With President Obama’s job approval rating currently upside down at 45% approval vs. 47.7% disapproval, Republicans have an interesting conundrum. We are heading into 2011 with no obvious 2012 presidential frontrunners, just a herd of prospective candidates all flawed for one reason or another, and most Republicans are not too happy with the selection.
So perhaps now is the time for Republican primary voters to consider a familiar name who would have been the obvious choice to head the GOP ticket in 2008 had he been born with any surname other than Bush.
Yes, I am suggesting that John Ellis Bush, aka Jeb, should run for president in 2012.
Before you say I am totally crazy, let’s examine the facts.
After two successful terms as governor of Florida from 1999–2007, Jeb Bush kept a low profile in 2008 for obvious brotherly reasons — but the times they are a changin’ and these shifting political winds could mean 2012 is the right time for Jeb Bush to ascend to the family throne.
Here’s why Jeb Bush should run, could win the nomination, and could defeat Obama in 2012.
Jeb has the prerequisite management and leadership experience.
Serving eight years as governor of a major state like Florida is some of the best presidential preparation one can have. Leaving office in 2007 (term limited) with approval ratings in the 60s is even more impressive, especially when at the same time his brother, the president, had the most dismal job approval numbers since President Richard Nixon.
In 2008, Jeb considered running for the 2010 open Senate seat just won by Marco Rubio (more below on that), but in January 2009 he decided it was best to “lay low” in the private sector and utilize his prior business experience in banking, consulting, and real estate.
But because of who he is, Jeb is always asked the inevitable question: Are you running for president? This is followed by the usual denials. In a recent Newsmax interview, Jeb said he could not envision a circumstance that would lure him into making a presidential run:
“But look, what I have said — and it creates all sorts of scurrying around and speculation — is you never say never in life. All I’ve said is I’m not running in 2012.”
“Never say never in life” comes as good news for many Republicans who thought Jeb was always strong presidential timber. Now he just needs some prodding to realize 2012 is his time.
Jeb has a unique relationship with Hispanic Americans.
Married for 36 years to the Mexican-born Columba, whom he met in 1971 while teaching English in Mexico, Jeb brings a personal perspective to the problems plaguing the Hispanic community like immigration and education. Fluent in Spanish, with three grown bi-racial children, Jeb and his family would influence Hispanics to take a closer look at the GOP.
Jeb has come out against Arizona’s controversial immigration law, saying it is the “wrong approach.”
Obviously, this stance does not endear him to prospective Republican primary voters and he cites it as proof that he is not interested in a While House run. But still Republican stalwarts salivate over the thought of someone like Jeb, who is the most likely candidate to build a bridge to the nation’s largest minority group (currently at 16% of the population and trending overwhelmingly Democrat). This fact brings negative future consequences for Republican candidates at all levels of government, especially the presidency, unless someone like Jeb can help turn it around.