August 9, 2005


Bush 44: Jeb for president? Don't write him off just yet. (BRENDAN MINITER, August 9, 2005, Opinion Journal)

With a strong string of electoral victories, why would Republicans now turn their backs on the Bushes? It certainly wouldn't be because of Jeb's record in Florida. He's been steadily amassing an antitax, bedrock conservative record over the past seven years. There's not much there that the party's base is going to hate. Indeed, before he lost in 1994, the scuttlebutt on Jeb was that he was "the conservative Bush."

Political symmetry also favors Jeb Bush. Even if President Bush manages to get some sort of private Social Security account this year, it's now becoming clear that the bulk of the reform is unlikely to come until after 2008. Bush 43 may succeed in establishing the principle of private accounts within the Social Security system, but it will likely be the next president (perhaps Bush 44) who will have the opportunity to steer the bulk of our payroll taxes into such accounts. Voters gave FDR four back-to-back terms. They may now conclude that replacing the New Deal with an Ownership Deal will take sending a Bush to the White House in three or four successive elections.

Remaking New Deal entitlements into assets individual Americans can own may become a powerful political philosophy that nudges into oblivion FDR's already dwindling coalition of union members and entitlement beneficiaries. Jeb Bush's close association to George W. would be an asset if voters embrace the Ownership Society. By 2008 we'll also likely have a national consensus on how well the democratic experiment is working in Iraq. If Americans continue to support spreading democracy as our best defense against international terrorism, Jeb's last name will also be an asset here as well.

Perhaps the most compelling reason why Jeb Bush shouldn't be written off just yet came Friday with the Labor Department's latest jobs numbers. With some 200,000 net new jobs created in July and some 3.5 million new jobs over the past two years, it's getting harder to deny we are now in the midst of a Bush boom.

People who seem to know say that his wife really doesn't want to spend the two years that running for President would require right now. But accepting the VP slot on a ticket with John McCain would only mean a two month campaign and then prime position to run in '12.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 9, 2005 10:32 PM

Who would you say would be a better McCain VP, Jeb or Condi?

Posted by: Timothy at August 10, 2005 1:51 PM

He needs Jeb to lock up social conservatives.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2005 1:58 PM

Prognostication:Full moon in 9 days.

Posted by: Genecis at August 10, 2005 2:43 PM