The notion that Jeb Bush is going to be the Republican presidential nominee is a fantasy nourished by the people who used to run the Republican Party. Bush has been out of a game that changed radically during the 12 years(!) since he last ran for office. He missed the transformation of his brother from Republican savior to squish; the rise of the tea party; the molding of his peer Mitt Romney into a movement conservative; and the ascendancy of a new generation of politicians — Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, among them — who have been fully shaped by and trained in that new dynamic. Those men occasionally, carefully, respectfully break with the movement. Scorning today’s Republican Party is, by contrast, the core of Jeb’s political identity.
In that, Jeb is like ex-Republican Mike Bloomberg and like the failed GOP apostate Jon Huntsman: He’s deeply committed to centrist causes — federalized education, legal status for undocumented immigrants — that alienate key Republican groups;
Jeb would have to defend his association with Bloomberg in a campaign, though his defenders will cry that it’s a kind of guilt by association. (Fairness isn’t the core value of political campaigns.) Fairer is to judge him on two issues to which he’s deeply committed, education and immigration.
On the former, Jeb is one of the nation’s leading champions of Common Core standards, a move toward nationalizing America’s patchwork education; his foundation recently launched an ad campaign promoting them. The move is driven by a broad consensus of labor and business groups, as well as philanthropists like Bill Gates, but it has proven intensely unpopular with a Republican base generally suspicious of federal control and specifically focused on local autonomy in education.
I think Smith is absolutely right about this.
The CW over Jeb used to be that his positions on education issues would help - but not anymore, not post Common Core.
CCSS will hang like an albatross over his head, as will his stances on immigration reform and his connection to former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg (who is roundly hated in GOP grassroot circles for his gun control efforts.)
Smith notes that Mitt Romney, contemporary GOP governor with Bush from back in the day, managed to win the nomination last time around, but had to shift to "movement conservative" in order to do it.
And that's absolutely true - the Romney of 2012 sounded nothing like the Romney who had been governor of Mass.
Bush doesn't have the time or the ability to make that kind of transition.
Jeb can replay Mario Cuomo's "Should I Run/Shouldn't I Run?" act all he wants - the Republican Party of 2016 look nothing like the Republican Party did when Bush still held elected office and no matter how much money he can raise and how much the party elders want him if Christie is destroyed by Bridgegate, he will not win the GOP nomination.
Not with statements like this one he made about Common Core, at any rate:
“I guess I’ve been out of office for a while,” Bush told Fox News this week. “So the idea that something I support that people are opposed to, it means that I have to stop supporting it if there’s not any reason based on fact to do that? I just — maybe it’s stubbornness, but I just don’t seem compelled to run for cover when I think this is the right thing to do for our country.”
Good luck winning the nomination with that kind of stance.