Old? Bush (61) is younger than Romney (67) and looks like a fresh face compared with a candidate who has twice tried and failed to become president, and who wasn’t even much loved after he had won the 2012 nomination. Bush is personally untainted by failure — electoral or governmental; his executive reign over Florida was widely considered a conservative success.
Similarly, Bush’s deviations from Republican orthodoxy appear less toxic when he is compared with the paterfamilias of Obamacare. Over the course of his career, Romney’s true north has been highly variable. Bush is attempting — we’ll see if it lasts — to establish himself as a direct contrast to such flip-floppery. (Bush knows that the base knows that he knows that the base knows that his stands on Common Core and immigrants hurt him.)
Bush’s principles offend the base — but perhaps not as much as Romney’s pandering does. The base never confused Romney’s embarrassing entreaties with fidelity; for the Tea Party wing of the party, Romney is just as much of an ideological threat as Bush. And his mere presence in the public sphere makes Bush’s spine appear straighter, stronger.