Opinion Brief

Jeb Bush in 2012... or should he wait until 2016?

Some conservatives are urging the former Florida governor to run for president next year — before his political currency dries up. Others disagree

Is America ready for a third Bush in the White House? And if so, when? These are the questions flummoxing supporters of Jeb Bush, the popular former governor of Florida and the subject of a glowing profile in this month's National Review. Though the younger brother of the 43rd president told the National Review what he has always said — that he would pass on a 2012 run, but would consider a 2016 campaign — some commentators are saying that he can't afford to wait. Should he think again?

Yes. 2012 is Bush's best hope for success: Bush must strike now, says Rich Lowry at the National Review. Waiting another four years would be disastrous. By then, a "bumper crop of Republican talent" — Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, for example — will be "poised to storm the national stage." Right now, there's a "beatable incumbent president," and the field is wide open. "So why isn't he running?"
"Bush 2012"

No. He won't win over the Tea Party just yet: The biggest challenge for candidates in 2012 is uniting the Tea Party and establishment wings of the GOP, says Juli Weiner at Vanity Fair. And Bush's "pedigree" ensures there's no chance of him doing that. The Tea Party has "little patience for Beltway royalty." Jeb would be better off waiting for the "disordered frustration" of today's Republican Party to subside. 
"Why it's smart for Jeb Bush to cool his heels until 2016"

America isn't ready for another Bush on the ballot: Bush in 2012 would be a "tough sell," says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. The "unmitigated trainwreck" of his brother's presidency is still fresh in America's mind. Yes, "Jeb's style is distinct from his brother's," but voters won't be prepared to mark X next to the last name "Bush" just yet.
"Let the Jeb boomlet begin"

Jeb should run in 2012, just to lose: If Bush waits until 2016, he will have a "hard time keeping himself on the national radar," says Alana Goodman at Commentary. He should run next year in the hope of gaining "prominence" and allowing voters to become familiar with him. That way, he'll be in "prime position" when 2016 rolls around.
"Should Jeb Bush run in 2012?"

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