The myth of Jeb Bush as a victim and martyr has been with us for quite a long time. He was the “smart one” who should have been president, who had been cheated by fate in 1994 when he was unexpectedly beaten in Florida while George scored his upset win over Ann Richards, putting him in line for the 2000 election when his fellow Republican governors were looking for one of their own to support. The perception that Jeb is smarter “has been out there forever,” Barbara Bush’s biographer told the New York Times recently, adding that Jeb was always expected to be running for president. Barbara described him as “serious,” whereas George had been “feisty,” like her.
While second son John Kennedy had been a political afterthought until the death of his brother, second son Jeb was the number one son in his family, and on paper at least the indications were present: Jeb was the Phi Beta Kappa who blazed through college in under three years while George was an average student at Yale; Jeb matured early while George worked through issues; George had the family verbal dyslexia, while Jeb did not.