It is amazing that in 2015 a Republican presidential candidate – one who really has a shot – can hold the kind of positions Jeb does. There’s a reason why Chris Matthews and the New York Times like Bush so much.
Perhaps the Beltway Republicans don’t really understand how much more inclined toward real live small government the average GOP voter has become. It’s like the consultants are living in 1999 or something.
These same folks also think that if they can squeak Bush by the (what they perceive as) nutbars in the primaries, he will be embraced in a general election.
But this calculus may not be correct.
Bush could very likely lose in a general election because a solid contingent of GOP voters stays away from the polls when presented with what some would consider a big government Republican. (Or possibly even vote 3rd party in large enough numbers to make a difference.) Even if it means electing a Dem. The libertarian/conservative coalition has pretty much had all it can take after McCain and Romney.
And now another Bush? That’s a hard one for the coalition to swallow.
Plus there is a sense, among at least some, that in the wake of a disappointing Obama presidency there is a large group of people whose votes are up for grabs which weren’t in other elections. Kind of like the Reagan Democrats of 1980. Bush may not appeal to this group as much as a Republican candidate needs to.
But perhaps he will. Perhaps Bush’s moderate credentials will resonate with middle America.
Megyn Kelly interviewed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on her program Monday night. For a spectacularly awful 30 minutes, the Republican presidential nominee proceeded to defend virtually every non-libertarian position a GOP candidate could conceivably hold.
Most notably, he expressed vociferous support for his brother’s Iraq War—not just in its original context, but even with the benefit of hindsight. He also defended Common Core, the controversial national education standards for math and English, because American children are falling behind their international competitors and our schools need standards—even though those standards are being imposed on the states via federal pressure and are loathed by adherents of every ideology, from Tea Party activists to teachers unions.