Is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush looking into running for president in 2016? Does a goose go barefoot?
Via Kyle Munzenrieder at the Miami New Times Riptide blog:
Jeb Bush spent most of the past four years denying that he would run for president …in 2012. He literally never missed an opportunity to tell anyone who would listen in no uncertain terms that he would not be running, but when asked about 2016 he seems to have a change of tone. He told National Review this morning that he was meeting with a bunch of former staffers and consultants just steps from the White House and didn’t directly deny he’s mulling the idea of a 2016 run.
According to NRO, Bush assembled a bunch trusted former staffer at the J.W. Marriot Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a short walk from the former home of his dad and brother.
Not only do I think it’s likely that he’ll run, I agree with BooMan: he could be a real contender.
It’s obviously not helpful to share a name with two former presidents, neither of whom who are remembered fondly. But the truth is that W. was an anomaly in the family. His father was an extraordinarily shady man with deep ties into the worst elements of our intelligence community. But he was also a competent president who ably managed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the crumbling of the Soviet Union. He was not a movement conservative or a neo-conservative or a paleoconservative. Of all the Republican presidents since Eisenhower, Poppy is the only one I would trust with our national security. That doesn’t mean I would like his foreign policy, but I’d trust that he wouldn’t get us all killed. The closest facsimile to Poppy is Jeb. He’s literally the only person on the right who could plausibly be a commander in chief in four years.
I would expect the base of the party to be very resistant to nominating Jeb, but they were very reluctant to nominate McCain and Romney, too. You can’t beat something with nothing. And if Jeb Bush has no stronger competition than Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum, he’s a shoo-in to win the nomination.
Even in the eyes of Democrats here in Florida, Jeb Bush was not a disaster as governor. He was able to work with Democrats in the legislature when they still had some clout in Tallahassee. That could be a problem for the Tea Party; they’re on the record as not being wild about former governors that are willing to work across the aisle (see Romney, Mitt). And of course there’s also the other rising star from Florida who would love nothing better than to make his move in 2016. As Kyle notes, “Somewhere Marco Rubio is fidgeting nervously.”
Is it too early to cue up the Hillary machine?