Okay, let's get this out of the way. You don't really believe that the American people are going to elect three out of the last five presidents from the same immediate family do you? Ain't gonna happen. The American people are in a somnolent trance right now. It hasn't registered.
Yes, it's true, that there might have been three presidents from the Adams family. See how Charles Francis Adams might have been elected president. But that stretched out over 100 years. So if it is an impossible task, why is Jeb Bush running? Ahhh. I'm glad you asked.
Here are six reasons why Jeb Bush is entering the fray:
- He just might win. Maybe he only has a 1 in 500 chance, but would you throw away a lottery ticket with such odds? He has name recognition, money out the kazoo and the American people are a fickle, unpredictable lot. He could win the GOP nomination and Hillary could slip on a banana peel.
- The polls say he is a factor. Some polls even have him leading among Republican voters. It is irresponsible for him to ignore those numbers. He probably entertains that Platonic idea, "If you refuse to lead you are destined to be led by someone worse than yourself."
- The Republican field is crowded with candidates which means he can consolidate his considerable experience, name recognition, money and contacts to win against a divided field. And if Bush isn't the favorite, those factors alone might be enough to beat anybody else.
- Ironically, Hillary Clinton is his best opponent in a general election. She may be his only chance to win and that may be why he jumped in. Why wait and have as your opponent some new, sexy face in 2020 and be labelled the old establishment guy with Washington connections? If he faces Hillary Clinton now, it will be a choice between two old, establishment guys with Washington connections. Hillary won't be able to play the dynasty card against him.
- He can do anything else he was going to do better by running for president anyway.
Does he want to raise money for a non-governmental organization? Promote a cause? Change the Republican Party? Champion an issue? Promote an agenda? Be on a slew of board of directors and get paid for it? Get a job as president of a university? Be the next NFL Commissioner? Start a company with billionaire investors? Be a television commentator, or have his own show? Write a book people will read? He can do any and all of those things better if he runs for president — than if he doesn't.
Maybe, like Charles Francis Adams or Robert Todd Lincoln, he wants to be a cabinet member in the next administration? Every debate will be a chance to audition for the next president. Hey, even Hillary Clinton may want him in her cabinet to unite the country, like JFK and Barack Obama, who appointed Republicans in their administrations.
And finally there is this, the big reason:
- By running now he can clean up the Bush image to prepare the way for his son.
In case you haven't noticed, George P. Bush, Jeb's son, is on his way to the position of Texas Land Commissioner. It's a stepping stone to the governor's mansion.
George P. has been groomed for a long time. In 1987 I co-authored a book with George H.W. Bush and while it was dedicated to wife, Barbara, then Vice President Bush insisted that it open with one of his famous letters to his grandson George P.
Imagine? A governor from Texas, who just happens to be Hispanic, with name recognition and the most powerful fundraising machine in modern politics? Look out.
There is one big problem and that is the Bush brand has been severely damaged. America's last impression of a Bush president was one who led us into a questionable war with Iraq, under what many argue was false pretenses, with borrowed money — leading to the second worst financial depression in American history. Not to mention, the ongoing residual effects of that war, resulting in mayhem across Asia, Africa and the Middle East — with the wholesale slaughter of Christians.
If Jeb Bush runs for president he will come off as a reasonable, kind, bright man with strong principles. He will have plenty of Souljah moments, such as immigration, where he resists the Republican brand. One would think that this will almost certainly lose him the nomination but if he does all of this with grace and humility, he resets the brand and George P. can start fresh. Besides it might actually work.
Americans like a leader, even if they disagree with him. He has nothing to lose.
He just might win, though probably not. Therein lies another plus. The national media always fawns over a Republican that they know can't actually win. It makes them look bi-partisan. All the better for George P. Bush and the future.
If this is what is going on — and it's surely a factor — then Jeb Bush may be one of the most selfless men in the famous Bush family. He stood aside for his father. He stood aside for his brother. Now, by running for president, he may ironically be doing the same for his son.
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush, with whom he co-authored the book "Man of Integrity." Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.
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