Saturday, February 15, 2014

Is Jeb the Man?

The Republican Establishment would think so! In fact, a monumental sigh of relief, especially from Eastern banking interests, would be figuratively audible in Maui!

With Chris Christie's implosion, a giant void has opened. GOP alternatives, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are visiting early primary states. A revolt with the party base is brewing.

Will Jeb Bush run in 2016? Thus far, he isn't saying yes. But, he isn't saying no. It will come down to if the decision creates "joy" in his heart and if it's in "best interest" of his family. The former Florida Governor has promised to "think about it hard," later into the year.

The official Democrat line is echoed by the mainstream media. "The nation is "O.D.'d" on Bushes." Yet, in private circles, party leaders have acknowledged that even Hillary would have difficulty beating Bush in his home state. From there, an electoral problem unfolds.

John Ellis Bush is neither his father or brother. In fact, his career path is quite different. The holder of a B.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, Jeb went one step further in marrying Columba Garnica Gallo, a native of Leon, Mexico. Raised a Methodist, he converted to Roman Catholism.

While securing a noteworthy record of public service, including a successful two-term Governship, most of Jeb's adult life has been spent in the private sector. This includes but is not limited to, deep experience in International Trade and Finance.

As Governor he scored points with Environmentalists with his opposition to off shore drilling. His record on healthcare is impressive. His support and facilitation of Charter schools in Florida drew applause from both Republicans and Democrats.

Democrats recall that the issue of Charter schools split their constituency. Hillary Clinton, at the urging of the teachers union, voiced opposition. Barack Obama supported the concept. Insiders, including David Axelrod believe that this may have been the issue that ultimately swung the nomination to Obama. Worse still for Hillary, Jeb Bush was both a supporter and pioneer of Charter schools. Their success in the Sunshine state has been decisive.

Democrats are gravely concerned with Jeb Bush's history of Hispanic support. In 2003, Bush was returned to the Governor's mansion with 56% of non-Cuban Hispanic support and better than 80% of the Cuban votes. That could spell big trouble in states like Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado! Even, dare we say, California?

The recently introduced Republican alternative to Obamacare, seems "tailor made" for Jeb Bush. As 2014 unfolds, Republicans envision a meltdown in Democrat ranks, to the extent of total abandonment of the President's signature accomplishment. The opportunity will be perfect for Bush to pick up the pieces, and with it, bi-partisan support for Obamacare's "replacement."

Bush's business credentials likewise make him the most creditable of voices in support of repealing Dodd-Frank. This too, is on the top of Republicans' wish list.

In essence, "what more" could Republicans want in a 2016 nominee than Jeb Bush? The Establishment would be thrilled with his selection. The base would see him as "better than" Romney, McCain or Christie. The Tea Party might not be overjoyed! But, if it came down to a choice between Hillary or staying home, they would pull the lever for Jeb!

In short, we are talking about a unified Republican party! Could anything be more perfect? Or, are we forgetting something? Such as the fact that more Americans today are Independents than either Republicans or Democrats?

There is a growing call for the end of an increasingly intrusive federal government. While decidedly more conservative than Hillary Clinton, critics recall Jeb Bush's support of Common Core. Constitutional conservatives consider this program nothing short of "more big government."

As President, there is little doubt that Jeb Bush's court appointments would be more conservative than Hillary's. But, what would Jeb's position be on "downsizing" the Washington bureaucracy. Would he take the 10th amendment seriously? Or, would he give it lip service? Would he commit to "reducing the size, scope and cost" of the federal government? Would he bring public sector pay and benefits in line with the Americans they serve?

What about Independents? What about the 20% who were referenced in the June 2011, National Review article, "Dangerous Dissaffecteds." Hillary will be promising handouts. But these Americans want jobs, serious jobs with benefits! Ten-dollar per hour jobs aren't what they have in mind! And, least we forget, "Dissafecteds" don't trust government and are disgusted with both parties!

These are the behind the scene questions that will be leveled at Jeb Bush. While his name bears no malignancy with Republicans and likely few Americans, there is concern of his father's and brother's "Neo-con," legasy. Will Jeb follow suit? Good question.

Constitutional conservatives see a stark difference in their brand of conservativism and the "Neo-Con" version. Jeb's support for Common core lends insight into his position on other issues. Rather than return to a more 10th amendment focused America, Jeb might be satisfied with slightly modifying the status quot. His brother's watch included almost as much growth in government as Obama's. Bush the Elder was a great American Patriot. But, he was also a devout Keynesian, and a member of the Tri-Lateral Commission.

Jeb Bush would be hard to beat in a Republican primary. His father was seen as "hard to beat" in the 1980 Republican primary. Little would we have known that a former actor might take the honor.

Which brings us to the inevitable question: "Is Jeb the man?"

For the party establishment, "definitely!"

For the party base, "probably."

For the Conservative movement, "marginally."

For the Tea Party, "unfortunately."

For real reform in the federal government, it's size, scope and cost? "Unlikely."

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