There may be higher profile Republicans, like U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Each one has the glow of a potential White House run.
But, as Frank Bruni argues in an op-ed this morning, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has what some of the biggest GOP names do not — enthusiastic support of some of the party’s biggest moneymen. They are all waiting for a hint from Bush on his 2016 presidential plans.
Today’s politics are long on enthusiasm but short in memory, according to Bruni. Bush has not fed either lately, especially with the mixed signals he sent earlier in the year about his position on a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally. That uncertainty gave some supporters pause.
The world had changed a lot since 2003, when Bush was re-elected to the governor’s office. He had not run for anything since.
On the other hand, Bush is a more effective salesman on the new direction and tone of the Republican Party, much more than Cruz, Paul and Christie. The 60-year-old Bush is also older than those potential 2016 candidates, as well as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.
Bush is attracting hard money supporters, simply by pushing a more moderate political path.
“We’ve lost our way,” he says.
For example, he raises the alarm that the GOP is becoming “the party of no,” and fears the party is becoming “anti-science.” Bush’s calling card has been always been a strong concentration on education through school choice.
Bush also wants Republicans to develop a “patriotic” energy policy, with an emphasis on domestic energy with oil and natural gas production. As a bilingual speaker — and as Bruni says, “bicultural” — he has a better chance with Hispanic voters. And swing voters looking for a supporter of gay marriage and abortion rights will find Bush an acceptable choice.
As the party looks to the White House for 2016, the “cooler temperature” of Jeb Bush could be the perfect alternative for a party that has developed the reputation as the “Party of Stupid or the Party of No,” and one that simply cannot remain the “Party of Perpetual Ire.”
“Bush isn’t great at irate,” Bruni writes.