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The Case for Jeb Bush for President in 2016

Potential Candidate has Many Strengths and Weaknesses


The Case for Jeb Bush for President in 2016
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

(Editor's note: This is not an endorsement. Leading up to the 2016 presidential nominating contests - which rest assured have already begun - all leading possible contenders will be analyzed from a conservative perspective. We will highlight the major benefits and pitfalls of all possible candidates.)

Is having the Bush surname an instant disqualification for President? While another Bush might not seem like a likely choice for 2016, the reality is that Jeb Bush is a serious contender if he chooses to seek the White House. And by all accounts, it looks like he is going to run. So, why might Jeb Bush be the answer for Republicans in 2016? On the upside, just think of all the money people can save by rehashing their Bush/Clinton 1992 gear.

Americans Love Dynasties

There is an undeniable truth in American politics: Americans love dynasties. It's not too surprising that the same names regularly pop up over and over and over. Being from the right family often guarantees a political future. The Kennedy family comes and goes in American politics as it pleases. Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner for the 2016 nomination despite a relatively unimpressive list of accomplishments: she was not a celebrated lawyer, Hillarycare almost derailed her husband's presidency, she had no accomplishment as a US Senator, and her time as Secretary of State saw the frightful rise of Russia and the still unanswered for Benghazi scandal. Not to mention constant chatter about Chelsea running for office. On the Bush side, Jeb's son George P. Bush is already running for statewide office in Texas and is expected to win easily. US Senators, Governors, and members of Congress often retire only to have their children take over afterward. People like familiarity, and the Bush name is both a familiar and strong one. And at this rate, the Bush Presidency could quite well be known as the good old days by the time 2016 hits. Eight years is a long time to get over Bush fatigue.

A Popular Governor of a Key State

George W. Bush used his success as Governor of one of the largest states - Texas - as the foundation for his successful run in 2000. Jeb Bush was an equally successful Governor of another superstate, Florida. Florida is one of the key swing states in every election, and the biggest super-state that is always up for grabs in the general election. It is also a state Republicans feels they must win in order to offset the electoral college votes that the Democrats are likely to win in California and New York. Jeb Bush has strong ties to the Hispanic community, a major voting block in Florida and other key states. His wife is Mexican-American, he is fluent in Spanish, and he has long been active in Hispanic issues and outreach. His record as Governor of one of the largest states in the union gives him plenty of ammunition in a run for the presidency.

Moderate-conservative Credentials

Jeb bush is conservative, but he is not a "tea party" conservative and has often showed his displeasure towards the movement. He is strongly pro-life and intervened in the Terri Schiavo case where parents sought to keep their daughter on life support. As governor, he also pushed for more fairness in affirmative action programs as he opposed race-based quotas that would promote unqualified minorities over others to meet number requirements. Jeb Bush is perhaps most well-known for his education initiatives, which receive mixed reviews. While he is admirably a proponent of school choice and a merit-based education system, he is also in favor of common core, a centralized "standards" program not popular with conservatives. As Governor, Bush was a strong advocate for gun rights, including stand your ground laws, while also favoring strong punishments for gun offenders. On illegal immigration, he's in favor of "comprehensive" reform and he has been generally supportive of Marco Rubio's effort.

Early 2016 Outlook

Polls have regularly placed Jeb Bush running close to the top contenders. This is quite the feat given he has been out of office and out of the spotlight for several years. Fellow Floridian and bush-protege Marco Rubio has seen his star fall dramatically. Given their closeness, it's possible Rubio will not run if bush does anyway. Would that give Florida to Jeb? As the first supert-state to vote during primary season, it could be a momentum booster. Bush will likely not be in contention for the grassroots conservative voters like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz would be. Instead, Bush's main competition would be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. If Bush runs and gets the support of Rubio, it may be enough to topple Christie for the moderate and casual Republican base. Of course, then they would have to contend with the grassroots conservatives. Bush has a shot at the nomination. He has a really good shot if neither Christie nor Rubio run.

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