I have been predicting it for years to mixed reactions. I say Jeb Bush will run for President and has a good chance of winning! Some people agree with me; others, like KGO Radio talk show host and comedian Brian Copeland, disagree. “Ain’t nobody named Bush is ever going to live in the White House again,” Copeland told me during our most recent show on KGO. He may be right, but it won’t be from a lack of their trying.
Now a surprising development has opened the door. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) has announced he will not run for reelection in 2010. Martinez, who was Secretary of Housing for a couple of years under President George W. Bush, has served only one term in the Senate.
Not many Senators depart after one term, but there may have been a back-room deal with the Bushes. “You hold the seat until Jeb’s ready to run!” may have been how the conversation went.
Jeb Bush served two terms as Governor of Florida and was a lot more popular than his older brother. At the relatively young age of 55, he has time to further build his resume. Jeb has already indicated his interest in the open Senate seat, telling Politico.com he is “considering” a run. I think he has an excellent shot.
As for a White House run, I suspect Bush will pass on 2012, unless the economic crisis worsens. I see him as a more viable candidate in 2016, when he may have one full term in the U.S. Senate under his belt. Plus, he’ll have that much more distance between himself and his unpopular brother George. Going way out on a limb, I'll say that a Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton race is not out of the question! He’ll be 63; she’ll be 69.
In recent days I have written about the importance of the growing Hispanic vote in the United States. It was crucial to Barack Obama’s victory. Relatively speaking, Latinos are far more conservative in Florida, especially those from Cuba. Jeb Bush’s wife is Colombian and they have three children of mixed race. Jeb Bush also speaks fluent Spanish. All this will help in his home state and elsewhere.
Jeb Bush’s son, George P. Bush, has also toyed with running for public office, so look for the Bush legacy to march into its fourth generation. Grandpa Prescott Bush was a U.S. Senator from Connecticut, serving with the likes of John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson and Al Gore, Sr. It was quite a class! Of course, Prescott’s son and grandson made it to the White House, and now Jeb appears to be making his plans!
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