Earlier today, Jim Antle was pondering Jeb Bush’s remarks about Mitt Romney and the allegedly excessive partisanship of the Republican Party.
My take on this is that the former Florida Governor is kicking himself for not seeking the GOP nomination now that Romney appears to have a legitimate chance to unseat President Obama this November. Indeed, Bush said as much in an interview last week with CBS This Morning stating “this was probably my time.”
Of course, we’ll never know the answer to that question but if he had run it would have certainly changed the dynamics of the campaign. The GOP contest would have been presented as a two horse race between Bush and Romney. Some of the candidates who ran might not have run or might not have a got more than a moment’s notice. Or perhaps there would be have been an insurgent candidate who would have been stopped by the resources at the disposal of both Bush and Romney. Bush was probably the one Republican who could have survived the onslaught of Romney PACs and fought back with his own. Let us not forget there was talk about Bush entering the race as recently as last December.
Now comments like ‘Reagan wouldn’t have been nominated by today’s GOP’ isn’t going to endear Bush to a lot of conservatives. But I also think this is part of the reason Bush is kicking himself. After all, Romney won the nomination with at best lukewarm support from the party’s conservative base. But now that Romney appears to be going on the offensive against Obama in the way he did against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, conservatives have been warming up to Romney. Bush figures that whatever reservations conservatives had about him would be cast aside once he had the nomination.
But given that President Obama has spent the past 3½ years running against George W. Bush there would have been nothing Obama would have liked more than to run against another Bush. Obama can’t do that against Romney whose links to the Bush Administration do not run deep at all. Despite Obama’s present troubles, it is hard to imagine that the American electorate would have been prepared to elect another member of the Bush family to the White House four years removed from W. leaving office.