Today marks the entry of Jeb Bush into the 2016 Republican presidential race. Although the former Florida governor has instant name recognition and vast resources, they will not be enough for Republicans to pick him as their nominee for the White House. I believe this to be so for the following five reasons.
1. Illegal Immigration is Act of Love
At a town hall meeting in April 2014, Bush told Shannon Beam of the Fox News Channel the following about illegal immigration, “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family.”
Suffice it to say there many conservatives who do not view illegal immigration as an act of love nor an act of commitment to one’s family. No doubt there are many conservatives who would like to see border crossing from Mexico to the United States be treated as a felony under the law.
Nor do I think the families whose loved ones have been raped or killed at the hands of illegal immigrants would see illegal immigration as an act of love. The obvious solution would be deportation, but their countries of origin often do not want them back. So U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement lets them stay. Over the weekend the Boston Globe published a damning indictment of ICE for not ensuring that criminal illegal immigrants who were permitted to remain on U.S. soil register as sex offenders. If the Boston Globe is annoyed with ICE, then how can Bush win over conservative Republicans for illegal border crossings?
2. Dismisses Opponents of Common Core as Conspiracy Theorists
In an address to The Excellence in Education 2013 National Summit on Education Reform in Boston, Bush claimed, “Criticisms and conspiracy theories are easy attention grabbers. Solutions are hard work. Be a problem solver.”
That same year, Maggie Gallagher of National Review Online wrote about the efforts of two Indiana moms, Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle, to have Common Core repealed in the Hoosier state. In that article she quotes what education policy analyst Diane Ravitch wrote about Common Core:
The Common Core standards have been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia without any field test. They are being imposed on the children of the nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time.
Diane Ravitch isn’t a conspiracy theorist and neither are Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle. Nor are the million of parents who oppose Common Core. Jeb Bush simply cannot win the GOP nomination if he dismisses opponents of Common Core as conspiracy theorists.
3. Praise of Hillary Clinton
In September 2013, Bush presented Hillary Clinton with the Liberty Medal. Bush stated at the time:
Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy. These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year’s Liberty Medal.
During the ceremony Bush praised Clinton by stating, “We are united by our love of country and public service.”
As L. Brent Bozell put it, “Anytime Jeb calls Hillary ‘Obama 2.0,’ any criticism he makes of her awful record as secretary of state, any time he shows how much of an extremist she is on the issues, will be completely dismissed when she reminds everyone that he gave her an award for public service.”
If Jeb Bush praises Hillary Clinton’s efforts as a leader, then why should people vote for him?
4. He is Way Past His Prime
Jeb Bush’s entry into the presidential race marks the first time he has run for office since 2002. By contrast, Scott Walker has run in three elections since 2010.
As it stands, Bush will be running against then other Republicans with more to enter including Walker. But the Republican he should be most concerned with is his fellow Floridian Marco Rubio. In the past decade, Rubio has emerged as Florida’s most powerful political figure, first being chosen as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 2006 at the age of 35. Four years later, he would upset then Republican governor Charlie Crist for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate race and was decisively elected that November. Rubio has emerged as one of the Republican Party’s most eloquent spokesmen, especially on foreign policy. Bush might have a lot of cash on hand, but that doesn’t mean he has Florida in his pocket.
Both Walker and Rubio are ascending to their political peaks while Bush is way past his prime.
5. His Last Name
Yet perhaps the biggest albatross Bush faces is his very name.
This is perhaps unfair. After all, an argument can be made that Bush should be judged on his own achievements rather than the shortcomings of both his father and brother. Nevertheless, the presidencies of both men especially George W. Bush do loom large in his bid for the White House. This is especially true after he told Megyn Kelly last month that he would have authorized the War in Iraq. After taking heat over the comments, Bush would later claim he misunderstood the question and said he would not have authorized the war after all.
But even if Bush had “understood” the Iraq question, there is also the question of having a political dynasty in this country. If Bush were successful in seeking the GOP nomination and was elected President, we would have three members of the same family sit in the Oval Office. How healthy can it be for the Republican Party if its last three Presidents have the same last name?
It isn’t to impugn the Bush family. But a political party should represent the aspirations of millions of families rather than a single family. With the emergence of the Tea Party, I believe Republicans want to look to someone new to represent them and the country in the White House.
Now I do not underestimate Jeb Bush one iota. He could win Republican activists over with his performance in the debates and he could very well outlast everyone else with his money. Yet I believe that most Republicans want to move forward than slide backward. In which case, Republicans will leave Jeb Bush behind.