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Jeb Bush has been doing an excellent job of playing hard-to-get.
For more than a decade, the past Florida governor has repeatedly and regularly denied any invitations to throw his hat in the ring and vie for national office. Whether these polite declines are genuine or part of a larger and subtle strategy to slowly build up interest and increase political clout is only known to Bush.
But with more and more political watchers speculating who will be the serious contenders in the still-to-come battle royale of the 2016 election season, Bush’s name continues to be thrown out as possible presidential material.
So will he or won’t he? Or the better question, should he or shouldn’t he?
Here’s why we think Jeb Bush belongs and may even be the best for the job.
Voters would receive someone who doesn’t necessarily always follow the views and opinions of his family or his party. During his time in Florida, Bush championed a diverse amount of activities and projects, including some that may have been branded too bi-partisan or costly in other states. These included a high-speed rail system and large efforts to clean up the Everglades.
He advocates improvements in the GOP
Depending on who you talk to, or what talking head is doing the talking, the Grand Old Party needs to either look for ways to work closer with other parties to get things done or stand firm and uncompromising in its conservative nature. During a presentation to national Republicans in 2012, Bush said that the party needs to make its tent much bigger to accommodate more voices, and efforts to move things further right would only continue to alienate voters. He famously said that his father and Ronald Reagan, who both symbolize a golden time for the modern GOP, wouldn’t receive near the support they did if they were around today, especially for their bi-partisan, moderate, even polite approaches.
While in Florida, he successfully created coalitions of support among Hispanic communities, something he remains proud of. The modern GOP is sometimes criticized for not being inviting enough to different demographics like Hispanic-American or African-American communities, even though both of these groups continue to grow. Likewise, he was and still is an advocate for immigration reform, another area where he differs with some in his party.
Strong business experience
Professional politicians like Bill Clinton are sometimes dinged for doing nothing but running for or staying in office. But candidates should also bring expertise and experience in other sectors. After leaving the governor’s mansion, Bush has been part of private boards and organizations that promote improvements in health care, national educational standards, and reforms to investment communities. Earlier in life, he worked in banking, real estate, investing, and foundations, and even helped create Florida’s first charter school.
Overall, a Jeb Bush candidate could be just what the modern Republican Party needs to be seen as relevant and responsive, rather than something dogmatic and intractable. Though adhering to pure conservative values is a nice philosophy, it may take more substance to win elections and welcome undecided voters.