The Inevitability of Jeb

Jeb Bush and the formidable array of Bush family political retainers decided to take a pass on 2012, on the premise that Obama was unbeatable. Better to wait for 2016.

But it's hard to imagine an invincible Obama with unemployment stuck near double digits and both the Democratic base and independents dispirited, especially in the must- win Midwestern swing states.

Except for a small glitch--the Republican presidential field. Those who could give Obama a real fight and win over a lot of moderates - Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, maybe even Mitch Daniels - are anathema to the Republican base, while those esteemed by the base are so far right that Obama could win even with a dismal economy.

Thus, Jeb.

He knows how to talk far-right dog-whistle code to the conservative base, while still posing as a moderate to the moderates. He even speaks decent Spanish. He could raise a ton of money. He was an absolutely dreadful governor of Florida, slashing and burning public services but he persuaded citizens of that swing state to re-elect him. Given the extremism of the current governor, Rick Scott, Jeb's reign is remembered almost fondly. Jeb is widely considered to be a lot smarter than his big brother, but let's remember that W was also elected twice (well, actually once.)

Jeb's name keeps cropping up in the rightwing media as the guy who ought to get into the field. Juan Williams thinks Jeb could make comprehensive immigration reform palatable to the right and win over to the GOP a huge number of Hispanic voters.

My sense is that Jeb will wait until the field keeps demonstrating its dismal weakness, and then think seriously about getting in, to be embraced by a grateful party. The one other undeclared possible candidate who can speak Tea Party to the base and moderate to the moderates is Texas Governor Rick Perry. If he gets in, Jeb might stay out.

America is still getting over the calamity of the father-son Bush dynasty. Think about the prospect of three Bushes. It might be almost enough to turn President Obama into a fighter.

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