By Javier Manjarres
While many tuned-in politicos believe that Senator Marco Rubio is the current front-runner for the the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, one not so small obstacle that the junior Senator from Florida may face would be if former Governor Jeb Bush also decides to run for President.
Bush was one of Rubio’s closest advisors and throughout his 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate and many anticipated an ‘end-game’ endorsement which never came, as Rubio had cruised by Crist months before he won the Republican primary.
Bush has previously stated that Rubio is the “most gifted orator” he’s ever heard and he also endorsed a Rubio vice-presidential nomination last year.
While both of these men are very popular throughout the state, some polls show Bush leading Rubio in a head-to-head matchup among Republicans in Florida.
The American Conservative Union recently announced that it has booked Bush to speak at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March. This will be Bush’s first appearance in front of CPAC, and many are speculating that his appearance at the event signals a potential 2016 presidential candidacy.
Bush served as Florida governor for two terms and since leaving office in 2006 has been vocal about the Republican Party’s need to reach out to minorities. He’s also been critical of the Republican Party’s failure to embrace comprehensive immigration reform and made education policy a key priority during his time leading Florida. – Newsmax
In addition to Bush’s CPAC appearance, National Review is also reporting that Bush in Washington with a number of cabinet members of former President George W. Bush. When asked to comment directly on the rumors the meeting was tied to a forthcoming run, Bush would only say that the meeting was about education policy.
On policy matters, Bush and Rubio have their differences on immigration reform. Bush supports a one shot ‘blanket’ pathway to citizenship, aka amnesty; while Rubio believes that immigration reform needs to be accomplished incrementally to best address the different aspects of the complicated process.
Bush recently criticized Rubio’s bipartisan immigration reform proposal with Senator John McCain as being “shortsighted and self-defeating.”
While Bush remains popular in the state, it’s hard to deny that the “Bush” name in politics is not only too polarizing, it is also too closely associated Republican establishment. Many observers believe that as a result of the relentless media bashing that his brother George endured throughout his two terms, enough people within the party are either weary of or hostile towards yet another member of the family seeking the presidency.
Bush likely does see that the future of the GOP rests with the next generation of charismatic and likeable leaders who have the ability to effectively message the electorate, as does Rubio. While the conservative “heavies” including Rush, Hannity, and Levin still respect Bush, they’ve already signaled that they would not be supportive of Bush were he to run in 2016.
The 2016 Republican Presidential primary season will unofficially kick off sometime towards the end of next year. Other likely contenders for the nomination include Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Paul Ryan who also are considered among the next generation of leaders within the Republican party. Take the poll and share the story.