Lowry: Jeb should run in 2012

I don’t remember which hurricane it was, but I remember a number of years back watching then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush give a press conference where he switched seamlessly between English and Spanish, depending on the outlet who was asking him about what Floridians should be doing to stay safe. At the time I was impressed both by how Jeb came across as competent and how much more dangerous he would be on the national stage than his bumbling brother. George W. Bush talked a lot about reaching out to Hispanic voters, but only drove them away from the Republican Party. Jeb Bush, on the other hand, could bring some Hispanics back to the GOP.

Jeb is out of office and his name hasn’t received much attention as a 2012 Republican presidential candidate. That may change now that Rich Lowry of National Review has put together eight reasons Jeb should run in 2012 and not wait for 2016, as he has said is his intention.

2016 is too late … By 2016, Jeb will have been out of office ten years. … [B]y then his main credential – his governorship and its accomplishments – will seem like yesterday’s news. Right now he has the feel of an elder statesman of the party while his time in office is still fresh. … By 2016, a bumper crop of Republican talent will be poised to storm the national stage. Marco Rubio not only will be the hot new thing out of Florida, he’ll be seasoned. Chris Christie will be ready. … Waiting is almost always a mistake. It’s an axiom of presidential politics that you have to run when you have the opening, even if it seems ‘too soon.’ This is why Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were elected president and Mario Cuomo never was.

Lowry doesn’t endorse Jeb’s candidacy outright, but the list clearly pushes in that direction.

There are basically two kinds of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination right now: Tea Party candidates and establishment candidates. The winner of the nomination will have to be someone who bridges both audiences. Or, more precisely, the winner will have to be someone who is strongly establishment but can appeal to Tea Party activists. I don’t see it going the other way. As a result, you have a lot of media love for people like Thune, Huntsman and Pawlenty, without a comparable buy-in from the base. Lowry thinks Jeb can unite the party and escape opposition from Tea Party-types, though I’m not really clear why he thinks a pro-immigration guy would fare so well.

As an aside – Jeb Bush saying he’d prefer to consider a presidential run in 2016 over 2012 is a strong statement that he believes Obama will win reelection, whether or not he (Jeb) is the Republican nominee.


Matt Browner-Hamlin is a blogger & political strategist based in Washington, DC. He has written about US politics since 2004. He's worked on presidential and Senate campaigns, in the labor movement and the Tibetan independence movement. He is the founder of OccupyOurHomes.org and currently spends much of his time fighting Wall Street banks. Matt on Google+, and his .

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