Bush lining up Romney aides for possible presidential run

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CNN: Ex-Romney Aides Poised to Join Bush Team for 2016.

WASHINGTON — “Romney Recycled” was the headline atop a Wall Street Journal editorial last week lamenting Mitt Romney’s intimations that he will make a third run at the presidency in 2016. Jeb Bush’s entry into the 2016 presidential race sent ripples throughout the party, forcing Mitt Romney to indicate interest in running, spurring Mike Huckabee to leave Fox News, prompting Wisconsin Gov. It leads some down a path that results in sticking needles into veins and injecting substances we fool ourselves into thinking will make us feel better. With Romney’s entrance into the race, Bush has some space and time to raise funds, build out an organization and reach out to GOP office holders in search of support. The news outlet reports Megan Sowards, Romney’s former deputy general counsel, is moving to South Florida and will start a new job at the McDonald Hopkins law firm — which has ties to Bush.

Raquel Rodriguez, Bush’s general counsel when he was Florida’s governor, is the managing member of that law firm’s Miami office, according to CNN. “I would bet it’s going to be Bush. It drives some to eat or drink to excess, watch porn or engage in constant unsafe sex, and changes people from sane and contributing members of society into lost and homeless individuals. If the field develops the way it appears to be, this will be my fourth Clinton campaign, fourth Bush campaign, third Romney campaign, third Paul campaign, second Huckabee campaign and second Santorum campaign.

The likely slate of candidates will include the son of a governor and presidential candidate, the son of a congressman and presidential candidate, the wife of a president, and the brother of a president, son of a president and grandson of a senator. But with Romney’s potential entry and the emergence of a group of current governors as new stars of the party, there is no doubt Bush will have to fight for the nomination. That is a good thing for his prospects, for unlike Hillary Clinton who will be coasting on her identity with no real rationale for the presidency and no real competition, Bush will need to show his mettle. Politics will take once normal and well intended people and make them do things that make those of us outside of politics wonder what anyone ever saw in that person to elect them to even the most minor public office.

In the absence of ideas and popular passion — the sort of spirit that briefly captured the nation’s imagination in 2008 — winning becomes about name recognition and celebrity. Political insiders, Florida residents and media and many in the national media know he is a different sort of politician in many ways from his father and brother. (Jeb is “a curious study in contrast [with George W. Bush] — in temperament, in style, in the paths they have chosen in life, in the way they think and communicate and lead.”) So far, he is disarming donors when asked about the Bush “problem” with questions of his own: Do you have brothers or sisters? Each has grown tired of what they have in life to enjoy and each believes the only high left for them after having been either a Governor, Senator, First Lady, Secretary of State, or head of the Olympic Organizing Committee, is to become President of the United States.

That is why, if a Clinton or a Bush wins in 2016 and is re-elected in 2020, a member of one of those two families will have been president for 28 of 36 years since 1989. It is a plain spoken way of making his case, and an indirect request for fairness. (Would you want to be judged by what your siblings did?) That message has to now expand to a wider audience in speeches, in a more complete announcement video and through surrogates. I have to believe Mitt Romney saw recent polls that showed Jeb Bush, someone with similar moderate republican beliefs as him, as the republican front runner for 2016, and something inside went click, making him think, “Maybe the third time is a charm.” Romney must figure the nation already knows him well enough that he won’t face as much scrutiny this time around and he does not carry the baggage that comes with the Bush name.

Dynastic politics is nothing new in this ostensibly meritocratic land, going back to John Quincy Adams and continuing through the Roosevelts and Tafts and Kennedys. A 2009 academic study found that, since the beginning of the republic, 8.7 percent of members of Congress had a relative who previously served in the body. He has the political experience for the job, is able to raise the boat loads of money needed to run a campaign, and figures he matches up well in a general election pitting him against Hillary Clinton. The percentage has declined over time, but a 2010 article in Legislative Studies Quarterly found that kin of officeholders continue to have large “brand name advantages” allowing them to raise more money and achieve more success with less experience.

With a specific agenda to talk about, he can also shift the conversations from “Is Jeb just like his brother?” to “What’s Jeb offering?” Ed Gillespie’s Senate run in Virginia is a model for running an issues based, spirited campaign in which a guy who could easily have been painted as just a lobbyist or adviser to Bush 43 was able to connect with middle- and working-class voters. Likewise on Common Core, Bush needs to explain why standards matter, how Common Core got started (a pact among governors) and put himself foursquare against federal manipulation and intrusion. (There is a bill from Sen.

Being in second place in some polls lets him be the “Avis” (we try harder) candidate, a better role for him than Clinton has as the inevitable and uncontested heir to the nomination. Candidates who aren’t themselves eventually get into trouble, as Romney did in 2008 coming out as a fire-breathing conservative and Paul has done in insisting his foreign policy is Reagan-esque when it is more Kucinich-esque. In fact, he would prefer a blood bath to an actual discussion of issues because he is at his best when attacking someone and his worst when trying to explain himself.

Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on immigration and Paul on the Federal Reserve, that should be of no concern. (Is Romney going to threaten a trade war with China as he did last time?) Romney will talk his way right out of the establishment circles that are his main source of support if he goes down that road. Each are seeking one more fix that will give them that ultimate high they crave, a high that can only come from being elected the most powerful person on the planet.

They will sacrifice their health, their family, and even their dignity to grab the only thing that matters to them, the rush that comes from knowing they hold the one position of power no one else has, at least for four years when it will then be time to do it all over again.

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