On Monday to a cheering Miami crowd, Jeb Bush announced he was running for President. He’s the third in his family to do so. He’s the second Floridian in the race. He was for about 24 hours, first in campaign dollars at his disposal among the Republicans.
His speech focused mostly on his executive experience gained as Florida’s Governor. Though known now as a moderate due mainly for his support for Common Core and Comprehensive Immigration, he did govern Florida as a conservative. He lowered taxes and brought jobs to his state during his tenure.
“We made Florida number one in job creation and number one in small business creation. 1.3 million new jobs, 4.4 percent growth, higher family income, eight balanced budgets, and tax cuts eight years in a row that saved our people and businesses 19 billion dollars,” said Bush about his successes while Florida’s Governor. He promised to do the same on the national level if elected president.
Knowing he needed to regain some credibility with conservatives, he spoke of shirking the size of government and limiting its interference in our lives. “What the IRS, EPA, and entire bureaucracy have done with over-regulation, we can undo by act of Congress and order of the president,” he said, then for good measure went on to say, “Federal regulation has gone far past the consent of the governed. It is time to start making rules for the rule-makers.”
He did not though hesitate in taking swipes at some of his fellow Republicans in the race, particularly those serving in the Senate. “There’s no passing off responsibility when you’re a governor, no blending into the legislative crowd or filing an amendment and calling that success.” He added two other former Senators, Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton to his criticism. “As our whole nation has learned since 2008, executive experience is another term for preparation, and there is no substitute for that.”
He offered some more red meat to the conservatives, attacking Hillary directly saying: “Secretary Clinton insists that when the progressive agenda encounters religious beliefs to the contrary those beliefs, quote, ‘have to be changed.’ That’s what she said, and I guess we should at least thank her for the warning.” He continued, mentioning a specific instance: “The most galling example is the shabby treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Christian charity that dared to voice objections of conscience to Obamacare. The next president needs to make it clear that great charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor need no federal instruction in doing the right thing. It comes down to a choice between the Little Sisters and Big Brother, and I’m going with the Sisters.”
On foreign policy, he echoed the concerns that many conservatives have shown about how reliable we are as Allies and how he would improve our relationships with them, especially with Israel. It has been a long-standing criticism of the President by the right that he has soured our relationship with that country.
He did mention his famous family. At one point, immigration activists interrupted his introduction to his mother, Barbara Bush. He briefly addressed the disruption by stating he will handle the immigration issue by a law passed by Congress, not by executive order. He continued on with his remarks on his family, assuring the crowd that he understood that he would have to earn a trip to the White House on his own merits and not because of his last name.
Jeb Bush has the money, he has the name recognition, what he needs is to convince the conservatives that he is one of them. If he can take even a modest amount of support from the more right-leaning candidates he has a good shot of winning the nomination. Many Republicans are not convinced that another moderate is the answer for 2016. They tried and failed with two successive moderate nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney. He’ll need to spend more time convincing the public that his is not them rather than trying prove he is not his brother, after all, his brother won.