Although the US 2012 presidential election has ended only two weeks, attention has shifted to 2016. The GOP rumor mill is already alive with speculations that Jeb Bush may run for GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
The speculations about Bush's intentions follow earlier suggestions that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida may be considering seeking Republican nomination in 2016.
The New York Times reports that the question about Mr. Bush's intentions has cast a pall of uncertainty over Marco Rubio's ambition because a decision by Bush to run in 2016 will inevitably clash with Rubio's. According to The Business Insider, Rubio will pose no challenge to Bush because he is Bush’s protege and could be made to step aside until 2020 or otherwise join Bush in the 2016 ticket.
The Daily Caller reports that earlier this month, a poll by Public Policy Polling showed that Bush and Rubio are the presidential favorites among Florida Republicans with Bush being preferred by 28 percent and Rubio, 22 percent.
The New York Times reports that Bush, 59, is weighing the relevant financial and family issues, having suffered a financial setback recently. He is also having to carefully consider the prospects of the "Bush brand" in the Republican Party, and the US political scene at large.
However, with the defeat of Romney pinned on his failure to attract Hispanic and other fast growing demographic groups' support, attention has shifted to Bush as a candidate who can make the party more inclusive without ceding conservative principles.
He is seen as the candidate who can deliver the Hispanic vote because his wife, Columba, was born and raised in Mexico, he speaks Spanish and advocates overhauling the immigration system to provide a route to citizenship for law-abiding illegal immigrants. He supports school choice and stricter performance standards. His opposition to abortion would endear him to social conservatives and he is against higher taxes.
According to Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and a friend and adviser to Bush, for now the answer to the question whether Bush will run in 2016 is "neither a ‘no’ nor a ‘yes.'" He said: “It continues to intrigue him, given how much he has to share with the country.”
When asked whether his father would run, Jeb Bush Jr, said: "I certainly hope so."
The New York Times comments that the growing calls for Jeb Bush to enter the race may represent a vindication of his family's call for a Republican Party that is more inclusive and "compassionate," a call that was ignored when the party swung in favor of nativist advocates of small government and held the door open to candidates many Republicans now concede were unfit after a sound thrashing at the election.
But lingering doubts about the "Bush brand" may be the only major obstacle Bush must face. The "Bush brand" became a liability of sorts only after George W. Bush broke with the nativist right in his second term after he advocated a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, presided over bailouts and expanded the size of government.
The New York Times reports that calls for Bush to run grew louder after Romney told donors that Obama won the election with "gifts" to Hispanics and African-American voters.
Ms. Navarro, a Republican strategist, said: “That stupid comment that came out of Mitt Romney’s mouth would never in a million years have come out of Jeb Bush’s mouth because he doesn't think it. This election result has made Jeb Bush’s voice that much wiser and that much more needed for the Republican Party: What he’s been warning about all along proved to be true.”
According to Tampa Bay Online, Bush was among the most sought-after figures at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. During the RNC, a political analyst Darryl Paulson, described him as "the face of the Republican Party. Paulson said: "He is without equal within the party. Obviously, there were a lot of people who wanted him to run, a lot of people wanted Romney to select Jeb as his vice president. One of his great strengths, and I would guess one of his roles, is going to be to broaden the appeal of the Republican base."
The question still remains to be answered whether voters would consider electing another Bush to office. Opinions differ on this point. According to The New York Times, Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor and Republican Party chairman, said: “When do you think John Quincy Adams was able to put his father’s unpopularity behind him?”
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, argued that Bush's brand is based on his record in Florida. He said: “The irony is the platform that he has is based more on his first name and what he did in Florida than what his last name is."
However, other analysts, including friends, say that Bush's biggest concern is not his name and that beside financial issues, he is concerned about how his decision will affect his family, particularly the political prospects of his sons, Jeb Bush Jr., 29, founder of a political action committee, Sun Pac, formed to promote and recruit conservative Hispanic political candidates; and George P. Bush, 36, who has reportedly filed paperwork in Texas in preparation for a campaign to become land commissioner.