Skip to comments.Jeb! (Why Jeb Bush Would Make an Excellent Presidential Candidate in 2008)
Posted on 01/18/2005 7:14:15 AM PST by governsleastgovernsbest
by Matt Towery
January 18, 2005
In last week's column, it was Newt Gingrich for president in 2008. This week brings us to consideration of another name that deserves serious consideration -- a name that now may be viewed as just as much a long shot as Gingrich, although for different reasons.
That name is Jeb Bush. He says, emphatically, he will not run. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't.
First, a bit of follow-up. I met with Newt Gingrich late last week. He continued to stick to his story that he's really just pushing the fresh policy ideas in his new book. Even so, it was clear that he is preparing to enter the next and most amazing stage of his meteoric public career. Let's put it this way: Don't be shocked to see him vacationing in New Hampshire and signing lots of books in Iowa.
Gingrich is the textbook case of a potential presidential contender whom the politically naive may discount as a candidate because they think he can't restyle his old image. They're wrong. Now let's consider another potential Republican candidate who pundits incorrectly believe could never win because of the simple fact of his family ties. That man is Gov. Bush.
Many so-called political experts are often way off when it comes to deciding this far out who can win the White House. They would have us believe a Jeb Bush candidacy in 2008 would be doomed supposedly because Americans would never elect three presidents from the same family. How interesting. Had the late Robert Kennedy lived and been elected president in 1968, there is little doubt that, in good time, brother Teddy would have seemed the next popular choice for Democrats entranced by the Kennedy mystique.
In the case of Gov. Bush, there is substance behind the notion that he could -- even should -- be elected to succeed George W. Bush. With all deference to Jeb's dad, George H.W. Bush -- whom I passionately supported in '88 and in '92 -- and to his brother, the current president, it's long been my contention that Jeb is the most articulate and the most natural political leader hanging on the family tree.
Moreover, our InsiderAdvantage surveys in Florida have consistently shown Bush to have strong approval ratings. The most recent of these surveys found him well above 60 percent approval. That's no mean feat in this divided and tumultuous political era. Some of his popularity may be attributed to his household last name. But in a state as politically diverse as Florida, there's got to be more to it. Could it be because he's been a great governor? Not just good, or even very good. Great. Here are some reasons why:
Consider that Florida doesn't have the fiscal luxury of a state income tax. Now realize the impact that 9/11 had on the state's No. 1 industry, tourism, and its ability to generate state revenue through sales and other taxes.
Now imagine meeting the diverse needs of a huge state with a large senior population and a multitude of urban areas, which bring with them many of the social and other problems attendant to tough life in the city.
Somehow through all this, Jeb Bush has managed to steer his state through rocky financial times, instilling a confidence that Florida can face up to virtually any challenge.
Bush accomplished this in part by embracing the Reagan economic philosophy. Florida eliminated some $6 billion dollars in taxes on businesses and those who invest in the state's economy. The result is a rebounding jobs market that is back to pre-9/11 levels, and boosted by a continuing expansion in economic sectors like construction and development. In fact, Wall Street has just upgraded Florida's credit rating for the first time in 30 years.
Second, Gov. Bush deep-sixed the good-ole-boy system of state government, a relic of Florida's old days of system-abusing, "hail-fellow-well-met" Democrats. He passed legislation that transformed Florida's civil service system into one that is merit-based, not tenure-controlled. Many positions in state government that were once private political fiefdoms are now accountable to the state's chief executive. That includes Florida's head of public education, once elected, now appointed by the governor. Bush even dispensed with the Board of Regents -- almost universally a private little kingdom with too many kings -- instead of allowing state universities to continue serving as their own governing bodies.
And speaking of education: Bush has spearheaded the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT), which has set real standards for public schools. The governor has held those schools accountable for their test results. It was controversial with the state's teachers union, but it has proven the catalyst for real improvement in public schools.
Now throw this in the mix: While some Republican leaders talk about privatization of government services, Bush has set in motion a whirlwind series of initiatives to privatize everything from prisons to mental health facilities. Jeb Bush is a true conservative with a progressive bent.
All of the above said, it now looks like Bush wants his name taken out of consideration for the presidency in 2008. But just as the concept of Newt making a big comeback isn't so far-fetched, a Jeb Bush run makes equally good sense. In the end, both men must make their own decisions. But it's great to see the GOP with leaders who are bright, widely known and able to turn rhetoric into government policy -- leaders capable of, well, leading.
