With Chris Christie in deep trouble, Republican poobahs are reportedly looking to Jeb Bush to save their party in 2016. The former two-term governor of Florida speaks fluent Spanish and has high name recognition. Jeb could raise millions of dollars over night by just saying “yes” to running.
Despite all this, there are strong reasons Republicans should say no to him.
1. His last name is poison.
Let’s face it, if Jeb Bush had the last name of Something Else he would have already run for president in 2008 or 2012. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, registered voters were asked if they would vote for Bush, and 50% said they would not. Among Independents, 49% said no, as did 18% of Republicans.
These poll results prove that the legacy of George W. Bush continues to have a negative effect on his brother’s political future.
2. Jeb would split the party
Conservative activists/Tea Party Republicans who are the majority of GOP primary voters are not lining up for Jeb 2016 due to his support for “Common Core” academic standards and his support for “amnesty” immigration legislation. Jeb, although he considers himself a “practicing conservative,” is also viewed as a “moderate” establishment Republican, cast in the mold of Mitt Romney.
The good news is that means he does not scare independent voters and is capable of raising millions from the “country-club” Republicans. The bad news is he reinforces and epitomizes the “Establishment versus Tea Party” divide currently raging within the party.
3. Jeb’s isn’t ready for the new era of campaigns
Jeb was elected in 1998 and then reelected with 56% of the vote in 2002. In terms of political campaigns, he ran in the Stone Age before social media, hidden cameras (e.g. Romney’s “47%”), and super PACs. Will Jeb be ready-to-rumble in this mean and harsh Republican primary environment?
4. Jeb’s immediate family has had a few problems
No family is perfect and certainly Jeb can attest to that, but a rough national campaign means old baggage gets repacked. Stories like when in 1999, Jeb’s wife Columba was caught trying to hide $19,000 worth of clothes and jewelry from customs agents in the Atlanta airport after a shopping trip to Paris.
Columba was born in Mexico, and her heritage will be an asset with Hispanic voters, but she does not enjoy the campaign spotlight and keeps a very low profile. Then, Jeb’s daughter Noelle had a series of drug-related issues involving the law. But most important is how Jeb would be forced to distance himself from his brother’s two-terms of turmoil without tearing his family apart.
Surely a repacking of Bush family baggage has got to weigh heavily on Jeb as he makes his decision.
5. Mom said no.
Every good son must listen to his mother’s advice, especially when mom is a former first lady and her oldest son a former president.
On April 25, 2013 when Barbara Bush was asked on national television if she would like to see Jeb run for president she replied: “He’s by the far the best qualified man, but no.” She also added, “We’ve had enough Bushes.” Now she’s warmed up to the idea. Has the rest of America?