Looking ahead to the 2016 election, Al Cardenas, the former chairman of the Republican Party in Florida, sees Jeb Bush as an ideal candidate.
Few in the political world know Bush as well as Cardenas, who just became chairman of the American Conservative Union. Since the early 1980s, Bush and Cardenas have been close personal friends.
As Florida governor, Bush asked Cardenas to head the Republican Party of Florida. They worked together in the trenches to win a Republican majority in the legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.
“Jeb Bush is the policy wonk of the family,” Cardenas says. “He is very intense when it comes to policy reform. He’s obsessed about implementation of ideas that will make a difference, and one of the reasons I think he’s in everybody’s conversation when it comes to the coming election in 2012 is because of precisely that.
"He’s the only one talking reform without a political agenda, and that puts him in a very enviable place in conservative circles.”
In fact, Cardenas says, “The more he pursues reform outside of office and shuns the political limelight, the more he rises, it seems, among the serious thinkers within the party and within the movement.”
Cardenas, who was born in Havana and came to this country with his parents at the age of 12, says, “I know for a fact he’s not running for president or the U.S. Senate this cycle.”
However, Cardenas says, “If I were nominating a presidential candidate of the Republican Party, and I were looking at Florida as a state that Republicans need to win, and if I were looking at somebody to carry the banner into the Hispanic community between Florida and the Hispanic community in states like Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and perhaps a couple of others, I would say this is the man I need to be able to make it happen.”
So, Cardenas adds, “I don’t know if he’s going to lock his doors or not, but I presume that our nominees, or potential nominees, are going to knock on that door and have serious conversations with him.”
At the same time, the popularity of Jeb Bush’s brother George W. Bush has been rising. As noted in my story 'Decision Points' Brings Out the Real George W. Bush,
in the sweep of history, President Bush will be remembered for one thing: He kept us safe. This Sunday, his book will have been on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction best-seller list for 15 weeks.
“Time will give us a more global perspective,” Cardenas points out, “and a global perspective gets you out of the weeds, which is the only way you can really appreciate a presidential term.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.
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