More of the Same: Bush Moves Toward 2016

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There were moments in the last year when it seemed as though 2016 might be a resurgence for a Republican Party long dominated by RINOs, moderates, and crony capitalism. Bright stars like Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson. Forward-thinkers like Rand Paul. Even moderates like Chris Christie, who despite his irritating overtures to the Obama White House has proven a willingness to break script when the occasion calls for it.

But then the house of cards began to fall. Pollsters found that it was not these radical departures from the party line that could make a difference against a Hillary Clinton candidacy. Instead, names like Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush dominated the early polls. Conservative voters began to lose hope that anything would really change. Now, with former Florida Governor Bush announcing that he will “actively explore” a run at the White House, it would appear that 2016 is going to be more of the same.

Big Money Bush

By stepping out first, Bush is going to make a powerful stab at securing the big money necessary to make a successful bid for the presidency. His record is a good one. His time spent at the head of Florida’s government is fondly remembered, and he doesn’t suffer from the cocky cowboy swagger that made his brother so unpopular among independents. His interest in Hispanic politics is also a plus, giving the Republican Party inroads into that demographic when their opposition to executive amnesty threatens to drive them away.

With all of that in his corner, he is likely to prove an attractive candidate for billionaires and corporations looking for a GOP candidate they can throw their money behind. But his policies certainly don’t make him popular among conservative voters. His steadfast support for Common Core, his support for amnesty, and his insistence that we need to stop trying to repeal Obamacare have painted him into an anti-conservative corner.

The Divided Party

To be sure, taking the mantle of the presidency is about more than simply railing against liberal causes. In his record of leadership, his conservative Florida policies, and his potential ability to carry that important swing state in a national election, Bush makes for a pretty good Republican candidate. But at a time when conservatives are weary of Obama liberalism and politicians who put money before principle, he’s hardly an inspiring choice.

Jeb’s brother, Bush 43, and his father, Bush 41, have cozied to the Clintons in the years since their respective presidencies. Tackling charitable initiatives, the two families have grown close. In an interview last week, W. called Hillary Clinton his “sister-in-law” while endorsing a Jeb run. This is what conservatives eager for change are really turned off by. A 2016 election where the “choice” is little more than an illusion. If we’re ever to put a Goldwater/Reagan-style Republican back in the White House, we’re going to have to take some chances. Unfortunately, if the polls tell the story, we don’t seem ready for risk.