is my hope that Bush taking a lot of the air out of the room at such an early date will make many of these folks reconsider running and give us a race with no more than half a dozen presidential hopefuls a year from now – Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, along with one additional candidate (another governor or Rep. Paul Ryan) and (for better or for worse) Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

But do I think Bush can get the nomination? In all honesty, I do not. There are too many Republicans who don’t want another Bush, or who do not want him in particular. I’ve heard that again and again in recent days. His immigration stance is outside of the GOP mainstream. So is his position on Common Core. Why, then, would Republicans nominate him? After all, those things mitigate against him being electable because the base will stay home if he’s the candidate.

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NAME: Greg
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