One issue on which Jeb Bush believes Republicans dropped the ball was Social Security and Medicare reform. "I was disappointed that the Republicans didn't rally around (the president)," he says. It wasn't just Democrats being opposed to it. I think it was the gutless nature of a lot of Republicans in Congress. This was the beginning of what I saw as the demise. When they had a chance to unite behind the president to advance a solution to this ticking time bomb, some did, but many blinked." Still, he thinks that because his brother touched the notorious third rail and didn't blink, it will be easier for a new president to enact meaningful and necessary reform of Social Security and Medicare.
Bush thinks whoever wins the presidential election will have an opportunity to institute reforms, though he says McCain would be the better reformer. "Senator Obama hasn't proved himself capable yet to take on one of his core constituencies. His is an orthodox candidacy wrapped in an unorthodox campaign. The veneer is amazingly new and eloquent, but he won't upset one of his core constituencies of the Democratic Party and people are becoming aware of it."
Jeb Bush, the brother of one president and the son of another, is proud of both men. And he thinks history will treat Bush 43 far better than opinion polls do now: "I think when people look back on this period they are going to admire his resolve and they're going to say he was right. They'll also say that after Sept. 11, 2001, there was the feeling that it was the first of a series of attacks on our country and it didn't happen. That is a heck of an accomplishment (and while) no credit will be given now, in the long run he will get credit for it."
Jeb Bush says he has no "burning desire" to be president and didn't "before, during" and now after being governor. History, however, has a way of igniting such desire and his day may yet come. He could very well be the next member of the "Bush dynasty" to become president.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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