So, the word is that the fat cat GOP donors are eyeing up Jeb Bush as a presidential candidate for 2016.
If there’s any truth to this—and, tragically, it appears that there most certainly is—then there is but one conclusion left for any remotely sober person to draw:
The Republican Party is politically suicidal.
It is nothing short of incredible that anyone who isn’t one of its arch foes should even consider, much less desire, a Bush, any Bush, to so much as be associated with the GOP, to say nothing of becoming its standard bearer. If Republicans knew what was good for them, they would avoid like the plague anyone with a name that merely sounded like Bush.
To be certain, a wish for Jeb Bush to lead the GOP is a death wish.
First, the damage that George W. Bush inflicted upon the Republican brand can’t be overstated. Barack Obama is terrible for this country, for sure. As we enter into the sixth year of his seemingly endless tenure in office, it is as easy for Republicans to forget just how unpopular Bush II was when he left office as it is easy for them to ignore the fact that Americans still blame him for involving their country in two unnecessary, protracted wars while sliding it into a recession.
Granted, resentment toward the 43rd president is no longer as intense as it once was. However, with another Bush looking to take the White House in 2016, it is nothing less than a foregone conclusion that old feelings will return with a vengeance the likes of which haven’t been seen since 2006 and 2008.
Secondly, as the political climate has changed over the last few years, so too has the temperament of the rank and file, the base, of the Republican Party. To put it simply, for the impulse toward so-called “moderate” candidates for which the GOP has become known, legions of traditional Republican voters in this Age of Obama have unmitigated contempt.
And Jeb Bush typifies the Republican “moderate.”
In 2008, after years of being insulted by John McCain—a Republican, recall, whom the leftist media endlessly praised for being a “maverick” until he dared to run against Obama—some 3 million Republicans decided they simply could not in good conscience vote for him in that year’s presidential election.
Even more telling, four years later, after President Obama had an entire term to reveal his identity to the nation, one million more Republican voters than refrained from voting for McCain refrained from voting for “moderate” Mitt Romney.
If Jeb Bush is the party’s nominee, you can take it to the bank that the GOP will continue to hemorrhage voters in 2016.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.