Riffing on a National Review cover story touting the credentials of Jeb Bush, Rich Lowry
explains why the brother of the ex-decider needs to run for office--specifically, in
2012. The reasons he lists (eight, in total) assess Jeb's timing ("2016
is too late"), competition (Jeb vs. a "beatable incumbent president with
a wide-open field"), and strategy (he's "different" from his father and
brother, will be "taken on his own terms"). Lowry's reasoning has
generated plenty of debate and skepticism
, and most pundits have zeroed in on the elephant in the room for a Jeb candidacy: what should he do about W?
- Must Address Concerns About His Brother 'Head-On' blogs The Economist's
E.G., who suspects that Jeb may have to give an Obama-style speech
about George W. if he were to run successfully: "We could really use a
public reckoning from the Bushes about their role in American life.
Neither of the Georges is much given to candour, H.W. because of his
WASP-y reserve and W. because he's not a pontificator. This job would
fall to Jeb. Not to be overly glib, but it might be the equivalent of
Barack Obama's campaign speech on race. A painful but important
discussion that could help us along the path to national healing."
- If He's Waiting To Rehabilitate the Bush Name, Why Is 2016 Too Late? Alana Goodman at Commentary magazine gives an additional reason why Jeb Bush needs to run in 2012: "Without a
position in public office, Jeb will have a hard time keeping himself on
the national radar. Even if he’s unable to win the 2012 nomination, he
can still maintain some prominence while giving voters a chance to
become familiar with him and his issues. Then, if Obama wins
re-election, Jeb will be in a prime position to run again four years
- 'Problem Isn't the Name, It's Loyalty To His Brother' writes John Tabin
at the American Spectator about the nascent "Draft Jeb" movement: "He
pointedly and explicitly declined to criticize anything about the George
W. Bush presidency in that NRI speech. 'Compassionate conservatism' is
decidely out of fashion these days; Republican primary voters are going
to want to hear candidates distance themselves from the fiscal
profligacy of the Bush years. It's not clear that Jeb Bush would be
willing to do that."
- Candidacy Shouldn't Be Dismissed, But It's a 'Tough Sell,' figures Washington Monthly's Steve Benen,
who suspects "we'll soon see a 'Run, Jeb, Run' boomlet." But after
noting that Jeb does "bring quite a bit to the table," he concludes that
"the unmitigated trainwreck of George W. Bush's presidency hasn't been
forgotten that quickly--the stench of failure surrounding that name
won't fade too quickly-- nd while Jeb's style is distinct from his
brother's, I suspect a fairly significant chunk of the population would
respond to another Bush candidacy by asking, 'Hasn't that family done
enough damage already?'"
- Honestly: Is the Country Ready For President Bush, Part III? wonders Jay Bookman
at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Personally, I think the Bush
boomlet says as much about the current crop of GOP candidates as about
Jeb himself," Bookman writes. "The truth is, Jeb Bush by any other name
would probably be a major contender both for the nomination and the
presidency. But unfortunately, for him and perhaps the country, fate
cast him as Esau to his little brother’s Jacob."
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