Josh Greene beats the Jeb drum just a little harder today:
But there are a number of reasons to suspect that it wouldn’t hold. For one thing, no obvious frontrunner has emerged nor seems likely to. “There are a dozen people who would be fine candidates,’’ Norquist said. “There’s not one who stands head and shoulders above the others.’’
Another way of putting it is that each of the leading candidates is somehow flawed. Romney has money, but the GOP base will always distrust someone who vowed that abortion should be “safe and legal’’ and signed a health care law that became a model for President Obama’s. Palin commands legions of supporters, yet many in her party regard her as dangerously unqualified. Mike Huckabee scares economic conservatives. Haley Barbour appeals mainly to the Deep South. The list goes on.
Bush, on the other hand, has a solid conservative record that wasn’t amassed in Washington and broad appeal in a critical state; for a party conspicuously lacking a positive agenda, he’s also known as an ideas guy. Bush hasn’t followed the Tea Partiers to the political fringes — he opposed Arizona’s racial profiling law, for instance — but neither has he ignored them. On Monday, he’ll appear at a Kentucky fundraiser for Tea Party favorite and GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul.
But what about his big obstacle — the name? It’s often asserted that Bush could never overcome the burden. But there’s clear evidence that voters distinguish between George W. Bush and his family members. In a 2008 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, 35 percent of voters held a favorable opinion of George W., versus 65 percent who viewed him unfavorably. Those numbers reversed for his father: 57 percent viewed him favorably and just 34 percent unfavorably.
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