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Leaning toward Jeb for 2012

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - November 23, 2010.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Noble Republicans

If, Matt Lewis writes, “his name were ‘Jeb Smith,’” Jeb Bush “would be the 2012 front-runner today” (via Glenn Reynolds).

This echoes something Fred Barnes quipped, “if he were Jeb Smith, we’d all be talking about him for president.”  Indeed, as I survey the potential contenders for 2012, Jeb leads the pack, with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Indiana’s chief executive Mitch Daniels also in the mix.  If it weren’t my concern (and that of many Americans) about establishing a political dynasty, I would have no qualms about backing the former Florida governor.

Jeb is a real fiscal conservative having, as Stephen Moore reminds us in the Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary (available by subscription), “regularly received an ‘A’ on the Cato fiscal report card on governors, which stands in contradistinction from his sibling’s shaky spending record.” Incoming Florida Senator and Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio is a protegé of the younger Bush.

Calling Jeb the “outstanding governor” of the decade, Michael Barone outlined that good man’s accomplishments:

Operating in a state where liberal newspapers, teachers’ unions, and trial lawyers maintained a continual barrage of criticism, Bush and the Republican legislature produced the nation’s best education reform and major changes in healthcare, while Bush himself proved masterful in handling hurricane relief. One reason for the federal government’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina was that the feds were used to dealing with Jeb Bush and Florida’s competent local officials; dealing with the hapless New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco was quite a different thing.

The Floridian could, as Peter Robinson put it  in 2008, “reunite the disparate elements in the GOP“.  I’d rather he weren’t the brother of one president and the son of another, but Jeb Bush established a remarkable record as governor of a large, swing state.  He has the temperament to lead and a record of policy reform and fiscal restraint.

Imagine him facing off in a debate against his brother’s successor.  If he had a different last name, he would be my first choice to lead the GOP ticket in 2012.  So maybe we should considere the man and his accomplishments, rather than his family background.

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23 Comments

  1. A realiity of politics is that the best qualified candidate doesn’t often succeed in the general elections. I doubt he could be nominated and further doubt if nominated, he could win. Why? Because as you pointed out, his name is Bush. George Bush Sr. can be proud of his sons’ character and achievements, but there’s little hope for Jeb to become president.

    Comment by man — November 23, 2010 @ 2:04 pm - November 23, 2010

  2. Plus his son is HAWT!

    while Bush himself proved masterful in handling hurricane relief.

    Indeed. The coast state Republican governors got to work while the libs looked for someone to blame.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 23, 2010 @ 2:11 pm - November 23, 2010

  3. Another year or two of Obama socialists and Gearge W Bush 43 could beat Obama much less Jeb, hehe.
    I’ve always said there wasn’t all that much special about the 535 people who populate our Congress. And I think there have to be tons of choices to be President as well. Obama has proven that we can’t elect someone with totally NO qualifications. Bu there have to be 50 Republicans who can bubble to the top.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — November 23, 2010 @ 2:28 pm - November 23, 2010

  4. Jeb’s son is totally hott. What’s his name? Pee I think for Patrick???

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — November 23, 2010 @ 2:29 pm - November 23, 2010

  5. Just give me the (real) fiscal conservative!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 23, 2010 @ 2:38 pm - November 23, 2010

  6. I officially endorse Bristol Palin.

    Anyone who can dance THAT good, deserves to be President.

    ;-)
    .

    Comment by gastorgrab — November 23, 2010 @ 3:16 pm - November 23, 2010

  7. There’s no way the Bushes are going to put up their current star candidate against Obama unless he’s going to win – and Obama’s re-election chances are still at least 50-50.

    Mitt Romney was the Bush token contribution last time. Maybe again?

    Comment by Catholic Boy — November 23, 2010 @ 3:42 pm - November 23, 2010

  8. Besides, Romney’s kids are cute too.

    Comment by Catholic Boy — November 23, 2010 @ 3:43 pm - November 23, 2010

  9. Romney is too slick. He’s a professional politician; I think he’s an opportunist, like Nixon. His father was a liberal governor of Michigan. Christie hasn’t indicated he’d run, but at present he seems the only one who really connects with people.

    Comment by man — November 23, 2010 @ 4:24 pm - November 23, 2010

  10. One word: RomneyCare.

    He needs to apologize for it.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 23, 2010 @ 4:26 pm - November 23, 2010

  11. It’s too early to be talking about 2012. When we’re in the middle of 2011, then I’ll talk about it.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — November 23, 2010 @ 4:50 pm - November 23, 2010

  12. I would sure work just as hard for JEB as I did for his brother

    Comment by PatriotMom — November 23, 2010 @ 4:57 pm - November 23, 2010

  13. Romney can’t “apologize” for RomneyCare…not after he pushed for it too hard. How would that go? “…I’m sorry, I was wrong”? He’s not my candidate…wasn’t in 2008 and won’t be in 2012. Jeb was a great governor in Florida…voted for him both times, but not sure he’s presidential material…VERY wonky, which works as a governor, but not so much as a President.

