“The Bush name is obviously going to be one of Jeb’s biggest hurdles, but it’s also going to be one of his biggest assets,” said Ford O’Connell, another Republican strategist.
In early 2009, when George W. Bush left office with the country mired in an unpopular war and the economy in freefall, the conventional wisdom was that he’d permanently spoiled Jeb’s presidential ambitions.
But Republicans are confident that with George W. six years removed from the White House, he’s no longer the drag that he once was. They say President Obama has worn out the “Bush card” by blaming his predecessor at every turn.
Obama has “beat that drum, blaming [George W.] Bush for a lot of the country’s problems, but it hasn’t worked,” Bonjean said. “We now have a Republican Congress and people are tired of him playing the blame game.”
If Bush chooses to run, his family ties will likely benefit him in other ways too.
He’ll be able to leverage his name and family network to raise tens of millions of dollars, and already appears to have a lock on the GOP’s mega-donors.
Bush will also likely be able to count on having the super-PAC Crossroads GPS, which is run by his brother’s svengali Karl Rove, in his corner.