The last two times Republicans held the presidency, it went to a man named George Bush. George H.W. Bush served from 1989–1992, while his son, George W. Bush, served from 2001–2008.
A third Bush, the son and brother of "H.W." and "W.", respectively, announced this month that he's seriously considering running for president in 2016
. Many leading pundits have since voiced their opinion on the possibility of Jeb Bush 2016:
"I must confess that I am not entirely sure what I think of (Jeb) Bush's record. But, then, I don't really need to be. Rather, I am fundamentally opposed to his candidacy on more basic grounds: Namely, that he's the wrong man, at the wrong time — and in the wrong country, too. ... If Jeb Bush does manage to make it all the way to the top, we will be in uncharted dynastic territory — territory that, frankly, should begin to worry us."
– Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review staff writer, Dec. 16, 2014.
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Also, from Cooke: "(The next Republican presidential candidate) will have to run not only against the last eight years, but against the last 16 — a considerable challenge, and one that can only be met by someone who is flexible enough to explain what the last Republican administration got wrong without alienating his supporters too badly. The brother of the last Republican president, suffice it to say, cannot do this."
"By the time 2016 rolls around, it will have been eight years since the previous Bush presided over an economic disaster. The economy may have mostly recovered, but it is drastically more unequal. What is Bush's cheerleading going to do for that? Does anyone think the GOP needs another captain of private equity to be its leader? And as loathsome and un-American as it may seem to hold someone's family name against him, this point needs to be emphasized: the GOP and the country don't need another Bush."
– Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week.com senior correspondent
3. RedState.com Editor-in-Chief Erick Erickson posed three questions
that Bush will have to answer.
- "First, in a year that could field the strongest total crop of Republican candidates in more than a decade, including the present governors of Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana and the present senators from Texas, Kentucky, and Florida, why does Jeb Bush think that he is the man most qualified for the job and, more importantly, why should the nation believe there are no more qualified candidates than a third Bush who will not have run for office in fourteen years by the time we get to 2016?
- "Second, does he still consider himself a conservative and, if so, how does he define what that means and how is it different, in his mind, from being generically a Republican?
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- "Lastly, the base of the Republican Party remains largely conservative and was willing to support both Jeb Bush's father and brother. However, Jeb Bush's father broke with conservative orthodoxy on taxes. Likewise, his brother broke with conservative orthodoxy on the entitlement state. What conservative orthodoxy can we expect Jeb Bush would most likely break with?"
"It's not just the Bush name, it's the Bush agenda."
– L. Brent Bozell III, chairman of the group ForAmerica, told The Washington Post
that he and other conservatives didn't like the thought of Bush running, despite Bozell's "great admiration for the Bush family."
"He's ... being looked at as savior by the big-money donor class and the consultant class — the establishment of the party — to head off the tea party. It could be a sacrificial run just to make sure that a conservative doesn't get the nomination in 2016. There's a whole bunch of stuff under the surface here that's percolating and effervescing, and it's all about us being the No. 1 enemy of these people."
– Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk-show host, offered his theory
on Bush's exploration to listeners on Dec. 16.
"He's too moderate for the Republican base. You take Common Core — Bobby Jindal was very much out in favor [of Common Core] ... he's had to run away from that. Marco Rubio was for immigration reform ... damaged deeply by his support for immigration reform. He's run away from that. Jeb Bush — first John, he doesn't look like he's got the fire in the belly. He hasn't run in a dozen years or more. It's these two issues that will see him torn apart in very rough primaries and caucuses, Iowa and New Hampshire."
– Pat Buchanan, on "The McLaughlin Group" in September 2014
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