Could Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida, be the third President Bush? At this point it seems unlikely. The second President Bush, George W Bush, departs from office with historically low poll numbers. The United States has too much Bush fatigue.
Of course the next Presidential campaign will not start for about another three years, which is an epoch in politics. Barack Obama is about to become President buttress by a wave of good will and high poll numbers. But Barack Obama’s nascent Presidency is already starting to show some wear, even before Obama himself takes the oath of office. Three years from now, if Obama is unlucky, incompetent, or both, his current popularity could be a distant memory and the electorate could be looking back with nostalgia at the Bush Years.
Consider that as of this writing the Obama Administration is a little more than two weeks in the future and it is already being rocked by scandal. The Rod Blagojevich pay for play scandal is already proving to be a distraction for Team Obama on a number of fronts. Rod Blagojevich has nominated Roland Burr, an African American politician, whom Senate Democrats seem determined to bar literally at the Senate door in a manner that would look like George Wallace had come again. And Bill Richardson, Obama’s choice for Secretary of Commerce, has been forced to withdraw his name from consideration due to his involvement in his own pay for play scandal.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus package seems to be running into trouble. Arguments over what exactly to spend the stimulus money, efforts by members of Congress to grab portions of it for pork, and the general inefficiency of the Congress under the Reid/Pelosi regime is delaying progress on the bill. Barack Obama seems willing to allocate some of the stimulus money on tax cuts to appeal to Republicans, but which will likely anger liberal Democrats.
Imagine a situation in which the Congress is bogged down arguing over the shape of the stimulus bill, much as it was over health care reform during the first two years of the Clinton administration. The stimulus bill may well collapse of its own weight, with nothing getting passed. Then one of two things happens. Either the economy will improve, thus suggesting that Obama’s economic policy is irrelevant, or the economy continues to slide, making Obama seem ineffective.
Finally, Barack Obama is one terrorist attack away from seeing his poll numbers plummet. There have been no successful terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11 and even his enemies grudgingly admit that fact is due to George W. Bush’s policies. If Al Qaeda or some other group manages to pull off a high casualty terrorist attack on Barack Obama’s watch, Obama will have failed at the one task an American President must succeed at-protecting the American people. George W. Bush kept us safe, people will say, unlike Barack Obama.
Jeb Bush remains popular in the state of Florida and with the Republican base. Jeb Bush is considering a run for the Senate for which he is considered a shoo-in. Jeb Bush is considered more conservative than his elder brother and was an effective Governor of Florida.
One can just imagine that it’s 2011. President Barack Obama’s poll numbers are in the thirties. The Democrats were handed a stinging defeat in the 2010 midterm elections. Obama is considered ineffective on domestic policy and, if there is another terrorist attack, shockingly incompetent on foreign policy and national security. The War on Terror drags on.
The name Bush may be toxic for many people in the beginning days of 2009. But Bush may be golden in late 2011, just in time for the 2012 elections, especially if the name is Jeb Bush.
Sources: Bush 41: Jeb Bush for President, Bill Sammon, Fox News, January 4th, 2008
Jeb Bush as US Senator?, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, December 3rd, 2008