December 16, 2014


Jeb Bush's Audacity of Hope (Francis Wilkinson, 12/16/14, Bloomberg View)

Jeb Bush's nascent presidential candidacy is predicated on one big bet and one small one. The big bet is that the Great Republican Anti-Government Tantrum is over, and that American conservatism is prepared to revert to a more moderate mission as a force for nimble government, efficient markets, powerful military and acceptance of a minimal social safety net as a necessary hedge against untrammeled capitalism.

The small bet is that Bush himself, and his campaign, will have the character and discipline to hew to principle even after the Republican base discovers his deviant positions on immigration and education, and begins to suspect that Bush can't be trusted as a vessel carrying the base's sacred myths. [...]

Unlike Christie and Romney, two guys who talk tough but shrink from confrontation with the party base, Bush seems determined to run as someone who really does call it as he sees it. It's an admirable stance and perhaps Bush is sufficiently authentic that it's the only one possible for him. Call it the audacity of hope. For there is no evidence that his party is eager for anything like straight talk.

After all, there's a reason Romney's presidential run devolved into caricature a little more than two years ago. He and his strategists concluded that conservative truths and good will were no match for conservative myths and enmities. Romney changed himself to suit the party. Bush appears to be demanding that the party now change to suit him. Audacious indeed.

Of course, it's only a myth that the base opposes amnesty. The base is, first of all, Christian.

Posted by at December 16, 2014 3:34 PM

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