Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jeb Bush Still A Wild Card

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By Steven Masone

                     Mitt Romney’s narrow triumph in Michigan put Jeb Bush back on the GOP wish list. 

Yes, Republicans are still believing for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush despite his repeated and seemingly adamant refusal to be open to a 2012 Republican candidacy. 


And Democrats continue to pray he does stay out as they see Bush more dangerous  and capable of connecting with middle-class and Latino voters than Romney.

The Bush murmurs persist, even as Romney with two more wins marches toward Super Tuesday with a commanding lead in cash, delegates and momentum over a slowing Rick Santorum.

“I have the perfect candidate — Jeb Bush. But he’s not running,” former George W. Bush chief of staff Andy Card told Charlie Rose on CBS on Wednesday, echoing the sentiments of many in his party.

“What Democrat would not worry about a popular leader from a critical state who sounds pretty moderate and can rescue the GOP from its anti-Latino death grip?” asked former Bill Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry, who said he’s yet to find a Democratic elder who thinks the GOP is truly “unhinged” enough to consider ditching Romney for Bush.

Bush,  who has refused to endorse Romney in 2012 as he did in 2008 fueled the flames himself, possibly to whet his party’s appetite for a 2016 run. After keeping a low profile during the hotly contested Florida primary in January, he popped up last week at the height of the Romney-Santorum duel in Michigan to declare his problems with the GOP presidential field.

“I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective,” Bush told a gathering in Dallas last Thursday, according to FOX News.


"In our party it’s an advantage to be more conservative, but I think at the end of the day most Republicans want someone who can beat Barack Obama,” he told ABC News on Wednesday. “I don’t think that any of them has successfully made the case that ‘I am the guy who’s got the best chance to beat Obama.’'



In an interview with a local CBS affiliate, Bush cautioned the contenders not to campaign too far to the right. "I think it’s important for the candidates to recognize though they have to appeal to primary voters, and not turn off independent voters that will be part of a winning coalition," said the younger brother of former President George W. Bush.
Bush, who successfully courted the Hispanic vote in two terms as governor of Florida, has previously voiced concerns about immigration rhetoric coming from the GOP field. In an interview with Bloomberg before the Florida primary, he said that he didn't agree with Mitt Romney on immigration but likes him.

 Bush, who has personally urged Romney to moderate his rhetoric on illegal immigration for fear of completely alienating Hispanic voters in states like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona could change the face of the GOP if he galvanizes Hispanic voters and satisfies the Tea Party also.

The idea though of another Bush in the White House will send the Bush haters into a frenzy and with all the Bush bashing Obama has used as his excuses concerning the economy and joblessness, the rhetoric will be painfully shrill.

However, if Obama uses George W. Bush as an excuse by November three years into his presidency, it could backfire on him as Jeb Bush is more eloquent and less stiff than his brother and his retorts will resound with those who tired of Bush blaming. So if the GOP is still without a nominee at the convention, we could have some real interesting drama and history making developments. 




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