jeb-and-george-bush (1)

Our political Quote of the Day comes from The Daily Beast’s Peter Beinhart, who notes that Jeb Bush’s magical mystery tour of Sunday talk shows yesterday (he’s really only considering running, you know) and then bluntly explains why he believes Jeb Bush will never be elected President: he does have Bush baggage.

On five talk shows Sunday morning, Jeb Bush reminded America why he’ll never be president: it’s hard to distance yourself from your own last name.

Unfortunately for Jeb, history is written by historians. Three times since 2009, pollsters have asked them to rank American presidents, and in those rankings, W. has come in 36th, 39th, and 31st. Only Millard Fillmore, Warren Harding, William Henry Harrison, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan rank lower. Ordinary Americans agree. Three times since George W. Bush left office, pollsters have asked the public to rank recent presidents. And three times, W. has ended up second to last, ahead of only Richard Nixon.

Yes. These are the realities.

But since when has reality ever stopped partisans from claiming that another reality not reliant on those pain-in-the-you-know-what-things call “facts” is reality?

I mean, take Dick Morris.


That’s why Jeb Bush will never seriously challenge for the presidency—because to seriously challenge for the presidency, a Republican will have to pointedly distance himself from Jeb’s older brother. No Republican will enjoy credibility as a deficit hawk unless he or she acknowledges that George W. Bush squandered the budget surplus he inherited. No Republican will be able to promise foreign-policy competence unless he or she acknowledges the Bush administration’s disastrous mismanagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. It won’t be enough for a candidate merely to keep his or her distance from W. John McCain and Mitt Romney tried that, and they failed because the Obama campaign hung Bush around their neck every chance it got. To seriously compete, the next Republican candidate for president will have to preempt that Democratic line of attack by repudiating key aspects of Bush’s legacy. Jeb Bush would find that excruciatingly hard even if he wanted to. And as his interviews Sunday make clear, he doesn’t event want to try.

He notes that a GOPer in the future who wants to win the Oval Office will have to short-circuit Democratic attack lines about GWB. But as GHWB might say: “Not gonna happen.” Bush could run into problems if he would praise his brother or stand by hime when hen many Republicans including Tea Partiers wish GWB had stayed in Texas — or kept managing that football team. When George W. Bush left Washington, many Republicans were singing this song.

Yet, I don’t totally agree with Beinart.

If the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot — by nominating a candidate who is politically incompetent, or nominating a candidate that the party’s liberal base doesn’t feel is “progressive” (current buzzword for liberal) enough so some Dems decide that, by golly, why, they’ll teach their party a lesson and stay home and not vote — and therefore and let Republicans (again) come to power and consolidate their hold on the courts and bureaucracy — Jeb could indeed be elected.

It’s not all about Jeb Bush. It’ll also be about who the Democratic Party nominates and the state of Democracy Party unity and willingness to stomach compromise within the Democratic Party.

In reality, Jeb Bush’s biggest hurdle will be to get the nomination.

He has the establishment. He’ll get some conservatives.

But it’s unlikely he’ll ever win the hearts of those who are now swooning over Rand Paul or, perhaps, even over Paul Ryan.

And if he DOES get the nomination, he talks the talk of a GOPer who wants to reach out and be inclusive quite well. He comes across as a thoughtful Republican who puts mind in gear, rather than vomit up the latest talking points uttered by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox and Friends or a top conservative blogger.

So don’t write Jeb Bush off yet.

Would’t be prudent.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • zephyr

    Three Bushes in the White House is two too many.

  • cjjack

    I was living in Texas when W. ran for Governor. The general consensus was basically “isn’t he the dumb one?” The family name was big in the state, but not big enough to overcome his many deficiencies. Or so we thought.

    Fast forward a few years, and ‘ole W. was running for President. He couldn’t really count on his father’s legacy – since history had not yet been kind to George H.W. – and being Governor of Texas? Well let’s just say that’s a job even Rick Perry can handle. Plus he was running against the VP of a very successful President.

    It should have been a cakewalk for the Democrats.

    We can argue about the shenanigans in Florida all day, but I believe the 2000 election result came down to two things: Al Gore and complacency. Al Gore is a very intelligent man with a long record of public service, but all the charisma of…well…Al Gore. I don’t doubt he’d have been a much better President, but as a candidate he was only slightly better than George W. Bush. The Democrats simply didn’t take W. seriously enough as a candidate.

    If things continue as they’ve been, then by late 2015/early 2016 the economy will have recovered significantly (though there will still be large deficits and debt), and barring any scandals or new wars the country should be in decent shape. The Democrats will put forth a candidate everyone can see coming from a mile away (Hillary or Biden most likely) and all the Republicans have to do is get a slightly better candidate.

    Will that candidate be a Bush? I wouldn’t count it out.

  • ShannonLeee

    Americans forget….and they/we do it quickly. Bush will when the nomination, but get waxed by Hillary. Hillary has already made the complacency mistake. She won’t make it again.

    Honestly folks, do we really think any of the other Rep noms have a chance? Americans may dislike GWB, but there is a large percentage of the Rep party that think he did a great job. They STILL think W was a great President. So that will help Jeb get the nomination.

    Christie is too big, sorry, but it is true.
    Rubio is too young.
    Ryan is bat poop crazy.
    Rice is interesting, but I dont think she is likable as a candidate, and she also has W baggage, as in was directly involved in the disaster, not just related to the disaster. I love commas

  • The_Ohioan

    Depends on how much influence the Tea Party retains next year and in 2016. The 2012 Republican primaries were a direct reflection of their efforts. The big money will go to possible winners this time, unlike 2012. What they can’t afford is another will-o-the-wisp candidate like Romney who had lost all credibility by election day.

    It will be interesting to see how much the Rand/Cruz/Lee portion of the party hold the candidate to their outlier views.

  • zephyr

    I think Ohioan is right, it depends on how much influence the TP retains. Jeb will almost definitely seem too moderate to them (whether he really is or not) and they will push for someone more radical. I’m sure democrats are hoping the TP does have a hand in choosing the next R candidate, as it will make their job easier.

    I love commas

    Me too; I also like the occasional semicolon.

  • ShannonLeee

    semicolons have style, and they have sass with that little wink 😉

  • slamfu

    I really don’t see the point in speculating on ’16 until we see how things shake out in the midterms. My guess is the GOP again loses the popular vote, the Tea Party finally takes a back seat, and then we can see who the GOP will throw out. But none of the clowns now are any better than the ones they ran in the last election.