Politico: You know what the GOP needs? Another Bush!

posted at 6:25 pm on April 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

This meme pops up every couple of months or when Jeb Bush comes out of retirement to make a statement, as he did recently when Charlie Crist vetoed an education-reform bill he backed, but Bush himself doesn’t appear to want to cooperate.  Politico’s Jonathan Martin keeps hearing from “leading Republicans” that the popular predecessor to Crist would make a terrific presidential candidate in 2012.  But is America ready for a Bush hat trick in the Oval Office?

Talk privately to just about any leading Republican about the 2012 presidential race, and you’ll often hear a sentence that starts with: “If his last name were …”

They’re talking about the former two-term governor of one of America’s largest states who is a reformer, a policy wonk and a savvy pol who left office on good terms — and whose last name happens to be Bush.

Were he not the brother of a recently departed and unpopular president, there is little doubt that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would be an obvious, and formidable, White House prospect for the GOP.

Yet even with the family baggage, many Republicans remain convinced Bush could be a strong contender.

Depends on which race we’re discussing. Jeb could make a strong run for the nomination, perhaps, but even that’s a stretch.  The Republican Party has been pushed away from “compassionate conservatism,” the euphemism used by his brother for big-government centrism with a better focus on national security.  Tea Parties have pushed the GOP back towards its Reaganesque federalist roots and is looking for a clean break from the Bush track record.

That may be a bit unfair to Jeb, of course, who is neither his brother or his father.  He governed Florida in a conservative direction and made it work, remaining tremendously popular.  But politics is not altogether fair, and branding matters, whether one likes it or not.  Even if Tea Party activists could be convinced to give a Bush another try, that brand has been damaged considerably over the last few years, even with Barack Obama doing his best to make people forget George Bush’s missteps by bringing back the Jimmy Carter presidency.  In a general election between Obama and another Bush, the GOP would have a hard time convincing independents and unhappy Democrats that the third time would be the charm.

One consultant who worked with Bush on his gubernatorial campaigns thinks that Jeb could rehabilitate the Bush brand the way Hillary did the Clinton brand.  Unfortunately, that latter example is probably more on target than Alex Castellanos would like. Hillary’s rehabilitation of the Clinton brand was hardly a great success, having lost the Democratic nomination to an upstart first-term Senator from Illinois despite the massive political machine she inherited from her husband.

Besides, Bush himself seems mostly disinterested in pursuing elective office, preferring to remain in activist mode, primarily for education-reform issues. Jeb might be smarter than most Republicans, if that’s the case.


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Comment pages: 1 2

The Left is going to tie EVERY Republican to Bush. They even did it to McCain when they clearly hated eachother.
Speedwagon82 on April 28, 2010 at 7:51 PM

that’s because McCain and bush’s and every other elitist/statists policies are the same. bush gave us Tarp, McCain endorsed it, bush gave us amnesty McCain pushed it, bush gave us two wars he failed to win, McCain backed them strategy behind it. On a personal level they were different but on a policy level Bush, McCain, Obama are pretty much the same except for some small differences in the scope and speed of the federal takeover of our freedoms.

NO MORE BUSHES in the WH EVER

unseen on April 28, 2010 at 8:13 PM

No more Clintons, Bushes and Obamas.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2010 at 8:16 PM

NO, no, thanks but, NO. I want someone who is socially AND fiscally conservative.

boomer on April 28, 2010 at 8:17 PM

NO, no, thanks but, NO. I want someone who is socially AND fiscally conservative.

boomer on April 28, 2010 at 8:17 PM

I want someone that has read and understands and has govenered by the consitution, the ideas of federalism contained within those pages, the idea of freedom and liberty. the seperation of powers. If they do that, then that person by definition is a conservative.

unseen on April 28, 2010 at 8:20 PM

No. Last thing we need is more of the Bush crap.

therightwinger on April 28, 2010 at 8:20 PM

If Sarah Palin were investing wishes with the Tooth Fairy for a particular primary opponent, it would be Jeb Bush, given the current political environment and the decentralization trend in the GOP.

Robert_Paulson on April 28, 2010 at 8:22 PM

20 plus RINO years of “leadership” for the GOP and we want some more of that?

HELLS BELLS………since the Bush fam has done such a great job for the GOP why not let them be in charge for another couple of decades!

The country is lost to the New World Order/ Global Governance why not just commit National suicide withw Bush 45 at the helm?

Obamacare…….Puerto Rico 2 more Dem Senators, Distict of Columbia statehood 2 more Dem Senators…….Immigration 20 more Dem voters……Cap and Trade……Financial Takeover/reform by Dems…..Global VAT tax for the UN to rape our wallets……Jacked up Census results…..marry a peep from the get-along Cocktail Republicans…..bring on Jebbie and after him George P. And maybe Jenna…….

PappyD61 on April 28, 2010 at 8:23 PM

20 MILLION more Dem voters…….I wish only 20 more!!!!

PappyD61 on April 28, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Narry a peep from the GOP (dang autofill on this iPhone)

PappyD61 on April 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM

If Sarah Palin were investing wishes with the Tooth Fairy for a particular primary opponent, it would be Jeb Bush, given the current political environment and the decentralization trend in the GOP.

