In a new report for the Upshot in the New York Times Nate Cohn writes that the only two candidates who really stand any chance of winning the Republican primary are Jeb Bush and maybe Scott Walker.
Now, I like Governor Walker (R-WI) as much as the next guy. He’s done some great work in Wisconsin, and I think that he would make a vastly superior President to Barack Obama. He’s not my favorite candidate (I’m not sure how conservative he really is) in the field, and I would be at least a little disappointed if he beat out the guys I’m really pulling for… but I could get behind him. I could vote for Governor Walker come November 2016.
Jeb Bush is a far different story.
Somehow the GOP establishment has decided that Jeb is as conservative as they want us to get, and they will keep pushing him as long as he doesn’t make any major screw-ups. But I wanted – no, needed — to come to you and ask you, dear grassroots, conservative reader, are you really ready to support Jeb Bush for President in 2016?
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Look, I’m not saying he’s the worst option ever. But he’s no more conservative than John McCain or Mitt Romney, and the conservative grassroots never “loved” them. Jeb Bush is simply another in the line of “big government” pseudo-conservatives that are the Bush family. George H.W. Bush expanded the government, raised taxes and lost an election. George W. Bush DOUBLED our national debt, expanded the government and bailed out the banks. Jeb Bush is already talking about reforming government… not cutting government.
This is the ultimate Bush family legacy, really. They are big government Republicans who have done more to harm our (conservative) cause over the last 30 years than any attack from a liberal Democrat.
Let’s just ruminate over some of Jeb’s most recent statements announcing his positions on some important issues.
On Education – Jeb Bush wholeheartedly supports the Common Core, and is all about BIG GOVERNMENT answers to solve our education problems. This one thing should eliminate him from contention, but it hasn’t.
On Amnesty and Illegal Immigration – Jeb Bush has been one of the loudest Republican voices supporting amnesty and a path to citizenship for over 11 million people… and he’s been advocating amnesty for YEARS.
On Taxes – Jeb Bush won’t guarantee that taxes won’t go up under his leadership. In fact, he seems very amenable to the idea of raising taxes if it gets him other things that he wants from Democrats. Does this remind you of anyone? (George HW Bush raising taxes in response to a Democrat pledge to cut spending; they never did, and he lost his job.) In fact, Forbes magazine writes that Jeb Bush WANTS to raise your taxes!
On Spending – As Governor Jeb Bush received good grades from conservative groups based mainly on tax policy, but we know he has reversed course on that. What hurt his grades was spending… and there is no evidence that he will spend less as President. Like his brother George W. Bush, Jeb is a “compassionate conservative” which is simply a euphemism for welfare state Republican. Make no mistake, Jeb Bush spends money like a Democrat on a bender.
On Gay Marriage – Jeb Bush is “evolving” reminding us of other recent politicians… right, Obama?
The stat geeks (and I use the term affectionately) at 538 Blog put together this easy to understand chart back in December showing just how Jeb compares to other popular Republicans. And it’s not pretty…
The long and the short of it, folks, is that Jeb Bush is far more liberal than your average grassroots conservative. Sadly, we only make up a portion of the GOP’s base of support. Jeb can win the primary without us (as Mitt, McCain and Dole did previously), so it is up to us to convince other members of the base that Jeb is not fit to serve.
And I mean what I say – Jeb isn’t fit to serve as President. I won’t vote for him, I won’t say nice things about him if he’s the nominee. The best I can offer Jeb Bush is that I wouldn’t vote for his opponent.
So, if you’re with me on the Jeb issue, then we have some work to do.
We have to reach as many conservative voters as we can and implore them to find a different candidate. We have to direct them to Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio… basically almost any other Republican seriously in the mix.
Look, I’m not saying that a Jeb Bush candidacy would be the death-knell for the Republican Party, but… it could be.
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