NEW YORK -- Jeb Bush finally announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, promising to “fix” America should the electorate (or the 60% of eligible voters that usually cast a ballot) issue him with keys to the White House.
In an address at Miami Dade College in Florida, the state's former governor hit all the mandatory notes, promising to reinvigorate opportunity at home, restore prestige abroad, while defending the country from Washington, the root of national decline. This would, of course, all be done in deference to God.
Despite Monday’s official start, Jeb's team has already been active, amassing a $100 million fortune in donations, which will soon to be spent bombarding the electorate with positive images of the 62-year-old Texan.
Money aside, Jeb is a formidable candidate, combining work in the private sector (finance and property) with a successful stint as governor, an office he left after eight years in 2007. He speaks fluent Spanish, a draw with Hispanic communities, as is his Colombian wife.
His conservative bona fides are solid. As governor, he extended the rights of gun owners, passed a raft of pro-business policies, and was so “pro-life” he legislated for a feeding tube be placed into the stomach of Terri Schiavo, a woman who had suffered a permanent vegetative state for 13 years. The fiasco contradicted the wishes of the patient’s husband and guardian.
So he’s a shoe-in for the Republican nomination? Not quite.
There’s the difficult matter of his surname (note he’s not running under ‘Bush 2016’). That appendage has already tripped him up, particularly in regards to questions over his brother, George W. Bush’s, role in the Iraq War. The fact his father was president in living memory only adds to the notion of dynasty, a distasteful concept to most Americans who fought a war to end rule by succession.
His brother also rocketed up Federal spending and borrowing during his terms in Washington. Conservatives like less spending and less borrowing.
Then there’s Jeb’s measured approach on immigration -- a red flag issue amongst the grassroots, many who decry anything short of a large wall along the Mexican border (preferably with gun turrets pointing south).
Since leaving office, Jeb has stated he wants to help those who came to the US legally or were smuggled in as children, providing a “pathway to citizenship.” This is a stance usually interpreted as “amnesty for border jumpers” amongst the voters that shape the Republican primaries.
The younger Bush is also in favour of Common Core education, an initiative designed to ensure similar standards of learning across states, particularly in mathematics and English. However, this standardisation emanates from the Federal government, so conservatives have dismissed it as a conspiracy to teach anti-Americanism in schools and even to turn children gay (you read that right).
Ahead of Monday’s announcement, Jeb tweeted out his campaign logo (below). According to HuffPost Pollster, Bush is one of the favourites to receive the nomination behind Senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.