October 29, 2014


Why Jeb Bush should run for president (Ruth Marcus, October 28, 2014, Washington Post)

My argument for a Jeb Bush candidacy is also twofold: It would be good for Bush's party and good for the country.

Good for Republicans not just because it would give them a better shot at the White House but because the GOP has veered off the ideological rails.

Even the notion that Bush is seriously considering running -- his son told ABC's Jonathan Karl that it is "more than likely" -- is a comforting sign. Jeb Bush is not naive about the GOP's loony tendencies and the distorted ideological landscape of its nominating process. For him to be weighing the race indicates that he believes those extremist instincts can be tamed.

A Bush candidacy would deviate from party orthodoxy on numerous issues, most notably immigration and education reform; a Bush nomination would usefully yank the party toward the center.

On immigration, Bush favors granting undocumented immigrants the opportunity for legalized status, although not necessarily a path to full citizenship. "Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony," he said in April. "It's an act of love, it's an act of commitment to your family."

He has also been a champion of education reform efforts, including the new GOP heresy of backing national education standards known as Common Core.

And speaking of heresy: In 2012, when none of the party's presidential contenders would back a hypothetical budget deal of $1 in tax increases for $10 in spending cuts, Bush told the House Budget Committee he'd snap it up. "Put me in, coach," he said, adding, "This will prove I'm not running for anything."

Make no mistake: Bush is a conservative. But he is a conservative who believes in the role and capacity of government and in the imperative of bipartisan cooperation.

"Back to my dad's time and Ronald Reagan's time -- they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support," Bush told Bloomberg View in 2012. Contrast that with Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz: "I don't think what Washington needs is more compromise."

And this is why a Bush candidacy would be good for the country as well. A saner Republican Party would produce saner, more productive politics.

Posted by at October 29, 2014 5:57 PM

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