Robert_Paulson on April 28, 2010 at 8:22 PM

and if she didn’t get Jeb bush I bet her next wish would be to run against a fat-cat wall streeter with close personal ties to the washington Dc establishmnet. And if that tooth fairy would grant her a third wish I bet she wishes that person is tied hand and foot to the worse piece of crap to come out of DC in a generation like Obamacare.

unseen on April 28, 2010 at 8:27 PM

I’m a lifelong Conservative. I was born in the original Bush Country–Greenwich, CT.
MainelyRight on April 28, 2010 at 7:55 PM

You have an intact mind. Congrats on evading the New England political ethos. ;-)

The elites sneered at Bush II as a Texas cowboy. If only it were so. He was pure New England.

Feedie on April 28, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Bush 45 at the helm?
PappyD61 on April 28, 2010 at 8:23 PM

Bush 45: The Clonus Horror.
Bush 50: Mutations.
In the year 2525

Feedie on April 28, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Jeb, W’s fatter, dumber brother.
F*ck off.
BTW, when will the hat eating take place? Can we get a thread to watch and discuss it?

HornetSting on April 28, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Yet even with the family baggage, many Republicans remain convinced Bush could be a strong contender.

Yeah, ‘republicans’ that are concerned that every time they urinate, they lose IQ points……

HornetSting on April 28, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Oh come on! BUSH/CHENEY 2012! (Jeb & Liz)

The campaign slogan writes itself: “Bush 2012… the third time’s the charm!”

American Elephant on April 28, 2010 at 8:56 PM

NO. In all its universal forms….

rightwingyahooo on April 28, 2010 at 8:57 PM

Wow, lotta sleeper cell activations on this thread.

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Two war he failed to win,

unseen on April 28, 2010 at 8:09 PM

Actually Bush won the Iraq War. The country has been in the “post war period” since then. Don’t forget, we also won World War II, but we still have a massive military presence in Germany, Italy and Japan.

And how could Bush have “won” the war that still goes on in Afghanistan, other than using nuclear weapons or some other method which you would never condone?

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 9:05 PM

G-E-T L-O-S-T.

rrpjr on April 28, 2010 at 9:08 PM

Yeah, ‘republicans’ that are concerned that every time they urinate, they lose IQ points……
HornetSting on April 28, 2010 at 8:46 PM

That’s impossible. Their brains aren’t in their bladders.

Feedie on April 28, 2010 at 9:09 PM

We already have a president owned by the Saudis

georgealbert on April 28, 2010 at 9:13 PM

HornetSting on April 28, 2010 at 8:46 PM
That’s impossible. Their brains aren’t in their bladders.

Feedie on April 28, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Stop eating paint chips. Sheesh.

HornetSting on April 28, 2010 at 9:21 PM

The Politico tries to talk up yet another sure loser for the GOP. Same ol’ same ol’.

ddrintn on April 28, 2010 at 9:25 PM

HornetSting on April 28, 2010 at 9:21 PM

Uh… they aren’t in their skulls, either.

Feedie on April 28, 2010 at 9:32 PM

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

manwithblackhat on April 28, 2010 at 10:20 PM

I dunno…. In bowling we call it the Turkey.

I will grant that Bush 2 was far more competent than Bush 1…

But the rate of improvement was far from exponential…

Jones Zemkophill on April 28, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Thus spake the owners of the Republican franchise.

How rich do you have to be to even garner a consideration?

BL@KBIRD on April 29, 2010 at 12:12 AM

That may be a bit unfair to Jeb, of course, who is neither his brother or his father.

Actually, he’s an unfortunate combination of both of them. The only thing that set him apart was that he was supremely aware that he served at the behest of the voters, and at the time Florida’s primary voters were greatly more conservative than his father and brother.

Especially on illegal immigration issues I’m afraid Jeb Bush would be a very bad choice. Amnesty would become one of his signature issues, if no such legislation is enacted before then.

AFAIC, his father, his brother, and the illegal immigration issue are the Three Strikes which make Jeb Bush a dreadful presidential candidate for the GOP.

KendraWilder on April 29, 2010 at 12:36 AM

May I be the first to say “NEVER AGAIN!”

too late but sincere.

Lonetown on April 29, 2010 at 5:16 AM

Sorry – it may to easy to say – “I’m Bushed”

jake-the-goose on April 29, 2010 at 7:10 AM

Well W was more conservative than 41 but that isn’t saying much. In all honesty W was a lot better than people give him credit for.

lavell12 on April 28, 2010 at 6:51 PM

No argument there. Perfect response to 9/11, excellent conduct of the war during his term. Overall good guy. Stunk to high heaven when it came to the economy, thanks to Paulson et.al.

Mr. Grump on April 29, 2010 at 8:34 AM

Add another NO to the vote: and I like the Bushes on a personal level. Very decent, honorable, well meaning people all. Their governing philosophy is a ‘no go’ though. Maybe Jeb is the Jeffersonian in the family, but twice burned is thrice shy. We need Reagan conservatism again and always.

JimP on April 29, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Jeb would have been better than GW, but don\’t think he will ever run again. He knows it will be nasty and he doesn\’t like DC. He did a good job in Fla and could have run for senator and been elected, but wanted to retire from politics.

Kissmygrits on April 29, 2010 at 10:52 AM

As Chris Matthews would say, “HA!”

lonestar1 on April 29, 2010 at 11:36 AM

No more Bushes, Clintons, or Obamas. You just know they are gonna push for Michelle next.

lonestar1 on April 29, 2010 at 11:37 AM

There should never, ever be another President named Kennedy, Clinton or Bush (or Obama, for that matter). Political dynasties are a little too Latin American for my taste.

Travis Bickle on April 29, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Comment pages: 1 2