Thus far, he has not. Instead, Jeb has gone out of his way to say that he might have to win against the will of the base of his party. That’s a sure-fire way to create opposition, making his nomination more difficult, and his election as president less likely still. Splitting your party isn’t sound politics. His father and brother never did that.
But while Jeb Bush has lost ground since announcing he would announce shortly, his presidential relations have been ticking upward, looking better in retrospect and against other people, as time moves forward. In retrospect, his father’s role in ending the Cold War and ousting Saddam Hussein from Kuwait seem more important than his tax-raising heresy. In retrospect, and after the rise of IS, his brother’s approval ratings have risen six points (to 52 percent approve against 43 percent disapprove) in the space of one year. President Obama is doing his best to make George Bush look better.
Jeb’s still a wonk, but his claim as a great politician seems more and more shaky. The wish to move on is quite real, but if their last names were Bush, would Walker or Rubio really be out of contention? Or would their vigor and freshness still carry the day?
The problem with Jeb Bush isn’t “Bush,” as the story would have it. The problem with Jeb Bush is “Jeb.”