Quotes of the day

The war on Jeb Bush is on.

Rand Paul is attacking him as a hypocrite on marijuana who’s indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton. Ted Cruz is questioning whether Bush’s stands on education and immigration will fly with primary voters. Conservative outside groups are going after him, with one airing a TV ad declaring, “We do not want dynasties in our White House.”

So far, Bush hasn’t hit back — a decision that his advisers say reflects a desire to carve out an image as the adult in the room. During an appearance in Detroit last week, Bush lamented the rise of attack politics and said voters are hungry for something different.


Jeb Bush’s money juggernaut is far eclipsing the efforts of his would-be rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, putting his two political committees on pace to amass an unprecedented sum of tens of millions of dollars by early spring.

The former Florida governor’s overwhelming dominance in the race to line up financial backers has come at a speed that has impressed longtime Republican money players, who say wealthy party backers have rapidly migrated to Bush since 2012 nominee Mitt Romney decided against another White House run two weeks ago…

Bush’s press for dollars has been so intense — averaging one fundraiser a day — that his Republican competitors do not even claim they can compete at his level and acknowledge that he is the unrivaled financial leader…

The gravitation to Bush is being driven in part by the wide network of donors who supported his father and brother, as well as a sense among many in the establishment that his policy acumen and moderate stance on immigration makes him the strongest contender in a general election.


For the 12 years that his father held national elective office, Mr. Bush used his unique access to the highest reaches of government to seek favors for Republican allies, push his views and burnish his political profile in his home state, a review of presidential library records shows. In the process, Mr. Bush carefully constructed an elaborate and enduring network of relationships in Florida that helped lead to his election as governor in 1998 and, now, to his place as a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016…

In the scores of messages that Mr. Bush sent to his father and White House staff members, there are echoes of the themes that have dominated his career in both government and business: a fruitful reliance on his family name, a fascination with the mechanics of government and a willingness to delve into the gritty art of political favors…

Mr. Bush seemed to relish his close ties and ready access to his father’s administration, inviting major figures from Washington to Florida for his favored causes…

Many on the president’s staff saw Mr. Bush not so much as meddling as fulfilling a duty to the family’s profession. “It is sort of the family business of extending the political network,” Mr. Collamore said in an interview. So members worked diligently to carry out his requests — even if some were out of the ordinary.


Time has brought a renaissance of warm feelings for the elder Bush in particular, but the brutality of a presidential campaign will test that. Already, Democrats are trying to saddle Jeb Bush with his brother’s record, both domestic and foreign, including the deeply unpopular Iraq war…

Ana Navarro, a Bush friend and adviser, said, “The minute he walks into a room and opens his mouth, people will realize how simplistic it is to imply that he’s reading off some sort of Bush family instruction manual.”…

“There is understandable resistance among American voters to the notion of political dynasties,” said Mark McKinnon, a campaign adviser to George W. Bush. But, he added, “if you do happen to be part of a dynasty, what better time to run than when there is one running for the other party’s nomination.”…

“There’s a bright line you could draw in the styles of the three men,” said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Republican strategist. “Jeb is the guy who goes home at night and reads the 400-page policy paper, not just the three-paragraph executive summary.”


Jeb Bush said Wednesday that running in 2016 as the son and brother of former presidents would be “an interesting challenge” and that he would have to establish himself as his “own person” in order to win.

“I love my brother,” the former Florida governor said of George W. Bush during a question-and-answer session following a speech to the Detroit Economic Club. “I think he’s been a great president. It doesn’t bother me a bit to be proud of them and love them, but I know for a fact that if I’m going to be successful … then I’m going to have to do it on my own.”


Florida Governor Jeb Bush said Friday that he has little interest in discussing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which started while his brother was president, as he aims to run a joyful campaign focused on outing a positive vision of the future.

“I won’t talk about the past,” Bush said in response to a reporter’s question about his foreign policy speech planned for next week in Chicago. “I’ll talk about the future. If I’m in the process of considering the possibility of running, it’s not about re-litigating anything in the past. It’s about trying to create a set of ideas and principles that will help us move forward.”


Bush remains a favorite of many mainstream Republicans who want to field the strongest possible candidate to counter the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.  But Bush could encounter opposition from Republicans looking for a fresh face in 2016, says Republican analyst Scot Faulkner.  “Jeb was an excellent governor in Florida.  [But]  Jeb’s got the wrong name.  I mean, America fought a revolution so we don’t have dynasties.”

Democrats seem split on a Bush candidacy.  Some see him as the strongest possible nominee to face off against Hillary Clinton.  But others, like pollster Stan Greenberg, argued that there is still a negative hangover that Jeb Bush would have to contend with stemming from his brother’s time in office.  “What surprised us was how weak Jeb Bush is [in a recent poll] and as one gets into an election cycle, the prospect of a Clinton-Bush election with all that that suggests, Jeb Bush faces major problems, a shellacking perhaps.”


[I]f Bush had a different record — and a different public persona — many of the conservatives claiming to oppose him solely out of an aversion to dynasties would probably be more favorably inclined toward him (and at least some of his supporters might suddenly start talking about “no more Bushes”). In other words, the anti-dynasty argument is often a convenient way to avoid criticizing Bush on his own merits…

Ultimately, how Bush deals with his brother’s legacy will probably determine whether he gets the nomination. It’s a tall order, but not nearly as daunting as how he would deal with it in a general election.

A large majority of Americans believe that the Iraq War “wasn’t worth it.” That gives Clinton — or some other Democrat — a great opening to say, “Sure we made mistakes, but we didn’t get us into a disastrous war, like your brother did.”

Of course, it’d be an unfair attack. But fairness doesn’t matter. What matters is how Bush would respond — and whether Republicans should even give him the opportunity to respond.


Jeb can’t exploit Hillary Clinton’s greatest weakness. As the wife of a former president whose party has held power for the last eight years, Hillary is vulnerable to a candidate who embodies change. But given his last name, Jeb can’t do so. While other Republicans could frame 2016 as a choice between the past and future, Jeb would make it a choice between two pasts, one of which Americans remember far more fondly than the other.

All this would be more obvious if the money chase did not dominate campaign coverage. If Bush’s well-known last name did not provide him with such epic fundraising capacity, in fact, he’d be George Pataki: a dull, moderately conservative former governor of a large state who has been out of politics for a while.

In winning the money primary, Bush is crowding out potential candidates with greater appeal to actual voters. Consider Marco Rubio. He’s a more natural politician. Despite an immigration stance similar to Bush’s, he has a stronger connection to the GOP’s conservative base. And given his youth and lack of connections to previous Republican administrations, he would naturally embody change. Yet as a fellow Floridian, Rubio is the candidate Jeb hurts the most.

On ideological grounds, Republicans generally hate public financing of campaigns. But in 2016, they need it more than Democrats. Right now, the people with the greatest influence over the GOP’s next presidential nominee are caucusing not in Sioux City but Central Park West. And they’re choosing the wrong guy.


“Jeb, it’s Mom. Listen, what do you mean, ‘too many Bushes’?… I changed my mind!

Trending on HotAir Video
Jazz Shaw 5:01 PM on March 22, 2023