INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 2, 2005
August 3, 2005:
Our founding fathers settled America to escape the tyrannical and undemocratic rule of England. They were determined to found a new country without the idea of British royalty ruling them and with a say in the affairs of the state. They yearned for an egalitarian state where every person, regardless of their birth status, could rise to their potential and fulfill their hopes and dreams without the yoke of limitations. They disliked the thought of royalties or dynasties.
Although Americans have shown a disdain to dynasties, which is inherent in our constitution, ironically we have shown a fondness for family lines politically. Just look at the names of our Presidents and Presidential candidates. Names like Adams, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and now Bush.
The Bush family is now the most successful political dynasty in American history and the question in 2008 will be would Americans vote for a third Bush for President in 20 years. My guess is that Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida, will be a candidate for President in 2008 and he, in my opinion, will be the favorite for the Republican nomination. His father was the 41st President and his brother the 43rd.
Will Jeb Bush be the 44th President? Only time will tell.
On paper Jeb Bush may well be the best choice for the GOP. He is the two-term Governor of the most important and pivotal swing state in America. Florida also is one of the largest states with 27 electoral votes. It is also a multicultural state which is vitally important in a nation with an electorate growing increasingly Hispanic. Jeb Bush’s wife was born in Mexico. His three children are and look half Hispanic. He is a convert to Roman Catholicism. He has always been considered by the Bush family the most likely to be President. He has always been more ambitious and hardworking than his older brother. As a child he wanted to be President, while George wanted to be a baseball star. His academic record and intellectual capabilities have outshone his older brother.
Jeb Bush is an ideal candidate for the Republican Party. He is an undisputed conservative on both social and fiscal policies. His record in Florida is impeccable. He will appeal to the archetypal social conservatives he may face in the race for the Republican nomination such as Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney who are totally unknown nationwide and plain boring. John McCain who has star quality is considered too old, too moderate, and too much of a maverick to get the nomination, plus he has been rude to the Christian right. The other potential face card, Rudy Giuliani, comes from a liberal state, has an odd name to pronounce and spell, is pro choice, and openly lived with a mistress while married and Mayor of New York. He will be hard pressed to get off the ground within the Republican Party.
The only other potential candidate who can give Jeb Bush a run would be Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, who is also a physician and Senate majority leader. He is considered a moderate enough candidate to appeal to the nation and also has a perfect record on social issues to get through the GOP primary maze. He also has a large amount of family money to draw on. However, he lacks star quality and Jeb Bush has the luxury of built in name identification.
The Bush name is worth millions in American politics. Even though George and Jeb may have some sibling rivalry and jealousy, remember blood is thicker than water. You can tell that George has chosen a favorite. Just look at who he chose to be his emissary to tour ravaged countries struck by the Tsunami disaster. Jeb Bush represented the President and flew at government expense on Air Force One. Bill Frist had to pay his own way and offered his help as a physician.
Jeb Bush may be reluctant to make the race out of fear that the American people do not want a dynasty. However, if the other side appears to be fielding a dynasty candidate of their own it renders the issue as moot. Currently the Democratic front runner is Hillary Clinton. Another Bush-Clinton face off is a very real possibility in 2008.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His column appears weekly in 60 Alabama newspapers. Steve served 16 years in the state legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.