Jeb Bush: ‘We should be the party of free thinking and free markets’

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Jeb Bush, writing in National Review Online, expands upon the Big Tent philosophy he hinted at in his recent comments about Ronald Reagan and his father likely finding difficulty relating to today’s Republican Party.

“[W]e must not layer onto our fundamental beliefs thick black lines of ideology,” writes Bush … “Those black lines can be comforting, I understand. … But they also restrict the way we think about problems, and make more difficult the kind of reform-minded free thinking that has defined the conservative movement for the last 50 years. Thick black lines of ideology are good at keeping people in, but they are also good at keeping people out. And our party can’t win if we keep people out. Our goal is not to assemble a small army of purists. We need a nation of converts.”

Comments like these have only fueled speculation that Bush is positioning himself to run for president – in 2016. According to this scenario, his breaking with the party on issues such as taxes is meant to stake out a platform that will move it back to the moderate center and away from more divisive social issues, while also seeking more common ground on issues such as education and immigration.

The best argument for doing that, of course, would be if Romney, running on more conservative positions, fails to unseat President Barack Obama this year.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.