If Mel Brooks had made The Godfather, it would have had Fredo as the heir to Don Corleone. Hilarity would have ensued as the clueless mobster ran the Mafia into the ground while younger brother Michael, the one with the smarts, had to wait his turn until it was too late and he was sent off to run a string of brothels in rural Wyoming. Well, that’s basically what happened to the Bush family. After Poppy Bush had his turn in the White House, it was supposed to be Jeb Bush, the younger but smarter one, who would get the nod after his successful run as governor of Florida. But instead, it went to George W., who makes Fredo Corleone seem like Warren Buffett, and now the Bush name — even among Republicans — is toxic.
Well, not all Republicans. Rich Lowry at National Review sees hope on the horizon that Jeb could restore the family honor.
Four years after leaving the Florida governor’s mansion, he remains one of the most impressive Republican politicians in the country, a formidable policy mind with the political chops to drive conservative reforms even out of office. So why isn’t he running for president? Bush told Miller what he’s said to others, too — he won’t run in 2012, but he’ll consider 2016. This is a mistake. Bush should run now…
Mr. Lowry maintains that by 2012, the Bush reputation will have been “rehabilitated,” which tells you right off that if Mr. Lowry was true to his core, the Bush reputation wouldn’t need to be rehabbed; wasn’t George W. Bush the Greatest President of the 21st Century?
To be fair to Jeb, he is, as Mr. Lowry notes, “different” from his brother; again, an admission that George W. was a disaster. If Jeb were to run, he would have to spend a great deal of time explaining how he isn’t his brother — or why he doesn’t have a hokey fake Texas accent. He’ll also have to contend with a flock of candidates swooping in from the right wing who will not let him off the hook for being a candidate who, as governor, was considered a moderate. There’s no place in the party for a candidate who can’t demonize his opponents with word salads on Facebook.
That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeb at least made a try for the nomination. But I also suspect that most of the country would recoil in horror at seeing yet another Bush running for office. As Steve Benen says, “Hasn’t that family done enough damage already?”