Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jeb! 2010

Not even a week into the new year and already one of my predictions has gone south, so to speak.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will not run for the open Senate seat of Sen. Mel Martinez, he announced in a statement […].

“After thoughtful consideration, I have decided not to run for the United States Senate in 2010,” said Bush. “While the opportunity to serve my state and country during these turbulent and dynamic times is compelling, now is not the right time to return to elected office.”

Bush’s decision robs Republicans of a top-tier recruit who would have immediately been favored to hold Martinez’s seat. Without Bush in the race, Republicans are almost certain to play host to a crowded and competitive primary.

This is just wild guessing on my part and I’m sure the more astute and connected bloggers in Florida (I’m looking at you, Kenneth Quinnell) will have a better insight, but I wonder if some of the more egocentric members of the Florida legislature are planning a run, like, oh, say, former House Speaker Marco Rubio, or the perpetual candidate Bill McCollum, who did several terms in Congress (and was always good for a sanctimonious soundbite during President Clinton’s impeachment, which he helped manage), or some other names that are on the perennial list. I’m sure some people are thinking that Charlie Crist could make a formidable candidate, what with his decent approval ratings and his fifteen minutes of national face during the presidential campaign when his name was on the short list for John McCain’s vice president. (And his marriage in December removes that question; not that there’s anything wrong with it.) But I think that Mr. Crist is probably happy to be doing what he’s doing, and besides, if he dropped out of the governor’s race to run for the Senate, there’d be that slot to fill.

Anyway, I’m glad Jeb decided to bow out; I love a good horserace, and even if he’s doing it to concentrate on a possible presidential run in ’12 or ’16, I’m ready to re-write my year-end prediction and say that Jeb Bush will spend the foreseeable future as just another one of those guys I used to see at the Starbuck’s on the corner of Miracle Mile and Ponce de Leon in Coral Gables.