Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is doing opposition research on himself and asking Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) about how he can potentially win the GOP presidential nomination without conservatives.
Bush, who has said he would make a 2016 decision in “short order,” recently said that a candidate must be “willing to lose the primary to win the general [election].” And he has reportedly “begun conducting opposition research on himself to identify any potential issues that could arise” in a potential presidential campaign.
And According to a New York Times report, Bush recently visited McCain, who is often reviled by conservatives, to ask him how to win the nomination without the conservative base. McCain won the 2008 nomination after his campaign almost imploded because of his support for comprehensive amnesty legislation. When McCain teamed up with President George W. Bush and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) to push an unsuccessful comprehensive amnesty bill in 2006, his support dried up, and McCain had to lay off most of his staff and carry his own bags in coach class en route to campaign events in New Hampshire.
McCain eventually secured the nomination because of his national security credentials and his support for the “surge” in Iraq. It also helped that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney–two candidates who have had problems with the conservative base–were his competitors. McCain’s friend Fred Thompson entered the race late, but he just siphoned off the anti-McCain vote instead of taking votes away from McCain, helping McCain secure moderate and liberal Republicans.
“I just said to him, ‘I think if you look back, despite the far right’s complaints, it is the centrist that wins the nomination,'” McCain reportedly told Bush, suggesting that Bush should hope that a few conservatives split the vote on the right.
In addition to Bush’s ties to nebulous Chinese investors that may come under intense scrutiny, Bush doesn’t need to do too much opposition research on himself to figure out that his intense support for comprehensive amnesty legislation and Common Core will turn off the conservative base.
Instead of trying to have it both ways on every issue like Mitt Romney, though, it seems like Bush, should he decide to run, will run as an unabashed moderate on those issues.
But as conservative scholar and talk radio host Mark Levin has suggested numerous times, there is danger ahead in the general election if Bush were to somehow secure the GOP nomination. Regardless of how they won the nomination, moderate Republican candidates like Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney have one thing in common–they all lost the White House because they did not excite enough conservatives to the polls.