Before older brother George threw his hat in the presidential ring in 1999, Jeb Bush was considered by many Republicans the Bush family's best bet for recapturing the White House — articulate, Spanish-speaking, Catholic, at that time the popular governor of the ultimate swing state, Florida. Former First Lady Laura Bush said in January that she and her husband had encouraged Jeb to run this year, and now the younger Bush says 2012 "was probably my time." Speaking with CBS's Charlie Rose, Jeb said "under no circumstances" would he be Mitt Romney's running mate, but he didn't rule out a future run for the top spot on the GOP ticket. "There's a window of opportunity in life for all sorts of reasons," Bush told Rose. Should Jeb have taken his shot in 2012?
Yes. Jeb missed his window: Bush is probably right that this was his time, although he also wonders aloud whether he's just too darn moderate and insufficiently partisan to win over today's GOP, says Dennis DiClaudio at Indecision Forever. "That sounds like a rationalization to me." I have all the faith in the world that, had he tried, "a well-respected accomplished member of the Bush dynasty" like Jeb "would have been equal to the task of convincing today's Republican Party that he was presidential material."
"Jeb Bush may have missed his chance to be president"
No. It's too soon for another Bush: "I'm sure Jeb Bush himself isn't the only conservative wishing he had heeded his brother's advice" and run this year, says Daniel Doherty at Townhall. Still, while he has a lot of things going for him, Jeb also has a big general-election liability: "His last name." There have only been two father-son presidential dynasties, and the chances of adding a third Bush would be "exceedingly thin" even if, according to a new CNN poll, George W. Bush weren't the most unpopular living ex-president.
"Jeb Bush: Man, I regret not running for POTUS"
It's not too late for 2016: Bush clearly isn't going out of his way to win over this year's GOP electorate, says Martin Gould at Newsmax. Offering light praise for President Obama, suggesting the Republican Party is too extreme, and backing the idea of tax increases shows he's serious about not joining Romney's ticket. But Jeb's most important statement was his refusal to rule out a later run. After all, "he will still only be 63 by the time of the 2016 election."
"Jeb Bush: I should have run for White House"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- 10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2014
- How to rescue the American family and fix the broken school system in one fell swoop
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- Why insects are the future of food
Subscribe to the Week