©2005 Creators Syndicate
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Though I'm certainly keeping an open mind at this early stage, Jeb is my choice heading into 2008.
He might be the best choice but I don't think it matters. I don't see it happening.
P.S. -- Jeb has already stated that he's not gonna run. Try recruiting Santorum.
No thank you. With one exception (1964), there's been a Nixon, a Dole, or a Bush on every national ticket since 1952. It's time for somebody else to have a chance. I will not be voting for a Bush in 2008.
I think he makes a good point about RFK and Ted Kennedy. Few seemed to think it was a problem then.
Let's remember: if enough Republicans think he'd be the best choice, he'll be the nominee. We'll worry about the Dems later. Who would be likely to beat Jeb in a primary? Senator Excitement Bill Frist? Mayor Abortion Rights Rudy Giuliani? Speaker do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do Newt?
In a respectful word, no. The game and the reality of politics is never-ending. It is natural, and even necessary, for us continually to look to the future. Besides, it's fun!
Agreed. Given that President GW Bush is his brother, it would be just a bit rude for Jeb to be openly discussing a bid for the nomination in '08.
John Ellis "Jeb" Bush
Governor of Florida
Tallahassee, Fl. 32399
Birthdate: February 11, 1953
Family: Married, three children
Elected: November 1998, re-elected November 2002
Term Expires: January 2007
JEB BUSH was born in Midland, Texas. After first arriving in Florida, he helped start a real estate development company that today is one of the largest, full-service commercial real estate companies in South Florida. In 1987-88, he served as Florida's Secretary of Commerce and promoted Florida's business climate worldwide.
Following an unsuccessful bid in 1994 for the Governor's Office, Governor Bush founded the Foundation for Florida's Future, a not-for-profit organization to influence public policy at the grassroots level. As chairman of the foundation, he co-founded the state's first charter school - Liberty City Charter School - with the Urban League of Greater Miami.
He was elected Florida's 43rd Governor in 1998 and re-elected in 2002, becoming the first Republican to be re-elected Governor in the state's history. Since taking office, his top priority has been creating a world-class educational system through high standards and increased accountability. To achieve this goal, he has provided a record four-year increase of $2.9 billion (26 percent increase) in K-12 funding. He believes passionately that all children should learn a year's worth of knowledge in a year's worth of time.
Governor Bush also boosted the state's reserve funds while reducing the state's tax burden to its lowest level in a decade. He has focused the state's resources toward protecting Florida's natural environment with an historic $2-billion commitment to saving Florida's Everglades. He has also increased health insurance coverage for needy children and provided unprecedented levels of funding and services to the elderly and the developmentally disabled.
By taking advantage of online technology such as the state's web portal, www.myflorida.com, and thanks to outreach programs like his monthly "Open Office Hours" around Florida, Governor Bush continues to be the most accessible Governor in the state's history, providing all Floridians with greater opportunities to directly participate and communicate with their government and elected officials.
I can understand the point of view, but as I've watched Jeb speak over the last months, it dawned on me - this guy is really good. Do you have a particular favorite, or is it more of an anyone-but-a-Bush sentiment?
Jeb took himself out as Presidential candidate, but nobody said he cant be a Veep pick ... he's ideal in the VP slot, as he locks down a key swing state and solidifies many groups...
Gov Bill Owens is best pick for President.
so I take it you wouldn't push an Eliz Dole/Jeb ticket in '08?
This mental masturbation may be fun, but for all the activity, nothing is produced.
I bump that!
I would vote for Jeb!!!!
I would love it, just drive the liberals completely off the deep end until they leave the country finally like they keep saying. Just have a Bush every election year until Michael Moore is catatonic in a fetal position under a table.
"In a respectful word, no. The game and the reality of politics is never-ending. It is natural, and even necessary, for us continually to look to the future. Besides, it's fun!"
i agree totally. Especially since we have no obvious choice on our side and the Ds probably have an obvious choice. Never mind that everyone here says she can't win....probably not, but we are gonna have to fight hard to make sure that that prophecy is fulfilled.
I like the guy and think he would be a good president, but I don't think the American people would go for the true dynasty of three Bush's in thirty years in my opinion.
Not sure I understand the point about picking someone who wasn't an incumbent. Guess I'd say, when was the last time since Ike that a non-incumbent, or at least a former high-ranking incumbent (Nixon in 1968) was elected?
Knock yourself out.
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