Ok, ready now?
I’ll say it again. Jeb Bush should run for President in 2016. In fact, I think it’s extremely important to the conservative cause that he do so. The reasons are simple and two-fold.
- Ted Cruz.
- Rand Paul.
It is looking more and more certain that one or both of these two are going to be putting their hat into the primary. Unfortunately, we are also likely to see Chris Christie and/or Mitt Romney, as well. Though Romney keeps saying he isn’t going to run, he’s a politician and campaign-related promises are made to be broken.
My real concern here is a Christie win in the primaries. Of course there will be a collection of wannabes laying groundwork for 2020 or trying to steer the debate, but they’ll be dropping out fairly quickly. Most likely, the real race will be between Christie, Paul and Cruz.
In that sort of a three-way race, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz split the conservative vote and Chris Christie wins. If Christie is the Republican candidate, then quite frankly the Democrats could run Mary Landrieu and she’d win.
Outside the margin of error.
That is how unelectable Christie is. The simple fact is that moderate and liberal Republicans – or those who are perceived as such – lose elections. He will not pick up nearly as many independents as the party establishment believes he will. The price of those few pick-ups will be that anyone who considers abortion, religious liberty, gun rights, government regulations, excessive taxes or leans libertarian will either sit out the election or vote 3rd party.
Party loyalists will tell these people that if they don’t hold their nose and vote for him, then they are helping to elect Hillary. The response will be that there is not a difference between Christie and Hillary except the letter after their name – D or R. In my honest opinion, they would be right. I’m not saying that I would do it, but I know that I would consider voting for Hillary if that is what it takes to keep Christie out. I trust Bill to have a moderating influence over her far more that I trust our Republican Congress to constrain a Christie presidency. Remember that this leadership is the same blind leadership that is thinking the message of the 2014 election is work with Obama rather than to stop or reverse him.
Enter Jeb Bush.
A Jeb Bush primary is the one thing that could split the moderate/progressive wing of the Republican party sufficiently to give us Paul or Cruz as the nominee. Better yet, it could give us a Paul and Cruz ticket. Between immigration and education, and a belief that he won’t do anything to reverse Obamacare, Jeb is as electable as Christie. That is to say, not at all.
However, a Jeb primary will draw away enough from Christie to give Rand and Cruz a real chance. Jeb has enough Southern perception that he will pull away the Southern moderates. He is also considered sufficiently “establishment” that he will also do well in Christie’s native territory in the Northeast. If Romney goes for a second try, I don’t believe he will have enough draw to really harm Christie. However he will – if coupled with Bush – have enough impact that it will make Rand or Cruz almost a certainty.
Rand will beat Hillary. Cruz can beat Hillary. But to run either of these men, they have to win the primary without letting our worst nightmare slip in through the split votes. To do that, though, requires the “help” of Jeb Bush, so I’ll say it again.
Jeb Bush may be the best hope of conservative victory in 2016.