Like The Prospect's Robert Kuttner, I'm not sure that the Bush name is a huge vulnerability for former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Voters aren't known for their historical memories (short-term or otherwise), and Bush could credibly present himself as a moderate in the mold of his father, and not the conservative belligerent who brought the Republican Party to its knees in 2008. But I'm very skeptical of Bush's ability to enter and succeed in the presidential race, even when it's as weak as this one.
At this stage in the primary, as the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny pointed out this morning, the focus is on fundraising and building elite support. The presidential candidates are scrambling to claim fundraisers and top party donors for their own campaigns, and deny them to rivals. What's more, they're also trying to secure coveted endorsements.
"Recent research suggests that the endorsements are even more important than fundraising, in that they signal support to voters, other party elites, and donors," says Frank & Marshall College political scientist Stephen Medvic. The problem for a potential candidate like Jeb Bush is that the time to secure these endorsements is running out. "Soon," says Medvic, "the pool will be set, and these figures will start to make their minds. By late July, whoever is in is in, and whoever isn't, isn't." If Bush wants a shot at the nomination, he needs to enter now. Otherwise, he becomes an automatic long shot.
With his impending trip to New Hampshire, Texas Governor Rick Perry shows every sign of entering the race, but he should also keep this in mind. Yes, it's possible for elite supporters to jump ship, but it's also risky; the wrong choice could shut you out of party politics for a long time. Between Romney, Bachmann and Pawlenty, the "invisible primary" is quickly hashing itself out, and if Perry waits, he'll be left out.
You need to be logged in to comment.
(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)