Another Bush prince eyes White House
WASHINGTON — He crisscrossed America on his father George HW Bush’s successful 1988 presidential campaign, and as Florida governor he delivered the state’s votes twice for older brother George W.
Following years in the political trenches for his family, Republican Jeb Bush is finally carving out his own path to the White House.
Should he prevail in his 2016 campaign, which he launched on Monday, Jeb would be the third Bush to occupy the top job as a Republican in a row, an achievement that would cement them as the most powerful dynasty in US history.
The pragmatic conservative will have to convince his party’s base that he is in their corner, while maintaining sufficiently centrist positions to attract the independents needed to win.
Strongly pro-business and antiabortion, the 62-year-old has vowed to be a “happy warrior” on the trail.
He has bucked party orthodoxy, making far-right voters wince at his support for immigration reform, controversial federal education standards and a theoretical willingness to hike taxes as part of a deficit-cutting deal — virtual apostasy in Republican circles.
Mr Bush insists legalising millions of undocumented workers is the immigration debate’s “grown-up plan” — one that will fuel economic growth, unlike the mass deportations advocated by some hard-liners.
Fluent in Spanish, he is more analytical and methodical than his instinct-driven brother, more ideological and bookish than his father.
Mr Bush, who backed the Iraq war but recognised “there were mistakes made” there during his brother’s presidency, has also acknowledged potential pitfalls of running on the family name.
“Jeb is different than George, and Jeb is who he is,” he asserted in a CNN interview in Estonia that aired Sunday at the end of a Europe trip. “My life story is different.”