Speed Reads

2016 Watch

Jeb Bush's position on raising taxes presents a huge obstacle to a 2016 run

Despite possessing the most famous family name in the Republican Party, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush faces an enormously difficult path to the 2016 nomination, if he should choose to run for president. First, there's his past support for comprehensive immigration reform that would include some pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Then, there's his support for the Common Core educational standards, something of a sleeper issue that's of enormous importance to the Republican base.

Now, Politico reminds us that Bush is guilty of another conservative heresy: a willingness to raise taxes.

The former Florida governor has said he could accept tax increases in a hypothetical deficit-cutting deal. Never mind that he added that would come only in exchange for major federal spending cuts, or that he repeatedly cut taxes as governor.

Tax hikes are still apostasy in Republican circles, and the stance could be a big problem for Bush if he decides to seek the party's presidential nomination in 2016.

Bush's views are already pitting him against one of his party's most influential activists, Grover Norquist, the high priest of anti-tax orthodoxy who's convinced nearly every elected Republican to sign a pledge not to raise taxes.

"Mind-boggling," Norquist said of Bush. [Politico]

As Danny Vinik of The New Republic remarked, that's probably three-strikes-you're-out for the former governor. Still, Bush's supporters insist that "they are eager for the debate on tax increases that his candidacy would bring," according to Politico.