Jeb Bush leads all other Republicans in early polls for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Without question, Bush is the anointed front-runner, and without question, the Republican establishment is ecstatic.
The Republican Party should be happy about the prospect of Jeb Bush as its 2016 presidential candidate only if it has a death wish. Bush 41and Bush 43 dug a hole the party could not climb out of, so Bush 45 aims to fill it with the broken promises of the Republican platform: The Party of Lincoln, RIP.
Yes, the Bush team has an excellent first-quarter game plan, but their playbook has too many missing pages when it comes to restoring constitutional government in the United States. That starts with demonstrating leadership on issues of fundamental importance, a challenge Bush is fervently avoiding.
The problem for Bush is both obvious and insurmountable: His support among rank and file Republicans is a mile wide and a half inch deep. Bush’s high standing in the polls is based solely on name ID, not his popularity as a leader on key issues. In fact, he is on the wrong side of several critical issues, and the more he is forced to talk about issues of real concern to real people, the more his star will lose its luster.
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Bush is widely and accurately perceived to be an open-borders globalist, and as such, has zero credibility on immigration reform and border security. He is an ardent supporter of the national “Common Core Standards,” which are the logical and predictable extension of the federal No Child Left Behind program started by Bush 43.
At a moment when the Republican Party desperately needs strong, principled leadership to mark a contrast with Obama’s imperial war on the Constitution and national sovereignty, the establishment offers a stale menu of supposedly safe clichés. The GOP has a stable of capable leaders and a few who have shown courage under fire. Unfortunately, Jeb Bush is not one of them.
Of course, Bush can and will coast quite a distance in 2015 with the wind at his back, the wind being the mainstream media’s worshipful coverage. The liberal media can also be counted on to attack the more conservative candidates as too radical for a nation that needs “healing.”
Yet, when all is said and done, the only real advantage Bush has heading to 2016 is division among conservatives. While Bush cannot win a head-to-head contest with a conservative like Ted Cruz, if conservatives split their support among a half-dozen or more candidates – as happened in 2012 – Bush could conceivably squeak through as Romney 2.0.
That would be a tragedy of historic proportions because it would mean four more years of Democratic control of the White House and the end of the Republican Party.
Constitutional government needs a principled political party to battle incipient tyranny, and patriots will not ride a lame horse into battle again.
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