Buzzfeed: Bush to Abandon Iowa, ‘Common Core an Anchor Around Neck’

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Though all signs indicate Jeb Bush is running for president in 2016, Buzzfeed suggests his decision to skip the Iowa Straw Poll this summer is likely due to the weight he is now experiencing in his overwhelmingly positive view of the Common Core standards – so disparate from the views of the conservative and grassroots base of the Republican Party.

According to Buzzfeed, top GOP political consultants say Bush’s advisers indicated the former Florida governor’s team would not “seriously invest in Iowa during the primaries.”

“Common Core has become an anchor tied around this guy’s neck…and they realize it,” said one consultant. “I think it’s partly [media consultant Mike] Murphy telling him, ‘You need to be the iconoclast,’ and I think it’s partly just where Jeb is philosophically.”

While it’s possible for Bush to adopt a strategy similar to Mitt Romney in 2012 – staying away from the caucuses in 2011, but then coming on strong in the state in the final days and losing to Sen. Rick Santorum by only 34 votes – an Iowa strategist says that kind of scheme is not likely to work for Bush.

“The difference is that Romney ran once before in 2008, and he had an active list of supporters that were doing work in the background while everyone was stewing about the fact that he wasn’t here,” said John Stineman. “By contrast, it has been 11 years since a Bush last appeared on a ballot in Iowa, and Jeb doesn’t have the same grassroots network of evangelical Christian supporters that his brother had.”

Conservative Iowa activist Ann Trimble-Ray said Bush’s decision to forgo the Iowa Straw Poll is “a bit arrogant,” a phrase that most of the conservative base of the GOP might say is a gross underestimation of Bush’s attitude toward them and their disdain for Common Core.

Earlier in the week, Bush told Megyn Kelly of Fox News Channel’s The Kelly File that he would try to convince grassroots groups of parents opposed to the Common Core standards to embrace them because “high standards are better than low standards.” Always missing from Bush’s description of the Common Core as “higher standards” is evidence that they are in fact “higher.” No independent studies have been performed to prove that claim as valid.

Bush’s arrogance, perhaps, is most visible in his apparent expectation that the grassroots of the GOP will just believe that the Common Core are “higher” and more “rigorous” than other standards simply because he says so, and that other states should adopt the education policies he instituted while governor of Florida – again simply because he says they worked for him.

Regarding Bush, Craig Robinson, former Iowa GOP political director and editor of The Iowa Republican, told Buzzfeed, “Iowa requires candidates to actually work to get their support, and I don’t think he wants to put in the effort.”

“I don’t get a sense that they really care at all what Jeb Bush is doing or thinking,” he added. “There’s not some gaping hole in Iowa where people are saying, ‘Oh, why isn’t Jeb campaigning here?’ It’s no different than Jon Huntsman not campaigning here.”


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