Matt Towery

I'm an only child. My parents apparently felt one -- or perhaps this particular one -- was enough.

 I've never known what it's like to have a brother or sister more successful, lucky or popular than I.

 So I'm wandering into unknown terrain when I examine the latest InsiderAdvantage survey in Florida. In it, Gov. Jeb Bush enjoys an approval rating of 59 percent. That's stratospheric compared to the approval ratings of his brother, the president, which are hovering below 40 percent. 

 If Jeb Bush was jealous of his brother's election to the presidency in 2000, he's never shown a sign of it. Nor is there now any countersign of resentment toward Jeb from George W. as the White House takes the blame for everything wrong in creation, and gets zero credit for an overall strong economy and employment level.

 Still, in all, it might be time for the family president to allow the family governor to conduct a seminar for the White House on how to run a tight ship without appearing to be so tight in personal style. Attendance by the president and all his handlers would be mandatory.

 The dirty little secret in Florida is that many top GOP legislators don't care for Gov. Bush. They find him too dictatorial and arrogant. But the operative word here is "secret." Their dislike isn't in the open because Bush is too popular for the discontented to gain anything by airing their annoyance publicly.

 Add to the list of Jeb detractors much of Florida's political media. Some of this is de rigueur for a self-styled progressive press corps. Even so, there is still a reluctant degree of respect for Bush for at least his political astuteness.

 The contrast between the Bush brothers almost seems to defy genetics. One difference is their respective styles at press conferences. Even as many in the media try to pin down Jeb Bush on this issue or that information tidbit, the governor always responds quickly and confidently, and brushes off stupid and loaded questions like a prizefighter ducking weak jabs.

 He invites sharp inquiries with a mastery of facts. He is Florida's version of John F. Kennedy when it comes to interacting with the press.

 But President Bush appears skittish about encounters with national reporters. He often wears his trademark smirk in their presence. I don't think this expression betrays arrogance, but only a man whose genuine friendliness sometimes wanders over into goofiness.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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