Monday, February 07, 2011


I don't think Jeb Bush is going to run for president in 2012, which is what Rich Lowry is practically begging him to do over at National Review Online. However, I do think Jeb's going to run eventually, probably in 2016. I agree with Steve Benen that, even from a right-wing perspective, there's no real urgency:

...Lowry's case wasn't especially persuasive. He argues, for example, that by 2016, "Jeb will have been out of office ten years." Do Republicans really care about this? Newt Gingrich hasn't held a day job in 13 years, and he's apparently not only running, but is being taken seriously. Jeb can't keep busy until '16?

What will Jeb say if he runs for president after not being in elective office for a decade? That's an easy one. Come on, kids, recite it with me: he'll just say ... he's not a career politician!

Republicans have a cliche for any eventuality. If you are a career politician, you condemn your opponent's inexperience. If not, you say that unlike your opponent, you don't consider politics your life. (I seem to recall Peggy Noonan arguing on more than one occasion that that's why we were incredibly lucky that Bush became president rather than Gore.) Grew up pooer than your Democratic opponent? Call the Dem an "elitist"! Grew up richer? Imply that your opponent is ignorant trash! (See: Clinton, Bill.) It's easy!

I'm sure Jeb is tempted -- he's got to be thinking about the fact that his brother the ex-president published a really popular memoir this past year. (Then again, a blockbuster in the book business is a book that sells 2 million copies -- a number of book buyers that adds up to less than 1% of the U.S. population. Sarah Palin had a 2.6-million-copy bestseller in 2009, and her poll numbers in the country as a whole are dreadful -- as were the sales of her second book.)

But I suspect Jeb is finding ways to occupy his time. Hmmm, let's see: he's one of the heads of an advocacy project for online public schools. Is it a coincidence that brother Neil is one of the founders of an educational software company? I don't know -- but I think Jeb has his hands full right now doing something or other that he hopes will be immensely helpful in the long run to, um, himself.

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