Despite his unarguably conservative record during his two terms as Florida’s governor, Jeb Bush is in the position of having to prove to some members of his party that he’s conservative enough to be president, according to The Washington Post
During a speech last week to the fiscally conservative members of the Club for Growth in Palm Beach, Florida, Bush reminded the wealthy, fiscally conservative crowd that he "governed this state as a practicing reform-minded conservative," according to the Post.
"He cut taxes here by $19 billion. He slashed the state government payroll. He battled teachers unions to overhaul education. He ended affirmative action. And he vetoed so many spending bills that he earned the nickname 'Veto Corleone,'" the Post said in summarizing Bush's speech.
Additionally, Bush "intervened in controversial abortion cases, railed against affirmative action and gun control, and dreamed of a state capital in which government buildings would forever be drained of unneeded workers," yet he remains suspect by many in his own party that he’s not sufficiently conservative, according to CNN
He’s particularly rankled purebred conservatives with his positions on immigration and education. Bush is a big proponent of the national Common Core education standards, something that the tea party faction of his party detests, and he famously said last year that people who had come to America illegally to provide a better life for their families "broke the law, but it’s not a felony, it’s an act of love."
Bush points out, NPR
reports, that he authored a book on the latter, titled "Immigration Wars,"
and in it he says unequivocally that, first and foremost, America needs to secure its borders.
"A great country needs to enforce borders for national security purposes, public health purposes and the rule of law," he said. "First and foremost, we have to do that."
By the end of Bush’s speech in Palm Beach, Time
reported that he had convinced some of the party’s most hard-line conservatives of the veracity of his conservative principles.
"Bush impressed people," said David McIntosh, the Club for Growth president who interviewed Bush on stage.
A big part of Bush’s challenge, in addition to being the son and brother of two presidents, is that the Republican Party has veered sharply to the right since Bush left office in 2007.
Since then, the tea party has risen in power and populist conservatives such as Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz have gained favored status among the GOP’s most conservative members, according to CNN.
Bush, however, appears undeterred and presents an enthusiastic front about his probable candidacy, according to the Post, which reports that the Sunshine State’s former leader says Florida, a purple state, "is a model for how he would lead the nation."
"Bush says he wants to spread the gospel of conservatism beyond the party’s core base — to Latinos, young people and other constituencies with whom the GOP has been out of favor," the Post reports.
"As he told supporters at CPAC, 'There are a lot of conservatives that are out there in America, they just don’t know it yet.'"
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