Monday, June 18, 2012

Bush Again

After wonderful 8 years of President George W. Bush (and Vice President Richard Cheney) it was a given that Jeb Bush the Bush prodigy that should've been president, wouldn't be POTUS anytime soon after January 20, 2009.

It sometimes feels that the election of a Bush after President George (H.W.) Bush's reelection loss to William Jefferson Clinton in 1992 seemed a certainty and those responsible for Bush 41's defeat will get their comeuppance. Bush Junior has always been protective of his father and for the popular wartime POTUS to be defeated by Clinton and a third-party candidate, H. Ross Perot, a man from the era of first initials. With Bush 41 not pulling a Grover Cleveland, the 1990s became the path the younger Bushes needed to build credibility to eventually run for president.

Jeb seemed the likely one with the intellectual curiosity, his brother George lacked. Junior was an outdoor westerner, not an indoor thinker. And just to note, people in the West think indoors and outdoors...speaking as someone from the American West. But Junior wanted it more or he was a better politician than Jeb...or because he had a desire for revenge against those that humiliated his father with defeat.

While they both ran for governorships in 1994, Junior in Texas and Jeb in Florida, Junior was the victory. He defeated Ann Richards who famously insulted then Vice President Bush, who was seeking the 1988 GOP presidential nomination, with her line in the keynote speech: "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth". With his victory Governor George W. Bush had a shot for the GOP nomination, but not in 1996.

The GOP would nominate Bob Dole, senator from Kansas and 1976 GOP vice presidential nominee, because it was his turn and his challengers weren't going to prevent that. While Clinton's presidency started going downhill from the start in 1993 and the citizens confirmed it by the disastrous Democratic loss in the 1994 mid-term elections, the Newt Gingrich (House of Representatives) - Bob Dole (the Senate) led Congress only helped to turn Bill Clinton's fortunes around. By the spring of 1995, Clinton started to look unbeatable the following year. Those two factors probably contributed to Governor Bush abstaining from the 1996 Presidential Election. Just as Dole turn came, so too would Governor Bush's.

In 1998 both Bush Brothers were on ballots again for governor in their respective states and this time both celebrated election night victories. The time for Texas-Bush to run is ASAP. He was now a governor elected to two terms and by the start of the next presidential administration on January 20, 2001, he would have served six years as the chief executive of the nations second largest state. By that next presidential inauguration date from 1998, Florida-Bush would only be governor for two years and while he may be more wonky than Texas-Bush it wouldn't be his turn.

So Texas-Bush's turn for the GOP nomination would be 2000 and John McCain would be the one with the most to disagree with that idea, although it would help him become the next-in-line because of his opposition to Bush in 2000. Bush would go on to win the needed electoral votes to become POTUS, but would lose the popular vote to Vice President Al Gore in a ruling by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. Bush won the presidency with a federal court decision over turning a state court ruling in the Florida recount, and Gore accepted the Court's decision no matter how much he disagreed with it. Defeating Gore was an extension of Bush 43 seeking revenge on those that defeated Bush 41, since Gore is a product of the Clinton administration Bush's victory is a jab at Clinton. Of course Clinton and Bush 41 would eventually become super friends in the first decade of the 21st Century, going on missions for Bush 43 and Clinton too became friends with his successor. But the 2000 election and the aftermath is another topic altogether.

Bush 43 goes on to becoming a wartime POTUS, at first not by choice but when he does the neo-conservatives that filled the administration continued to spend money and enlarge the size of the government, which had been reduced during the Democratic Clinton/Gore administration. After reelection in 2004, Bush 43 slowly but surely starts to see the light and after the mid-term defeats in 2006 starts to take control away from the neo-cons. But by then we were in two wars and spending like crazy ensuring a Democratic victory in 2008. Ten years after being elected governor of Florida and reelected as well, Jeb Bush was ready to be POTUS...but not after 8 years of an unsuccessful presidency not just an administration of your own political party, but your brother was the chief executive. No Bush would be elected in 2008.

By 2008, the Tea Party group came on to the political scene decrying the big government overreach and big spending. The opposition to Bush 43 would say where have you been since 2002 (the State of the Union Address which coined the term "Axis of Evil" and started us on this path of multiple wars on the credit card). But the group is here. By 2010 they have successfully influenced elections, supported and endorsed candidates. The Tea Party faction of the Republican Party was taking over. Factions within political parties come and go, they win seats when they come and lose seats big time on their way out. The Democrats have had the Copperheads, Dixiecrats, and Blue Dogs to name a few. While the Republicans have had Half-Breeds, Stalwarts, and Neo-Cons. The Tea Party and Christian Right have seized dominance over the rest of the party...the faction of the party that Jeb Bush and more than likely Bush 41, 43 and Dick Cheney belong to which is to show the diversity in this small faction alone.

Jeb stood up recently denouncing those that oppose compromise...namely those that have taken control of the GOP which Jeb feels is not the same as the days of Ronald Reagan and George (H.W.) Bush or even his own. Democrats ran against Herbert Hoover for a generation and Bush 43 will be no different. Jeb's chances at running might not occur. However with his recent statement on the divisiveness in our politics, brought on by those in constant opposition to compromise like the current GOP, Jeb has an opportunity to become the uniter that Bush 43 failed to accomplish in 2000 after the divided election and Barack Obama was unable to achieve with his hope and change in 2008, no thanks to the GOP's lack of trying. Jeb just needs to stand up to those that took over the Grand Old Party.

Imagine a faction taking control of the party and that faction's choice would mean certain electoral defeat, so the only thing to do would be to stand up to that faction with your own campaign for electoral...well defeat. This is essentially the election of 1912. Theodore Roosevelt was upset with how his successor William Howard Taft did nothing to main the legacy TR created in the two previous presidential terms. So TR and his progressive constituents bolted the party in response to the conservatives support of the incumbent, Taft. With TR in the race on the Progressive Party ticket, or the Bull Moose Party, he would divide the GOP vote in 1912 ensuring the victory of the Democratic progressive Woodrow Wilson. That election would be the last election a former president runs for the presidency again but also the first and only time a third-party came in second. A similar scenario can occur in 2016...assuming President Obama is reelected.

Now if Mitt Romney wins in 2012 then this is just political fantasy. If the A-Team that sat out this last GOP primary/caucus season sits out the 2016 because the crazy B-Team thinks it's A-Team material because they went through the cycle once before or more unqualified individuals think they can do it too, then someone should bolt the party. Jeb could be that person. It would certainly split the vote, but those that have taken over the party won't appeal to the Democratic opposition anyway, but Jeb could appeal to the crucial independents that determine the elections as well as the remaining sane-thinking Republicans now called RINOs (Republican In Name Only), the Reagans, Bushes, Cheneys. But of course if Jeb pulled a TR, he would more than likely give the election to the Democratic candidate just like Perot did in 1992 and the opposite with Ralph Nader in 2000. Especially if the economic fortunes turn around in a second Obama administration...surely guaranteeing a Hillary Clinton victory in 2016. Remember this is just political fantasy.

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