Jeb Bush is more conservative than you think

In important respects, Jeb’s health-care positions are also more conservative than his brother’s. For years, conservative think-tankers pushed Republicans to change the tax treatment of health insurance so that people who buy coverage for themselves can get an equivalent tax break to those who get it through their employers — and without having to obey highly prescriptive federal regulations on what kind they can buy. George Bush’s administration made only a half-hearted effort to do so, too late in his term to make a difference. Jeb has advanced a plan to create a much more competitive individual market.

Even on education — where he has sustained criticism from conservatives for his support of Common Core standards — Jeb is running to the right of his brother. George ran on “No Child Left Behind,” an ambitious plan to leverage federal dollars to reform schools in every state. Jeb says that Washington’s role in education should be limited, that it shouldn’t interfere in state standard-setting, and that it should offer more flexibility in using federal funds. Jeb also thinks families should be able to use their share of federal aid for poor students to pay for private school. George never called for boosting school choice that way.

The brothers have similar views on immigration. But Jeb goes further than George in siding with the critics, mostly conservative, who think reuniting extended families should not be a priority. He’d prefer more skills-based immigration.