4) The Bush rehabilitation has begun. George W. Bush is not exactly popular, but two years of Obama have taken the edge off W.-hatred, and he’s risen from the depths of his unpopularity near the end of his presidency. Gallup had a poll in December that had Bush’s approval rating very slightly above President Obama’s. Bush’s book, Decision Points, and the accompanying media tour were successes. In 2008, Jeb’s association with his brother would have been an absolute killer. That’s not true anymore. The controversies that made the Bush years so venomous have faded, and — partly through the miracle of the accelerated news cycle — 2000–2008 already feels somewhat distant.
5) Jeb will still be a Bush in 2016. There’s no doubt that it will always be awkward for Jeb to be the third Bush; it will always have a dynastic feel about it. But that will remain as true in 2016. If Jeb runs in four years, after Obama presumably wins a second term in 2012, he will still be vying to be the third Republican president in a row who’s a Bush. Waiting until 2016 won’t make that fact any less odd.