When Jeb Bush stepped down earlier this month after eight years as governor of Florida, he had reduced taxes, enacted the most impressive reform of public education in any state, restructured health care, and, dealing with a series of major hurricanes, turned in half a dozen impressive performances in crisis management. His approval rating? Sixty-three percent.
Intelligent, likeable, well-read, and articulate, Bush is conservative both by temperament and conviction. Married to a Mexican, he speaks fluent Spanish, and, already revered among Cubans in Miami, would be able to make the conservative case to Hispanics in the rest of the country in a way no other Republican could equal. He comes neither from a small state, such as Romney’s Massachusetts, nor from a city, that, for all its greatness, stands at a political and cultural remove from the rest of the nation, such as Giuliani’s New York, but from a state that is both the fourth most populous and entirely middle American. He is not an erratic maverick, like McCain, who has zigged and zagged across the political spectrum, but a man of fixed principles.
The ideal candidate—the candidate who would thrill conservatives while commanding the respect even of those who differ with him—Jeb Bush possesses only one liability: His name.
There are two solutions to this problem. Bush can change his name to “Humperdinck,” or we conservatives can start a petition to let him know we’ll support him no matter what he calls himself.
K-Lo, please address this matter in time for NRI’s conservative summit in Washington next week.