Most Republican strategists agree that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be a competitive candidate for president in 2016, but there are also indications that his campaign is headed for a crash-and-burn scenario.
Such a scenario may be more likely than even his critics may think, the National Journal reported
Bush is not performing well in early polls or in Republican focus groups. In addition, he is seen by many as someone with a privileged upbringing who does not appeal to working-class voters.
He is also more of a reminder of the past, with a father and brother who are former presidents, at a time when the Republican party is longing for fresh candidates, observers say. Voters are also not certain that Bush will be the best candidate to defeat former secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Even though Bush has name recognition and presents himself as a the more pragmatic Republican, he has mediocre favorability ratings.
The Bush campaign is downplaying the polls and focus group results, saying that the poor numbers don't reflect the former Florida governor himself, just his name, and that most voters don't really know about his strong conservative record.
Bush operatives expect that voters will learn more about him in the course of debates and townhalls leading up to the primaries and caucuses.
However, the National Journal contends that Iowa, the state that hosts the first caucus, tends to favor more religious candidates, which will help candidates such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. And a crowded field may put Bush even further behind in the Hawkeye State.
This would mean that it would be especially important that Bush do well in New Hampshire. South Carolina may also prove to be a challenge, especially if South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham makes an official run.
And if Sen. Marco Rubio decides to run, that also makes Florida more competitive for the former Sunshine State governor.
Rubio has already touted his working class roots
compared to Bush's affluent upbringing.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
has said while he thinks Bush is a good man, to defeat Clinton, "we'll need a name from the future — not a name from the past — to win."
The National Journal concludes that Bush's greatest defect is not ideological, but biographical — because GOP voters are so opposed to electing another Bush at a time when the Republican party wants a fresh face.
However, if he is able to pass the "credibility test," he could end up "a strong contender."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.