December 19, 2014

BYRON YORK: How rusty is Jeb Bush?

Jeb Bush, who on Tuesday announced that he has “decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president,” last ran for political office in 2002. (The race was for a second term as governor of Florida, and Bush won.) If Bush runs in 2016, that will be a 14-year gap between his last run for office and his attempt to win the White House.

That’s a long time. In fact, Bush’s 14-year gap is bigger than any general-election presidential candidate in recent memory.

When Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012, he had run for the Republican nomination four years earlier and for governor of Massachusetts six years before that. When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he had run for the Senate four years earlier. When John McCain ran against Obama in 2008, he had also run for Senate four years earlier. When John Kerry ran for president in 2004, he had run for Senate two years earlier. . . .

Campaigns need fresh candidates. Talk to political consultants and they’ll tell you that sitting out even one electoral cycle can not only make a candidate rusty but can also make him or her unfamiliar with the sometimes overwhelming ways in which campaigns change over the course of four years. Jeb Bush might be able to overcome those challenges. But it probably won’t be easy.

I’m not impressed with his candidacy.

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