Let the Jeb Bush parlor games begin in earnest.
As favorites on the establishment’s side of the bracket for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have become embroiled in scandals, the former Florida governor and favorite of the donor class and the Chamber of Commerce has been indicating that he is seriously considering jumping into the race. Though there are also reports that Bush may ultimately pass on 2016, because of Christie’s recent scandals Bush would be the establishment’s favorite, as Breitbart News reported.
In 2016, nearly a decade will have passed since Bush held elected office. And though he will have the advantage of not having a record to be nitpicked during that period, he could be rusty on the stump–like Bill Clinton was during his wife’s presidential run in 2008–in an election cycle in which the media is more fragmented and the velocity of the news cycle is greater than ever before.
As The Hill noted, Bush even fumbled the “rollout of his 2013 book, Immigration Wars, which left people guessing whether he supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.” Nonetheless, he is giving considerable thought to taking the plunge.
Florida lobbyist Slater Bayliss told the outlet, “I’ve never seen him so seriously considering a run for higher office.” He added, “He’s legitimately going through a very methodical, thoughtful process to come to a decision.”
Ana Navarro, a Bush confidante, said that Bush is “certainly… going into more detail about it than he has ever before.” She continued, “In the past he has shut the door completely. This time he’s telling us he is going to think about it.”
The Hill touched on the strengths that would make Bush an establishment favorite: his blue-blood political roots, broad network of donors, and familiarity with Hispanic voters. But there are considerable liabilities, as well: Americans have Bush fatigue; some conservatives view him as an extension of all the big government and cronyism they hated about George W. Bush; he could actually make Hillary Clinton look less stale (though in fairness, his “dynasty” problem could be neutralized if Clinton gets the nomination); and he may not have the “fire in the belly” to sustain himself on the stump in the remote corners of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
Time will tell whether Jeb Bush’s greatest opportunity to win the nomination was in 2012, but the longer he mulls a presidential run, the more it will hurt and probably damage Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is considering a run himself and whose donors and core supporters–like Navarro–overlap Jeb Bush’s.