Jeb! The VP candidate Democrats fear most

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Jonathan Martin offers a must-read this morning. Some excerpts:

“Bush … sought to shut down speculation with an email to Bloomberg’s Mark Silva, a former Florida reporter, writing, ‘I am not going to be the veep nominee. Lay that to rest.’ Interviews with about a dozen Bush associates say that … he truly doesn’t want to be on the ticket. The common euphemism among the Jeb crowd is that it’s just not his time, that the same factors that kept him out of the presidential primary make him unwilling to be the vice presidential nominee. … [I]t’s his wife and children he has in mind when he expresses reluctance about returning to politics. ‘I told him that he absolutely has to be among the top three for whoever the Republican nominee is … It would be a phenomenal ticket,’ said his eldest son, George P. Bush. ‘He said, “That may or may not be the case, but I’m not interested.”‘…

“[The former governor] has been emailing with senior Romney officials about how he can pitch in, and the campaign anticipates him offering a big lift as a surrogate and fundraiser. When Bush was in Boston recently, he made a point of stopping by Romney’s headquarters and greeting aides. … [During the primaries,] Bush grumbled to friends about Romney’s hardline position on immigration … When Bush did eventually throw his support to Romney, … the Floridian avoided such leaks by putting out his own statement without the sort of advance coordination with Boston that’s customary … He’s still yet to appear with the nominee … ‘Of course, if asked, he’d take it seriously,’ said Bush’s former chief of staff and informal adviser Sally Bradshaw. ‘But if he had wanted to be vice president, he would’ve run for president.’ …

“Bush is happy making a living via his consultancy and paid speeches and gets policy fulfillment through his education foundation and the literacy foundation he and his sister took over from their mother late last year. More important, his wife and daughter, both of whom shun the political spotlight, are content and Bush has little desire to upend that balance by exposing them to attention that would come with a national political campaign. ‘He’s now a nonpartisan voice of reform and is finally able to enjoy private family life with Columba and his new granddaughter,’ said a Bush family insider, alluding to Bush’s wife and Jeb Jr.’s infant. … ‘He’s not saying no to Mitt Romney, he’s saying no to a life he can’t embark upon right now,’ added longtime GOP ad man and Bush friend Alex Castellanos. …

J“Romney and Bush would offer two serious-minded, reform-oriented politicians, say their advocates. … George P. Bush, a Texas resident who’d himself like to run for office, said his father will continue to focus on education and keep pushing the party on immigration reform. ‘He’ll use the bully pulpit to maintain a focus on that,’ George P. said of immigration, bringing up without prompting Rubio’s new legislation that would offer citizenship to some children of illegal immigrants. ‘There’s a lot of work to be done. A lot was lost in terms of the favor [with Hispanics] we had gained.'”

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.