Last year family matriarch Barbara Bush proclaimed there have been “enough Bushes” in the White House, but recently Jeb Bush unambiguously revived prospects of extending the political dynasty. In his most elaborate discussion yet on the matter of 2016, the popular two-term Republican governor of Florida sent a jolt through the political chattering class by promising he will decide by year’s end whether he will run, and by laying out what a possible Jeb Bush candidacy might look like.
At an event marking the 25th anniversary of his father George Bush’s presidency, the second son discussed his own prospective campaign, an “optimistic” challenge to today’s rough-and-tumble politics that have marred recent Republican nominating contests, AFP reports.
Should he run, Bush said Sunday at his father’s presidential library, he would not get drawn “back into the vortex of the mud fight.”
He encourages fiscal prudence while defying party orthodoxy on issues like immigration and supporting national educational standards panned by the right wing.
“Campaigns ought to be about listening and learning and getting better,” he said. “I do think we’ve lost our way.”
In short, he seeks a broader Republican vision “organized around winning the election, not making a point,” he said, signaling he won’t demand ideological purity that can rally the base but doom the party in national contests.
In particular Bush called Sunday for greater compassion for America’s illegal immigrants, who he said enter the United States to “provide for their families.”
The remark reverberated throughout Washington, where Jeb, 61, is being carefully watched and perhaps courted. Lawmakers admire his extensive political network and recognize the potential of a Republican with the gravitas to become a beacon for conservatives, moderates and independents alike.
Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, said he appreciates that Jeb seeks an immigration policy overhaul, after brother George W. Bush ran into headwinds with related reforms during his presidency.