Ready for a third President Bush? Short answer: No

Apr 1, 2014
Jack Bremer

Might wealthy Republicans persuade Jeb Bush to stand against Hillary Clinton? It's not an April fool

THERE is increasing speculation in Washington DC that the 2016 presidential election to find Barack Obama's successor could be run between two of America's greatest/most infamous (take your pick) modern political families – the Clintons and the Bushes.

Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill, has been the likely Democrat contender for ages, although she still has to confirm whether she'll run. Now the Washington Post is reporting that, with their leading centre-right candidate Chris Christie going down in flames because of various scandals unearthed in New Jersey, "influential Republicans" are working to persuade Jeb Bush to stand.

"[Jeb] Bush has travelled the country delivering policy speeches, campaigning for Republicans ahead of the fall midterm elections, honing messages on income inequality and foreign policy, and cultivating ties with wealthy benefactors — all signals that he is considering a run," says the Post.

His father, George H W Bush, was the 41st president, and his younger brother George W Bush the 43rd. Might this be Jeb's turn?

The idea may appeal to some wealthy Republicans, but it is not going down well with political commentators on either side of the Atlantic.

The Spectator's Alex Massie says a Bush-Clinton race would be perfect for cable news - a soap opera "to make you puke" but one Americans would have to watch.

But if this is the best the Republicans can do, says Massie, it's hard not to conclude that the Republican party is exhausted. "Since (from a conservative perspective) Jeb’s father and brother each disappointed – albeit in rather different ways – there’s something quaintly optimistic about suggesting third time lucky with the Bushes."

In America, Myra Adams for the Daily Beast has compiled five good reasons for the Republicans to think again – two of which are his name and his politics.

His name, in short, is poison: and that's not just the political pundits talking, but the great American public. A recent Washington Post poll found 50 per cent of registered voters said they would definitely NOT vote for Jeb Bush, proving that the negative legacy of brother George remains potent.

As for Jeb's politics, in short he's not right-wing enough to win over enough of the party's supporters. He's "soft" on immigration – he supports an amnesty and he even has a Mexican-born wife, Columba – and he's a "moderate" when it comes to issues like public education.

All of which is rather unfair on Jeb who, if his brother hadn't made such a hash of it, and if the Republicans hadn't turned so far right since the Bush era, might actually be considered a perfectly reasonable choice for the Republican nomination having been Governor of Florida from 1999 – 2007.

There are, however, skeletons ready to tumble out of the closet: in his first year as Governor, his wife Columba was caught by customs agents at Atlanta airport trying to bring in $19,000 worth of clothes and jewellery from Paris. And their daughter, Noelle, has had her run-ins with the authorities over drugs. But at least he hasn't started any wars.

What does brother George say? When asked on CNN a year ago about Jeb running, Dubya responded: "Well, big Jeb, you know, he's got a decision to make. And if I could make it for him, it'd be, 'run,' but I can't."

He added: "I don't know what he's going to do… He'd be a great candidate and a great president."

Would the famous Bush family matriarch, Barbara, back another son to run for the White House?

"Jeb's the best qualified man, but no," she said. “I think it's a great country. There are a lot of great families, and it's not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified and we've had enough Bushes,” she said.

Who could put it better?

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Shallow talent pools?!? Not even dried mud remains of the once vibrant Republic of Ideas - as warned by Ike in his farewell address in warning of the "military-industrial complex" taking control of the political class.
In fact, when he drafted the speech, he used the phrase "military-industrial-bureaucratic complex..." but was persuaded (by his bureaucrats) to drop the 3rd descriptor.r
As to the drying up of the gene pool, we in Britain should be getting out the hoses to try to replenish our disappearing puddle - with Labour the erstwhile "horny handed sons of toil" who once represented the working class have all but disappeared in the miasma of Blair clones extruded from the apparatchik vats.
As for the Torys, noblesse oblige is just a funny froggy phrase to the men-without-navels & homunculae infesting the Front Bench.

I agree.
That is why we need Proportional Representation so that from small beginnings, such as the Social Democrats of David Owen, Roy Jenkins, dame Shirley Williams and Bill Rodger, larger and alternative options can emerge.
But don't panic about BNP or UKIP, rather an evolution of centre parties to share government.
Most of Europe does this successfully, i.e. not the Italians, and our coalition was much better than Cameron alone.
Don't forget that the British people in the last election did not vote for a single party to be in power.
And don't say that the party manifestos did not offer power sharing, because the manifesto is what the party proposes to do IF elected with a majority, and which they never do anyway.
So a bigger gene pool needs a bigger choice of electable parties with a chance to grow.
In USA, the people who choose the candidates choose the President. And these are not the normal citizens but the super rich - OK, Obama got some crowd funding AFTER being chosen.

So bring on PR.

I hope Jeb runs. I am turned off by the extremity of the Tea Party and hope to see a return to more moderate and sensible leading. I am so extremely disappointed in the existing administration and the division we see in the Congress. And I don't see any of that changing with Hilary.