Alex Massie

Bush 2016!

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Seriously. Well, not impossibly. Perhaps. Weirder things may have happened*.

Yup, Jeb Bush is apparently considering running for Mel Martinez's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. I imagine Jeb would win handily. These days I think people forget that Jeb was the Bush who was supposed to be President. One of the hinge moments in recent American political history is election night 1994** when George W won the Texas gubernatorial race and Jeb lost his race to become governor of Florida. By just 63,000 votes. If memory serves, Bill Minutaglio writes in First Son (still, in my view, the best book about Dubya's pre-White House life) that W was furious that Poppy and Barbara Bush were more saddened by Jeb's defeat than elated by W's victory. "Why can't you be happy for me for once" snapped W (or words to that effect). Perhaps his parents could see what the future might hold?

Because there's not too much doubt, I think, that Jeb, not George, would have been The Guy,  had they both won in 1994. And I think Jeb would have beaten Al Gore too  - certainly it wouldn't have come down to Florida. And you'd have a very different Republican party today. In fact, you might not have a President Obama either, since Jeb might not hav mismanaged affairs so completely as to make Obama's highly improbable candidacy a gamble worth backing.

Speaking to Politico last month, he said conservatives should “do the math of the new demographics of the United States,” explaining that the Republican Party “can’t be anti-Hispanic, anti-young person — anti many things — and be surprised when we don’t win elections.”

That's true. It's not enough for a conservative revival, but it's a start. Of course, Jeb's future prospects - even if he had the ambition  - are murdered by his surname. That's not his fault, of course, but it makes you wonder what he really thinks about his brother.

*Not really. Then again I didn't see Sarah Palin coming, nor the notion of Clinton as SecState.

**Not, as originally written, 2004. Thanks CF!

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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