Jeb Bush expected to speak on immigration, education at Mackinac Conference this week

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Jeb Bush will deliver a keynote address to the Mackinac Policy Conference on Wednesday afternoon, providing his signature candid take on a range of issues including education, immigration reform, and the political and cultural changes needed to strengthen the country’s leadership.

The annual Conference, organized by the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce, brings together more than 1,500 attendees including Michigan’s top business professionals, government leaders, and CEOs. This year the conference will focus on national experts and innovative change-makers– making Bush’s headline spot an appropriate fit.

Bush will be interviewed by Daniel Howes, business columnist and associate business editor for The Detroit News, and will follow an introductory address by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Snyder is considered a kindred spirit to Bush in that the two have a love of policy that exceeds politics.  Bush has only increased his reputation as a policy wonk and substantive issue driver since leaving the Florida’s governor’s office in 2006; and has gained attention for his willingness to deliver strong medicine to fellow conservatives in the process.

At this year’s Conservative Political Action Committee dinner, Bush told the crowd that the GOP “must move beyond the divisive and extraneous issues that currently define the public debate,” and specifically, that the GOP is too often considered “anti-everything”.

“Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on,” Bush said. “Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates even though they share our core beliefs because those voters feel unwanted, unloved and unwelcome in our party.”

The question of whether Bush is gearing up for a national run is not lost on anyone, including Todd Spangler who authored a Saturday column on Bush’s Mackinac appearance.

To University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus, the consensus is that Bush will “do what he thinks is best for the party to win back the White House” even if that means sitting out as he has done before.

While his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush feels that Jeb is “by far the best qualified man,” she isn’t convinced he should run, saying, “It’s a great country, there are a lot of great families… We’ve had enough Bushes.”

Indeed, Jeb’s last name may be the only thing holding him back.

According to Dan Pero, former campaign manager and chief of staff to former Gov. John Engler, “If people gave him his own, if they judged him on his own merits, he’d be a slam dunk, and he should be because he’s that good.”

Via SaintPetersBlog contributor Karen Cyphers.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.