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December 17, 2014

‘We’ve Had Enough Bushes’

Jeb Bush is in because some guys never learn to listen to Mom.

Some guys never learn to listen to Mom.

Case in point, the matriarch of the powerful Bush family says she doesn’t miss “one darn thing” about life in Washington. Furthermore, Barbara Bush said of her son, Jeb, “I don’t think he’ll run.” Why? “He’ll get all our enemies, half our friends.”

But despite Mom’s wishes, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posted on Facebook Tuesday his intention to explore a run for president in 2016.

In the post, he said that over Thanksgiving weekend his family discussed America’s future at length. “As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs,” he wrote, “I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.” He plans to create a political action committee to “facilitate conversations with citizens across America.” The Facebook post was likely designed to make him look tech-savvy – all the cool people are on Facebook – and separate him from the media’s Republican caricature.

But again, we remember the words of his mother: “I think it’s a great country, there are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes.”

We couldn’t agree more. Rule by dynasty is one of the reasons we separated from Britain. Jeb would be the third Bush candidate, but the family already has enough children and grandchildren to last through the 2100 election.

Few these days would call Jeb Bush a genuine conservative, though he was a successful and popular governor in Florida, cutting taxes several times and pushing school choice. Yet many would argue he cedes any claim to the moniker “conservative” because he supports a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens, as well as Barack Obama’s Common Core curriculum that will have the next generation capable only of communicating through Instagram.

And the Bushes’ close-knit family friendship with the Clintons is bothersome. While Bill Clinton is infamously known to conservatives as “Slick Willy,” Jeb and his brothers refer to Bill as a “brother by another mother” and to Hillary as a sister-in-law. A Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton race would be little more than a family reunion.

Jeb’s longtime advisers, Sally Bradshaw and Mike Murphy, will likely serve again in his campaign, though, notably, he hasn’t run for office since 2002. Bradshaw served as Mitt Romney’s senior adviser in his 2008 presidential bid, advised him during his 1998 gubernatorial campaign, and advised John McCain on his presidential bids. Murphy has also advised such nationally prominent Republicans as John McCain, Christie Whitman, Lamar Alexander, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not a conservative in the bunch.

Holding positions that the party’s base would reject out of hand leaves us wondering how Bush expects to get anywhere in his campaign. A recent McClatchy-Marist poll has Bush at 17%, two points behind Romney. But the poll has 15 candidates, and nearly two-thirds of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they favored a candidate who will stand for conservative principles. And a poll nearly two years out doesn’t mean much except to excite hopeful contenders.

Clearly, a significant philosophical difference divides the Republican Party. The leadership, the elites and the donor class want the party to “modernize.” They argue that as national demographics change, the “outworn thinking” – especially what they consider the radical Christian element – will ultimately marginalize the party for most segments of society.

Republican elite also fear Tea Party-esque Republican “radicals” will cause another Barry Goldwater-like landslide loss. They point to Baby Boomers who will demand more benefits as they age, and to Millennials who gave Obama 66% of their votes in 2008 and 60% in 2012, making them the most government-friendly generation since FDR.

Jeb Bush is just the kind of candidate these elites want – one who can keep a Republican Congress in check, keep ObamaCare with some reforms, grant amnesty (an essentially open-borders policy that warms their hearts and protects their wallets with cheap labor), and generally acquiesce to the Left’s social agenda.

But grassroots conservatives are furious with the Republican establishment. During the Bush years, voters gave Republicans control of Congress and the presidency for more time than in any period in nearly a century. In return, Republicans gave us grossly inflated spending, a new entitlement (Medicare Part D) and a new federal behemoth bureaucracy (DHS).

Last month, after six difficult years under an imperial presidency, voters gave Republicans another bite at the apple with solid majorities in both houses of Congress. Naturally, then, party leaders helped pass the CRomnibus and hindered conservatives’ ability to stop Obama’s most loathed plans.

Given this sordid history, it’s not overstating the case to say that the party’s next choice for its presidential candidate could have long-lasting consequences with its base.

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