How Does Jeb Bush Measure Up in the Family Business?
Perhaps because the current political atmosphere is so discouraging, more and more discussion is revolving around the 2016 presidential election and which politicians might jump at candidacy. The Democrat causing the most buzz at present is Hillary Clinton. Republicans, on the other hand, have a number of faces jutting forward as possibilities.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is a strong option for GOP conservatives, but might lack a wide enough net to pull in the independent vote. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie fared relatively well in polls earlier this year, even after scandal put him on unsteady footing, but he may present a liability if investigations into Bridgegate aren’t neatly resolved. Then, of course, there’s Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who still needs to build a strong support network after a difficult end to 2013 during the government shutdown.
This brings us to the former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who announced via Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday:
I am excited to announce I will actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States: https://t.co/luY4lCF2cA.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) December 16, 2014
J. Bush would have a difficult race in front of him should he chose to announce his candidacy. On the one hand, he has the advantage of name recognition in the bag; with both a father and brother having held the office, he’d likely share many supporters. On the other hand, he’d also likely face a great deal of the animosity many still feel toward George W. Bush, not to mention the very real and legitimate concern that a nation which elects three presidents from the same family may be more of an oligarchy than a democracy.
Another Bush in the Running?
Former President George W. Bush spoke on the possibility of Jeb running in early October. “He understands what it’s like to be president for not only the person running or serving, plus family. He’s seen his dad, he’s seen his brother,” said Bush Jr., according to Politico. “I think he wants to be president. I think [he would] be a great president.” While W. Bush said he’s spoken with his younger brother about the possibility, he says a decision has yet to be made.
“I truly don’t think he has [made up his mind], and plus I don’t think he liked it that his older brother was pushing him.” Some families encourage each other to attend the same university, others to try a new diet, or attend a new church. Very few can say they’re being pressured to follow in the presidential footsteps of their father and brother.
Comparing Bushes to Hedges to Shrubbery
Since it’s an inevitable eventuality, let’s take a moment to examine a lineup of the Bush’s political ideology. Both former presidents spent a great deal of their presidencies focused on foreign affairs in the Middle East and abroad, but ultimately suffering economically at home and leaving office on a sour note with unemployment and the market. For his part, J. Bush has been critical of President Barack Obama’s more cautious approach to international concerns, saying that, “Leading from behind is so odd to me” in reference to Obama’s overseas policy, according to The New York Times.
Much like his brother and father, J. Bush is a tried and true Republican, but like his father, he isn’t afraid to disagree with his party in a pinch. For his father, it was taxes during his first term, an issue that put him at odds with fellow Republicans. Jeb may take it a step further, though. “I’m not being critical of my party, but campaigns themselves are reflective of this new America,” he said according to The NYT. “I do think we’ve lost our way.”
In particular, he’s butted heads over the Common Core, not to mention the fact that he’s cautioned against extreme views on immigration with the type of rhetoric that could alienate some hard liners in his party. In an interview earlier this year, he called illegal immigrants’ search for a better financial and social future “an act of love,” saying that, “It shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to provide for their families,” according to The NYT. He’s also argued that immigration reform is an important economic policy in a way quite divergent from many in his party.
“Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans. Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity,” he said, according to The Washington Post. In this sense, the younger Bush is highly reminicent of his older brother. George W. Bush may not have been supportive of amnesty during his time in office, but he was always careful to acknowledge the important role immigrants played in the U.S. economy.
“We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy, even though this economy could not function without them. All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction, toward a stagnant and second-rate economy,” he said during his 2006 State of the Union Address. Even after his time in office, he spoke out to encourage Republicans in Congress to pass immigration reform with a “benevolent spirit in mind.”
Ultimately, if J. Bush does chose to run for office, he’ll face a lot of comparisons beyond immigration and his outlook on education and “leading from behind” internationally. In particular, his economic policy will be vital, especially given the less-than-ideal conditions his fellow Bush family members left in their wake.
More from Politics Cheat Sheet:
- If America Is Going Independent, Is Ted Cruz a Smart Choice for 2016?
- An American Trend: Political Dynasties From Bush to Kennedy
- The Left Wants Another Clinton, But Is the GOP Ready for a Third Bush?
Follow Anthea Mitchell on Twitter @AntheaWSCS