Jeb Bush saying no to Florida sugar growers
Bush campaign launches Jeb Can Fix It Florida tour

Should Jeb Bush step aside for the political future of George P Bush?

Jeb art
Last April, Crowley Political Report asked the question - should Jeb Bush step aside for Marco Rubio?

Now, with Bush's bid for the Republican presidential nomination in deep trouble, Bush the father may well start wondering if a humiliating defeat could harm the political future of his son, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

George P is the next chapter of the Bush family political legacy that started with his great-grandfather, the late U.S. Senator Prescott Bush. He is only two years younger than his father when Jeb first ran for Florida governor in 1994 - and lost. There seems to be little doubt that George P. could run for Texas governor or the U.S. Senate. 

Rubio was 39 when he won his first statewide race in 2010. George P. was 38, when he won his first statewide race last year.

They are the new generation of Republicans. And Rubio can make essentially the same case that Bush did when he ran for governor.

This presidential campaign is a reminder that Jeb Bush has only faced one serious opponent in his campaigns and he lost. In fact, it is notable that George W. Bush won Florida in the 2000 presidential election by just 537 votes - with his brother as governor.

The fact is Bush's electoral successes have had more to do with the weaknesses of his opponents. 

Bush has not run against a Republican in more than 20 years.

A look back at where he was tells us a lot about where Jeb is now.

As we reported in April:

Bush has not been in a Republican primary since 1994. Bush was 41. He ran against three candidates - all of whom had years in elected office. Bush had not spent a day as an elected official.

In the general election he ran against the late Democrat Lawton Chiles, who was 64. Bush lost. Four years later the Bush machine cleared the Republican decks for him. The then-45 year old Bush defeated Democrat Buddy MacKay who was 65.

In each of those races, one of Bush's themes was that it was time for a new generation. It was time for those 60-something guys to take their stale ideas into retirement. Bush would be fresh, new, invigorating, and ready to take Florida in a new direction.

Bush is 62. Most of his campaign has been a rehash of the same ideas he was talking about in 1994. So far, the Bush of that era seems to be missing in this campaign. In 1994, there was energy. In 2015, there is a sense of entitlement.

In 1994, Republicans were excited about Bush's potential. Even though he lost, they never lost faith. His victory in 1998, stirred the GOP. It would begin the next two decades of GOP dominance in Tallahassee.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with Bush's ideas, he was always suited up, ready to play. Politics for him was a full-contact sport but his mission was to remake Florida.

It has been 13 years since Bush last was on a ballot. It has been 21 years since he last had a serious opponent.

There is a sense of outrage among Bush lovers at the very idea that Rubio would dare to challenge Bush for the presidential nomination. "The Bush people are freaking out," said one former Bush supporter who now backs Rubio but still fears Bushites enough to worry about being named. 

Describing a 30-minute, private conversation last week with Rubio, this Republican said, "Marco Rubio is determined. There was no fear or hesitation in his voice."

One thing Florida Republicans have learned about Jeb Bush and his followers is that you are either with him or against him. If you are against him, they are done with you.

Very done.

With the stakes this high, Floridians supporting Rubio will forever be banished from Bush world. 

Rubio at 43, is very much the Jeb Bush of the 1990s.  Rubio represents something new for the GOP - for better or worse. And the very fact that he is willing to take on Bush in Florida may say far more about Bush than it does Rubio.

Could it be that Rubio believes Bush's Florida support - untested since 2002 - is at best fragile. That if Rubio does well in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, he has a reasonable shot at winning Florida?

Does Rubio's willingness to take on Bush in Florida send signals to other 2016 candidates that they may have less to fear from Bush than they may have believed?

Is Rubio the GOP's future? Is Bush just in the way?

This is going to be ugly. The Bush team will soon begin ripping Rubio apart. He is now the enemy.

And nothing would be more devastating to Bush than to lose the nomination. He cannot be the Bush who failed. Unlike his father there will be no second chance. This is it for Jeb.

Should he step aside for Rubio?

That was the question then. Now, one wonders - Should Jeb step aside for George P.?

Maybe that will come up at the next debate.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Jeb Bush should step down. He is not a strong person as he has to bring in mommy and his brother to help change the people vote. A hugh mommys boy, he does not have a change. If for any reason he did then our government proves to be brought out by the higher up with money.

Trump has every aspect of what a true President should be, a real man who speaks his mind and looks out for the people in our country. Our country (US) should be first in every aspect of our presidency. Our ammendent and consitional rights need not change. Founding Fathers put these issues in place for a reason.


David Farrar

I am sorry to point this out, but George P. Bush is not an Art. II §I Cl. 5 natural born Citizen. An Art. II §I Cl. 5 natural born Citizen is a person born exclusively under U.S. sovereignty. George P. Bush, according to the Mexican Constitution, was born a U.S. citizen and a Mexican national.

The comments to this entry are closed.