Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Jeb Bush (according to George Will)

On the December 21, 2014 edition of Fox News Sunday, Washington Post contributor George Will outlined four problems with Jeb Bush as the prospective GOP nominee for President in 2016.

1. Amnesty

2. Common Core

3. The Bush family name

4. The Establishment label on his backside.

The first three coalesce into the fourth, but even if a candidate carries clear conservative credentials, if he is labeled Establishment, then the conservative base, which defines president contests during the primaries, will be more skeptical of the candidate.

Very likely, Jeb Bush is pro-life, pro-growth, pro lower taxes. Then there are the Big Government aspects of his platform. Tweets about his views and values, combined with the disconcerting opinion which conservative pundits hold of a third Bush running for (or even winning) the White House, and Bush stands less of a chance.

Let's consider the two substantive issues:

Amnesty is a big no-no for the conservative base. Granted, the issue of illegal immigrant children brought to this country when they were two or one year old is a vexing concern, but the fundamental and justified complaints of the Silent Majority, conservatives, middle and working class voters, and anyone who struggles to find a job or maintain property in the face of lax border security and law enforcement.

Jeb Bush at CPAC 2013

Borders and essential to a free society, and respect for the laws of immigration, integration, and naturalization cannot be pushed aside in the name of humanitarian  bonhomie. Bush called illegal immigration by parents "An Act of Love", yet Breitbart routinely exposed the negative, even violent consequences of illegal immigration: attacks on border patrol agents, destruction of private property, and the infiltration of deranged, international drug cartels (and human-trafficking).

Amnesty is meaningless without enforcement of the law, followed by e-Verify, citizenship for public schooling, and the demolition of the welfare state. When Jeb Bush makes those issues a priority, then amnesty will be a non-issues.

Common Core is a mixed bag of concerns, as well as supporters. Not essential a federal program, its federalized interface disturbs limited government advocates, as well as state governments fed up with the predictable results of Washington micromanaging. Common Core implements controversial and prolix methods for instructing children in basic math and reading. Higher levels of reading comprehension have reduced literary and fine arts appreciation for more technical reading and writing. Critical thinking has been abandoned in favor of cut and dried facts and figures. Instead of centralizing, education needs to be localized, and school choice, rather than government reforms, should dominate the discussion of Republican education policy.

Governor Jeb Bush (Florida)

The Bush name, the Bush brand, the Bush legacy -- all of which have become a mixed bag, defined by caving on principles, expanding government despite the party's platform, but a strong foreign policy defined by utmost respect for the United States, plus a strong commitment to life, family, and self-preservation. George Will did point out that a Republican ticket has not won the Presidency without a Bush since 1972 (Nixon-Agnew). Then again, political records are getting broken with rising frequency every year, and there is no reason why conservative Republicans cannot refurbish their party brand and branch out for the win in 2016, without Jeb.

Always a balanced and erudite commentator, Will added that Bush was a smart, well-read former governor, with plenty to offer in the upcoming Presidential vetting process. Putting aside non-partisan review of candidates, Jeb Bush is unappealing to a voters seeking not just partisan, but principled candidates. Voters want a President who is better than "not bad" or "good enough", especially in the face of severe financial strain, government overreach, a culture war heading into a longer haul of fraught conflict and political conflict.

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