I was at an event featuring him the other night. I will only share a few general impressions since it was off-the-record. If he runs, it is very much going to be the “kinder and gentler/compassionate conservative” tradition of his father and brother. George H. W. Bush used his branding to pivot away from Reagan and George W. Bush used his to distance himself from the Gingrich congressional Republicans. Jeb will be positioning himself as the optimistic, pragmatic problem-solver in implicit contrast to the current image of congressional Republicans.
Pulling this off without sounding as though he is constantly scolding his own party will, to say the least, be tricky. It sounds like he will soft-sell his support for Common Core — sympathizing with the critics, hitting the Obama administration for over-reach, and signaling an openness to changes — while sticking to his guns on the need for higher standards. All the signals are that he is preparing to run. But the hurdles that he’s set out for making a go of it — that he can run joyfully and that he can in good conscience subject his family to the rigors of the process — are still high.