Jeb Bush’s gut-check moment

Maybe now, decades later, Jeb Bush can empathize with what Lawton Chiles was going through.

Running for a second term as Florida governor in 1994, the 64-year-old Chiles faced an ambitious, impatient go-getter 23 years his junior, who had decided his year and a half as the state’s commerce secretary and decade of making money in South Florida real estate qualified him to be the chief executive of the state.

Bush was all of 41 years old then, and Chiles hit him hard and repeatedly on his lack of experience: “I love the state of Florida and have given my life to the state of Florida,” Chiles told Bush with three weeks to go. “It is not a toy to allow someone to experiment and start a political career.”

Twenty-one years later and running now for president, Bush finds himself confronting an ambitious, impatient go-getter 18 years his junior making some of the same generational arguments Bush used when he first ran.