The political establishment was abuzz when Gov. Jeb Bush entered the 2016 presidential race, which was to be expected. He had instant front-runner status, and hoards of campaign cash quickly flowed his way, also as expected. Why, one may ask, all that attention for someone not overly charismatic, who doesn’t look good in a suit and doesn’t have a quick wit or glib line at his disposal? Why the early, presumed front-runner status and hoards of cash to a man who, increasingly as the weeks wear on, shows no great energy or urgency in how he conducts himself or his campaign?
The answer is simple; his last name is Bush. And therein lies the rub.
It is obvious from national polling, with outsiders Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson atop the Republican list, that the GOP’s voter base is not embracing business as usual. The genteel, establishment approach has worn thin. And no Republican represents that old-school, worn out approach more than Jeb Bush. He is also inextricably linked to George W. Bush (obliged to defend his older brother in an intra-party spat with Mr. Trump, which is even now an unnecessary distraction). That’s not a good thing in this election cycle, with America still embroiled in Middle-East chaos, and a new direction so desperately sought.
Jeb is on record defending his brother. Should he become the Republican nominee, the liberal media (a.k.a. ‘mainstream media’), along with the Democrat party, will link him to George W’s record. Their assault will be severe, withering and dispiriting. Jeb will be stuck in that quagmire, wasting time and resources defending his brother and himself.
Most any other Republican would find it easier to stay on the offensive, taking the argument to Democrats and their liberal media allies, running enthusiastically against the failed policies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and focusing on the nation’s desire for a better future.
His name is Bush, a double-edged sword. And there’s the rub.