Jeb Bush has good creds, but last name is political baggage

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Jeb Bush would appear to be a perfect general election candidate for the Republican Party: A record of success and competence as governor of Florida. Moderate conservative principles. A history of bipartisanship. Thoughtful leadership on vital policy issues like education. Fluency in Spanish, a Mexican-born wife, and a sincere searcher for a way out of the country’s immigration mess give him appeal to the growing Hispanic vote.

Just one problem: His last name is Bush. Even his mother has opined that a nation of more than 300 million can do better than turn to dynastic control of the White House.

Yet, the establishment leadership and rich donor base of the GOP is enthusiastic for Bush. They are, reports the Washington Post, behind an effort to draft Bush for the 2016 presidential race. The son of one president and brother of another hasn’t made a decision about running but is certainly laying the groundwork by making speeches, appearing with Republican candidates and showing up at donor functions like a big one in Las Vegas last weekend.

Part of the enthusiasm for Bush is attributed to the Bridgegate political troubles of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and establishment anxiety over the rise of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the liberatarian maverick who challenges GOP orthodoxy on foreign policy and national security.

Republicans find themselves in a strange situation for 2016. In the past, there’s usually been a presidential nominee in waiting, a candidate who ran before, came in second and by virtue of that experience earned the right of “it’s his turn.” Think Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole.


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