July 22, 2010

WHO BETTER TO FINISH W'S AGENDA?:

Why not Jeb Bush? (Joshua Green, July 22, 2010, Boston Globe)

Bush...has a solid conservative record that wasn’t amassed in Washington and broad appeal in a critical state; for a party conspicuously lacking a positive agenda, he’s also known as an ideas guy. Bush hasn’t followed the Tea Partiers to the political fringes — he opposed Arizona’s racial profiling law, for instance — but neither has he ignored them. On Monday, he’ll appear at a Kentucky fundraiser for Tea Party favorite and GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul.

But what about his big obstacle — the name? It’s often asserted that Bush could never overcome the burden. But there’s clear evidence that voters distinguish between George W. Bush and his family members. In a 2008 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, 35 percent of voters held a favorable opinion of George W., versus 65 percent who viewed him unfavorably. Those numbers reversed for his father: 57 percent viewed him favorably and just 34 percent unfavorably.

Would Republicans dare coalesce behind Bush? Surely they would. The hallmark of today’s politics is a truculent refusal to concede error. What could possibly show up those arrogant liberals like nominating another Bush? Nor is it apparent that doing so would be politically perilous. As Obama’s approval ratings continue to fall, it seems ever more likely that the 2012 election will be hard-fought and close, regardless of who is the Republican nominee. And Jeb Bush’s appeal to the center is at least as strong as that of his colleagues.

The biggest obstacle to a Jeb Bush candidacy is Bush himself. Though he is traveling more often and raising money for Republicans, he has kept a low profile. Friends say he dislikes Obama’s constant criticism of his brother. “It’s childish,’’ he told the New York Times last month. Of course, the surest way to defend the family name would be to defeat the president who got elected by impugning it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 22, 2010 6:09 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« THE PARTY EXISTS TO PROTECT THE TEACHERS, NOT EDUCATE THE STUDENTS: | Main | HE IS SHE: »