Jeb Bush for president? Why not? You might be wondering why a writer working for a publication with a decidedly liberal bent would even consider the possibility of another Bush for the Oval Office — especially since I’ve already given five reasons why Elizabeth Warren should get into the race.
Well, someone has to run against the Democratic candidate, whoever that ends up being, and Jeb — for better or for worse — has shown that he’s a man who can actually govern, so here are five reasons why Jeb Bush should run for highest office in the land.
1. Everyone Loves a Trilogy
The original “Star Wars” trilogy, “Back to the Future I, II and III,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “The Godfather” … Americans love a trilogy, good or bad, happy ending or sad. Another Bush presidential bid would play into the cultural zeitgeist that demands the number three. Three times the charm, and three Bushes in the White House could be an epic event … or a fizzling dud (similar to the initially promising, yet ultimately dissipating “Matrix” trilogy). Just like Neo, Jeb might be “the one.” Hope he knows some political kung fu.
2. Big Dynasties
Although I’ve argued against political dynasties in the past, I’m well aware of the fact that lots of people love them. From the Kennedys to the Clintons, voters often feel more at ease with a commodity they know. And since the Republican party hasn’t won a presidential election without a Bush running (Papa Bush was a vice president for eight years before becoming a one-term prez) since 1972 when Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern, that means the Bush clan, historically speaking, is the surest bet around.
Jeb’s mother, Barbara Bush, stated in an interview that, “We’ve had enough Bushes.” I would argue that the nation’s voting track record over the past four decades suggests otherwise. True, George W. Bush’s lack of popularity at the end of his presidential tenure might hurt his little brother, but even on that front, there’s some good news (for Bush fans, of course, not for Camp Clinton). Since he’s been out of office, W’s dismal approval rating has improved slightly. While it’s nothing to write home about, it might not be the crippling blow so many are worried about. The Bush Dynasty, just like the Energizer Bunny, could go on forever. Jenna Bush 2028, anyone?
3. Florida, Baby
Florida is a vital swing state with a large economy. Jeb Bush was very popular governor there and demonstrated an ability to work across ideological divides. If he runs and wins his party’s nomination, the Republicans would gain a huge advantage in a key purple state come general election time. Maybe they could even take it this time without having to go through the Supreme Court. That has got to be a positive.
4. Los Latinos
Jeb speaks Spanish, is married to a Mexican-born American, converted to Catholicism and has a decidedly softer approach to immigration than some of his more-radical colleagues. This could be an advantage as Hispanics make up a substantial part of the (voting) population — or this could prove to be his Achilles’ heel.
Comments about illegal immigration, such as the one Jeb made in 2014, remarking, “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love,” could garner him a lot of Latino love — but incur the wrath of the very anti-immigration Tea Party during the primaries. If Jeb wants to lead, he’d better learn how to walk political tightropes over pits full of snakes and shards of broken glass … and how to do so on a daily basis.
5. A Likable, Electable Conservative
Jeb is a traditional conservative, but stops shy of the wackadoo-what’s-happening-to my-country, fairly racist ultra-conservatives we’ve grown so accustomed to as of late. He’s on the record as being against same-sex marriage (a conservative principal), but not rabidly so, stating, “We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law,” after a ban in Miami-Dade County on same-sex marriage was lifted. While his views on the matter might diverge from yours or mine, he’s shown an amount of sensitivity and respect over the issue of gay and lesbian marriage that are blatantly absent from other branches of his party.
In other words, Jeb Bush is willing to carry the Republican torch, but not all the way to defeat. He’s a candidate who can, and probably will (maybe not so much during primary season), challenge some of the entrenched dogma of his own party — but when taken to task for straying from the fold, can point out his solid conservative bona fides, which just might be enough to get a substantial number of key conservatives to back him and tag along for the presidential ride.