When Bush officially launches his presidential bid later this year, he will likely do so with a campaign manager who has urged the Republican Party to adopt a pro-gay agenda; a chief strategist who signed a Supreme Court amicus brief arguing for marriage equality in California; a longtime adviser who once encouraged her minister to stick to his guns in preaching equality for same-sex couples; and a communications director who is openly gay.Hot Air's Allahpundit thinks this might make some strategic sense -- Jeb has already lost very conservative primary voters, and an openness to gay rights might help him with younger Republicans. Also, Jeb might win some favor with the mainstream press -- but Allahpundit thinks there are serious limits in that area, because the MSM is so damn liberal:
To an extent that would have been unthinkable in past elections, one of the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination has stocked his inner circle with advisers who are vocal proponents of gay rights.
Endorsing gay marriage would also earn Jeb some friends in the media, with whom he has a complicated relationship right now. The media obviously favors him in the primaries against right-wingers but they also worry that, because of his fundraising, he’s the strongest GOP challenger for Hillary. They’ll hit him hard in the general, as they always do with the GOP nominee, to protect their own side, but they might not hit Jeb as hard if he sides with them against conservatives on their pet social issue. They’ve turned that into a litmus test for decency and progressive thinking among politicians, so for Jeb to join their camp on it would necessarily complicate their narrative that the Republican nominee has malevolent retrograde designs on America.Um ... apparently Allahpundit isn't aware of the wet, sloppy kiss Jeb just got from Joe Klein at Time magazine:
He is a political conservative with a moderate disposition. And after giving his speeches a close read, I find Bush’s disposition far more important than his position on any given issue. In fact, it’s a breath of fresh air. I disagree with his hard line toward Cuba and the Iran nuclear negotiations, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say about reforming Obamacare. His arguments so far merit consideration, even when one disagrees with them.And this was before the Coppins story appeared. Klein doesn't mention gay rights at all. Bush, I remind you, is still opposed to gay marriage, but if he begins discussing that issue with "a moderate disposition" rather than "chesty bellicosity," Klein is going to swoon again. As, I predict, will many other mainstream journalists and pundits.
There is none of John McCain’s chesty bellicosity. Bush makes no false, egregious claims, on issues foreign or domestic. He resists the partisan hyperbole that has coarsened our politics....
Bush’s economic vision is traditionally Republican.... His solution is providing more opportunity rather than income redistribution. We’ll see, over time, what he means by that.
... the way Bush talks about governmental sclerosis is the important thing.... There is no call to blow up the Environmental Protection Agency or ignore science. But there is awareness of a radical truth: that there is no creative destruction in government....
... He does not seem to be an angry man, and the need to screech has been the great Republican vulnerability in recent presidential campaigns. His candidacy takes crazy off the table -- no nutso talk about vaccinations or evolution or the President’s patriotism. Even if you disagree with him, his civility demands respect.
Here's the thing: I don't believe Jeb will actually reverse his opposition to gay marriage. Read between the lines of the Coppins story and you get the feeling that Jeb wanted this story out there as a dog whistle to pro-equality hedge fund zillionaires (Jeb's strategy, of course, has been to hoover up all the money he possibly can in order to effectively buy the nomination):
One senior Republican fundraiser with close ties to several mega-donors said it is increasingly important for candidates to reject conservative dogmas on the marriage issue in order to get a hearing from big-dollar contributors.Jeb is going to be at CPAC today. I think he's going to reaffirm his opposition to gay marriage -- and I think he wanted the Coppins story out there as a signal to East Coast fat cats that he doesn't really mean what he'll be saying.
“It hasn’t become a litmus test yet, but as far as how people are viewing your ticket to entry, you have to be approaching the LGBT issue with a new mindset in order to be taken seriously,” the fundraiser said. “They want to win. And they believe that if Republicans nominate a candidate who is perceived as anti-gay, that will be a net liability in the 2016 elections.”
The party’s most prominent pro-gay mega-donor, hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer, has yet to pick a 2016 horse -- but some Bush insiders believe his early gestures toward LGBT inclusion will help give him an inside track to the investor’s cash. Singer reportedly spent time earlier this week fielding pitches on behalf of several likely presidential contenders.
But if he gets the nomination, it may not matter what his position is. Allahpundit is wrong -- the mainstream press doesn't like Hillary Clinton all that much and would love to beat her the way the press beat Al Gore in 2000, by mocking her as an uncharismatic, desperate loser running against a Republican who's really not all that scary and who's actually a breath of fresh air after an eight-year Demoratic presidency. Jeb has to win the nomination to be that guy, but if he gets through the primaries, he'll have a lot of backing in the "liberal" media.