Yesterday and today, the conservatives blogosphere has been abuzz about an op-ed a successful former governor of a large swing state penned in the Wall Street Journal. In the Washington Examiner, noting Republican “unhappiness” with presidential field, Byron York wrote that “there is new speculation focusing on [Jeb] Bush after the former Florida governor turned heads [with his] a campaign-like economic manifesto headlined ‘Capitalism and the Right to Rise.’”
Rush Limbaugh, York reports, loved the piece, quipping that he could have written it himself.
Although Jeb Bush e-mailed Karl Rove saying that he’s not running, Jim Geraghty writes that “among those who thought it was too late for anybody to jump in, but . . . boy, what made Jeb Bush decide to write an op-ed like that for the Journal? He has to know that lots of people will interpret that as a trial balloon for a presidential bid . . .”
Rush is right to praise the editorial. It’s a nice succinct case for capitalism. Jeb understands rights. He understands freedom:
We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn’t seem like something we should have to protect.
But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.
That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.
But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself.
Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations.
And he’s just warming up. He asks if we’ve “lost faith in the free-market system of entrepreneurial capitalism” and faults those in Washington from going in the opposite direction of simplifying and streamlining rule-making. He even uses the term “statist”: “we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom.”
Despite the excellence of the editorial, York believe that “that speculation about a Jeb Bush run is more an indication of anxiety in some quarters of the Republican party than it is about a possible Bush candidacy.”
That said, we could use a guy in the White House who writes an editorial like this in times these these. And with a record like Jeb’s. All I can say is, “Run, Jeb, Run.”
UPDATE: Linking the York piece, Glenn quips, “Hey, the ‘Bush brand’ is looking a lot better in 2011 than it did in 2008. . . .”