I'm a fan of Jeb Bush. He was an outstanding Governor for the State of Florida and I'm sure he'd make an outstanding President. But he has, unfortunately, the arc of history working against him and I'd like to think he's smart enough to conclude as much at the end of his "exploratory" period.
Jim Geraghty lays out serious problem number one:
More recently, former president George W. Bush has referred to Bill Clinton as “my brother from another mother” and to Hillary Clinton as his “sister-in-law.” On September 11, 2013, Jeb Bush, chair of the National Constitution Center, honored the former secretary of state with the organization’s Liberty Medal, marking Clinton’s “lifelong career in public service.” At a March conference on education, Hillary Clinton praised Jeb Bush as someone “who really focused on education during his time as governor in Florida, and who has continued that work with passion and dedication in the years since.”
Insert all the standard boilerplate about the joy of friendship and personal relationships, and how political opponents don’t need to be lifelong enemies. Yes, it’s nice that the 1992 election results didn’t cause these two families to hate each other forever. Yes, it’s nice that the former presidents have come together to help noble causes and can unite to help charities and the vulnerable when they need it.
But come on, man.
. . . Hillary’s philosophy of government, approach to public power, foreign-policy vision, vindictiveness to critics, and record of leadership matter, and the Republican party’s grassroots voters have good reason to require a nominee who doesn’t think of his Democratic rival as part of his family.
Over the past six years, we on the right -- and in particular, the previous Republican nominee -- have been proven right time and again. Russia is indeed behaving like our preeminent geopolitical foe. Negotiating with the Taliban was a stupid idea. We knew leaving absolutely no U.S. military presence in Iraq was a formula for trouble. We never dismissed ISIS as a “jayvee team.” Democrats didn’t need to pass Obamacare for us to know what was in it. The Obama team scoffed at Romney’s idea of giving veterans vouchers for care at private hospitals, assuring us that the Department of Veterans Affairs was reducing the backlog and giving our veterans the care they deserved. We talked about the need for a secure border decades before Central America decided to turn our border into a giant open-air day care center.
We do not like Hillary Clinton. We do not like her philosophies, her decisions, or the weapons-grade pabulum that she stuffs in her books and offers for six figures per speech. Perhaps in person she is warm and funny and all of those things her hagiographic media fans insist. But her record in public life -- and that of her allies, and her party -- has been an absolute disaster for the country for the past six years, and the 2016 Republican nominee needs to be able to make that case and win that argument six days a week and twice on Sundays.
Perhaps Jeb Bush can be that man. But to do so, he’ll have to bring his A-game to the task of thoroughly defeating his metaphorical sister-in-law.
And Charles C. W. Cooke accurately explains serious problem number two when he says Jeb is the wrong guy and the wrong time:
I am fundamentally opposed to his candidacy on more basic grounds: Namely, that he’s the wrong man, at the wrong time — and in the wrong country, too. “As loathsome and un-American as it may seem to hold someone’s family name against him,” Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote earlier this week, “this point needs to be emphasized: the GOP and the country don’t need another Bush.” Dougherty is right. The United States is a republic, and in republics the citizenry should be reflexively nervous about dynasties, regardless of how much they like their individual members. Certainly, America has survived the emergence of great and powerful families before. President John Quincy Adams was President John Adams’s son; President Benjamin Harrison was President William Henry Harrison’s grandson; and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President Theodore Roosevelt’s fifth cousin. (These relationships, you will note, get less and less intimate as times goes on.) But these were departures from the norm, rather than the norm itself. If Jeb Bush does manage to make it all the way to the top, we will be in uncharted dynastic territory — territory that, frankly, should begin to worry us.
In an era when the absurdities of a pre-ordained and partisan leftist political narrative (or three) are being brazenly asserted in the face of, and in contravention to, the objective truth -- well, this is not a time for a man from a Republican political dynasty. Period, end of story.
Jeb, you're a student of history & policy, and you fully understand the American experience: get behind Marco Rubio, man. Help us elect this worthy man to the presidency. Step away from the dynastic cloak that is inevitably associated with your name even though it isn't of your making. It isn't, however, an accident of your birth. You are still part and parcel of that dynasty and your ascension to the presidency isn't good for the country.