    Comment by Mary — November 23, 2010 @ 5:41 pm - November 23, 2010

  14. Christie hasn’t indicated he’d run, but at present he seems the only one who really connects with people.

    Unfortunately, he’s indicated pretty clearly that he WON’T run:

    [in May]““I have enough problems in New Jersey to deal with,” he said. “I was elected to be governor of New Jersey for the next four years. I will be governor of New Jersey for the next four years. And I have absolutely no interest in running for president of the United States. None. Zero interest. Zero. None. Close the door. No chance. No way. Under no circumstances. I don’t know any other way I could put it. No hope, don’t try to talk me into it, nothing. Forget it. I’m staying here.”

    [earlier this month:] Short of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running. I’m not running!” Christie told reporters in Trenton, the state capital.

    “I’ve said I don’t want to. I’m not going to. There is zero chance I will. I don’t feel like I’m ready to be president. I don’t want to run for president. I don’t have the fire in the belly to run for president. But, yet, everyone seems to think that I’ve left the door open a little bit,” he said Thursday in exasperation.

    But some pundits have suggested his speeches and other activities suggest he is interested in more than just governing New Jersey, and think he’s setting himself up as the number one choice for VP. Whether that’s wishful thinking or astute observation, only time will tell.

    Comment by American Elephant — November 23, 2010 @ 6:28 pm - November 23, 2010

  15. “Imagine him facing off in a debate against his brother’s successor.”

    Easily enough done:
    “Governor Bush, can you promise that you’ll do at least as well for this nation as your administration has done for Florida’s Health and Human Services Department?”
    \No more Bushes. No more country-club moderates. We’ve made that mistake enough times, it’s time we learned form it.

    Comment by Davep. — November 23, 2010 @ 7:04 pm - November 23, 2010

  16. I think people are really overthinking this Jeb Bush/Palin stuff.

    For as much as America “hates” GW and Sarah Palin and any GOP candidate who is “dumb” and “can’t talk” or whatever reason, they still elected GW to 8 years in office over liberals and still gave Repubs Congress for 12 straight years, only to give it away when they stopped being the conservatives they claimed to be, not because they suddenly all became leftists…

    There is a lot to play out, and his record, if made well known would shine far above any name. Also, isn’t Obama’s approval level now at 39% and Bush’s above that since his book came out? The aversion to GW felt in ’06 and ’08 will be long gone in the ADD minds of Americans in ’12, especially if the economy is still anywhere near the toilet it is now…

    Comment by Tim — November 23, 2010 @ 7:46 pm - November 23, 2010

  17. Another open-borders Bush? Not in a million years.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — November 23, 2010 @ 9:48 pm - November 23, 2010

  18. As long as I have a real CONSERVATIVE to vote for when the primaries finally get to the LAST 25 states—-unlike last time— I don’t care.

    I’m still pissed off that the last time, all we had was a bunch of ‘almost’ non-libs that were labeled moderats.

    Just to let any Rpublican bigwigs that might look……
    I WANT A REAL CONSERVATIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    Nor Huckabbe
    Not Romney
    NOT McCain

    How about a new guy (or gal) who bucks the system?

    Comment by Kurt P — November 23, 2010 @ 10:48 pm - November 23, 2010

  19. Another open-borders Bush? Not in a million years.

    He’s for stronger border security, not open-borders. However, he does oppose the AZ. law (for some reason) based on the whole “profiling” bullshit.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 23, 2010 @ 10:51 pm - November 23, 2010

  20. TGC, after the last President Bush and the whole “Virtual Fence” fiasco, merely being “for” border security (like being “for” world peace or “for” a balanced budget) isn’t going to be enough. Jeb has a track record of not wanting to do what’s necessary and of not approving or supporting those who do.

    Comment by Davep. — November 24, 2010 @ 1:48 am - November 24, 2010

  21. Or… Or… Here’s a thought… maybe in 2012 we could not nominate someone from the lucky sperm club who spent his entire life ensconced in wealth and privilege and doesn’t think of middle class Americans as peasants to be ruled over.

    How about that?

    Comment by V the K — November 24, 2010 @ 6:57 pm - November 24, 2010

  22. Christ…..out up another Bush? WTF is wrong with you people….. Stupid is as stupid does.. Left is right…right is left….. Crap……….

    Comment by left leaning lesbian — November 24, 2010 @ 11:12 pm - November 24, 2010

  23. lll, wish he weren’t a Bush, but his record as governor speaks for itself.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 25, 2010 @ 12:15 am - November 25, 2010

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