Beating up on Governor Jeb Bush over his failed press tour and his two consecutive 180 degree flips on immigration is too easy, and not worthy of any more column inches. But what is interesting in the recently released PPP poll is that Marco Rubio’s views on immigration are now far clearer and better known to Floridians than Jeb Bush’s, despite the former Governor appearing on what seemed like 1,000 television shows in a single week to discuss the issue. The latest evidence of this reality was today’s PPP poll release which indicated Rubio’s views on immigration appear more consistent and are better known than Bush’s. After all, Bush changed his position on the issue TWICE in that one week of media barnstorming, and as I wrote at the time, the former Governor lacked the confidence and the courage in his convictions that generally characterized his political career in Florida. As Talking Points Memo referred to it, Bush pulled a 360, or maybe we could call it a”flip-flop-flip-flop”
The Bush/Rubio relationship has always been interesting because as a member of the Florida House, Rubio was a Bush loyalist. During the 2010 US Senate run and his subsequent service in the Senate, Governor Bush served as Rubio’s biggest cheerleader outside of perhaps Senator Jim DeMint. But once Rubio emerged as both the GOP “flavor of the month” and the de-facto immigration spokesperson for the party, I sensed some jealously with Bush. Seemingly having to peddle his book, and counter the growing “Rubio-mania” in the GOP and among conservative activists, Bush took a horrible misstep. When a relationship changes between mentor and protege, sometimes jealously ensues. But often times the partnership stays together even if the relationship changes…Rumsfeld/Cheney, Connally/LBJ, Daley/Rostenkowski all fit this bill. But perhaps Jeb Bush really wants to be President and one of his biggest road blocks in his mind is now Marco Rubio. But maybe Bush should back off any Presidential ambition if Rubio-mania continues to grow in the next two years, and instead play a decisive role in attempting to secure the nomination for the Florida Senator.
In my opinion, Bush withdrew his name from the CPAC straw poll because he was going to be crushed by Rubio, something which would prove professionally and personally humiliating. Bush is a favorite of the “intellectual” wing of the GOP, a dying breed of K-street based lobbyists, Washington think tank executives, talking heads and magazine publishers. Rubio has emerged as a favorite of younger GOP political insiders AND conservative activists nationally, and his current base of support swamps any coalition Bush can possibly put together.
In time, Rubio may fizzle out as a national political force, but what is obvious is as long as he continues to be such a strongly supported figure within the GOP, Governor Bush’s relevance as an independent figure is waning. The Bush media tour and CPAC just served to reinforce this reality.
Jeb was never going to be President with the Bush legacy to overcome. He ought to just accept that and move on.
Either way the Republicans will loose! Besides Florida’s most popular official, Crist is now a Democrats!
[…] I try and read Bloomberg Businessweek on time each week, but I have fallen behind recently. I get the magazine delivered to my Kindle in a timely fashion but am often weeks behind in actually reading the magazine. This morning while kindling (as my office mates call it when I whip out my Kindle and start reading) two articles from earlier in the month caught my attention. One is an interview with Jeb Bush where he says the GOP is anti-everything while the other is a discussion of the growing “sibling rivalry” between Bush and Marco Rubio a topic we’ve discussed previously on this site. […]