On Friday, when we first gave voice to the idea of Jeb Bush for United States Senate, a number of readers and others opined against the idea. The general refrain was “We’re tired of Bushes.” There were some additional “amnesty” and “offshore drilling” chants thrown in, as well.
Let’s address these.
“We’re Tired of Bushes.”
It is a rather noxious notion in a democracy that any person would punish an innocent man for the crimes of his siblings or parents. In this case, it is noxious that we would show distain for a true conservative champion because people are tired of his brother.
In truth, George W. Bush’s track record is almost entirely composed of doing what he said he would do. . We can see this trend from his time as Governor of Texas through his two terms in the White House. Governor George Bush campaigned as a compassionate conservative. By 2004, it was pretty clear he was, to borrow from Fred Barnes, a “big government conservative” -- never mind that such a creature does not actually exist.
We can see exactly the same trend, in exactly the opposite direction, from Governor Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush said he would govern as a conservative, and he did exactly that. For all the liberalism his brother pumped into conservatism in an attempt to show “compassion,” Jeb Bush has used legitimately conservative means to be compassionate.
Jeb Bush broke down educational barriers that limited poor children from receiving great educations. He broke down regulatory barriers that drove up the costs of building homes and starting businesses. He blew up legal barriers that made it difficult for free people to operate freely. He reined in the size of government. He stood up for the lives and rights of all individuals. He found and beat the unions. He did not falter, he did not fail, and he did not compromise in ways that set back the conservative agenda.
And he operated consistently for eight years.
The people who complain about his last name are happy to ignore his record because they would rather vent about his brother. Fine, then; let’s focus on the name. Jeb Bush ran two winning campaigns for Governor using his first name. In Florida, where it matters, his name isn’t “Bush” – it’s just “Jeb.” And he is still, in 2008, immensely popular.
After eight years of George Bush, the Republican brand is failing across the nation, including in places like Texas, but not, ironically, in Florida, where after eight years of Jeb the party is dominant and triumphant.
Let’s not keep a solid conservative down just because of who his brother happens to be. They both have clear, consistent records, and an examination of Jeb Bush’s record shows him to be a rock solid fiscal and social conservative who does not throw fellow conservatives overboard, even when it might be convenient for him.
Jeb Bush was, believe it or not, to the right of his brother on immigration issues. Admittedly, he is still to the left of many readers here; however, those who would reject him out-of-hand for that reason alone should keep in mind that both of Florida’s Senators were aligned with George W. Bush on the issue, and that their position was (and remains) popular in Florida.
Quite frankly, you’re kidding yourself if you think this is even going to be an issue by 2010. Barack Obama is far to the left of Jeb Bush on immigration. Having Jeb in the Senate, where he can lead the fight against a President hell-bent on full amnesty as a representative of a state filled with immigrants will be valuable.
Those who want someone more akin to Pat Buchanan or Tom Tancredo on immigration are going to be left in the cold here, because that sentiment simply will not win in Florida. We should all pick our battles wisely, and Jeb can win for all of us on this issue.
It’s absolutely true that Jeb Bush had been opposed to offshore drilling, like the present Senators from Florida. But Jeb Bush’s position has evolved over time. After this year’s increase in gas prices, he became more open to compromise on the issue and more open to accessing Florida’s reserves.
Again though, how can this be an issue for you? Barack Obama intends to reinstitute the executive order banning offshore drilling, which takes this issue off the table. Jeb Bush will not be in a position to have any impact on the issue because of the Obama administration.
The Relevant Issues
To recap: the two issues that people oppose Jeb Bush on, immigration and offshore drilling, will be non-issues after 2010. Let’s look at other issues.
On taxes, Jeb Bush is in favor of lowering rates. On education, Jeb is for school choice, local control, expanded charter initiatives, etc., etc., etc. On life, he’s on the money. Same on judges. He also understands the needs of the Latino community better than most Republicans, and this is a key group the GOP needs now, and will need even more in the future.
In short, on every major tenet of the Republican platform, Jeb Bush is not just with the base, but has a solid conservative record to stand on. Every one of them. How do I know? I have looked at his eight year record of consistent conservative accomplishments in office.
Couple Jeb Bush’s continued popularity in Florida and his solid conservative record that spans eight years as Governor of Florida, and supporting of Jeb Bush for U.S. Senate is a no-brainer.
For conservatives who are tired of Bushes, the Bushes got into power with a lot of your support. You don’t fix your mistake by running from it. Fix your mistake by fixing it — embrace Jeb Bush and help redeem the image of a party largely hurt by its connection to the wrong Bush. Supporting Jeb Bush does, in fact, help rebuild the brand, and it does so in sharp to his brother.
We cannot expect Jeb to be critical of George. Family ties compel family support. Some of you would have Jeb repudiate George as a prerequisite for your support. That is foolish and impossible for a man who loves his family.
We can expect Senator Jeb Bush to act in a fashion consistent with how he acted when he was Governor Jeb Bush. That record is consistently conservative, and it is worthy of our support.
Please sign the petition below. Let’s be pro-active in building an army of activists for Jeb’s Senate run.