I said on Morning Joe on Monday that I didn’t think the former Florida governor would run in the end for president in 2016. It is clear that in the private meetings Bush has been having of late, and in the rhetoric he is using publicly as part of his current book tour, that he is expressing a greater openness to making the race than he has in a long time.
Given his age and last name, there are those who argue that Bush isn’t the right standard bearer for a party that needs to appeal to a new generation of voters. Two reminders to those who discount Bush’s strength as a candidate.
First, there are no perfect choices; everyone talked about for ’16 has flaws.
Second, Bush has enormous appeal to the people who matter most in the nominating contests for the next two-plus years (the so-called “invisible primary” period). Donors, journalists, pundits, policy wonks, elected officials, and Republican elites all really like Bush and see his potential grassroots appeal. Many also believe that Bush is one of the few people in the party (maybe the only one) who could build and pilot a battleship large enough to take on the widely-anticipated nomination of Hillary Clinton.
Maybe Bush will run. I still think in the end he is more likely to turn away from the challenge and continue to enjoy private life. But I won’t be the least bit surprised if he makes the race, and count me among those who think, as I have written before, that he would be formidable.