Run, Mitt, Run

To the surprise of no one who has been following the will-he-or-won’t-he back-and-forth of the past few weeks, it looks he will.  Jeb Bush is running for president.

Okay, he’s not running; he’s just “actively exploring” running.  And Napoleon was “actively exploring” invading Russia.  Let us conservatives hope, then, that Jeb doesn’t meet his own Waterloo in 2016.

The real surprise is that, almost before the pixels have dried on the pundits’ computer screen, Jeb Bush has moved to the head of the pack of presidential hopefuls, leading runner-up Christie by a full ten points according to a CNN poll.

Is it too early to warn conservative Republicans of the danger of sitting out an election?  Failing to heed such warnings then gave us four more years of Obama, five million legalized-by-fiat immigrants, and normalized relations with Cuba and perhaps with Iran.  Failing to heed such warnings in ’16 leaves conservatives with one, and only one, other choice: get ready for Hillary.  And perhaps get ready, too, for the justice Hillary nominates to replace Nino Scalia.

So, GOP conservatives, consider yourselves warned.  By all means, support whomever you like in the primaries.  But commit yourselves also to support, in the general election, whoever emerges as our 2016 candidate.

And please, Lord (and fellow conservatives), whomever we nominate, let our candidate be a governor.  The times are too perilous, the stakes too high, to risk picking a candidate with no managerial/executive experience, preferably behind a governor’s desk.  Let us not learn the hard way, as our friends on the left learned with Obama, the folly of filling the highest, most important executive position in the nation, with someone who has never run so much as a 7-Eleven.

I will do everything I can to elect Ted Cruz if he is nominated, despite the total absence so far of evidence of any ability to reach out even to the other side of his own party, let alone to Democrats.  And fortunately for conservatives, there is at least one potential governor presidential candidate who should satisfy, if not delight, conservatives: Bobby Jindal.

But Jindal has not announced a candidacy, nor has Chris Christie (whom, if he does run, conservatives will find less palatable than Jeb Bush) or Rick Perry.  So for the time being, at least, there is only one announced candidate who has governed anything: Jeb Bush, whose electoral strength, based on the aforementioned CNN poll, many observers have underestimated.  So let us see what other strengths – and weakness – Jeb would bring to a presidential race, courtesy of George Will, who manages, in one succinct paragraph, to summarize both Jeb’s positives and his negatives:

Bush, 61, is the tax-cutting, fiscally austere, school-choice-promoting, gun-rights-protecting, socially conservative, Spanish-speaking, former two-term governor of the most important swing state.  But for some Republicans, his virtues and achievements are vitiated by his positions on immigration and the Common Core education standards.

Also, Jeb was the very popular “two-term governor of the most important swing state.”  Jeb’s fluency in Spanish, of course, has nothing to do with conservatism.  But being able to hablar español certainly confers an advantage in an important swing state with a large Cuban population.

Or perhaps we should add a third item to the “Cons” list: Jeb’s surname.  Some, perhaps many Republicans who would have no problem voting for “Jeb Smith” or “Jeb Jones” would find it hard to vote for a Jeb Bush.  Those with a strong aversion to another Bush candidacy, who prefer their politics served hot à la Cruz or Paul, ought to Get Ready for Hillary, because no conservative firebrand is going to defeat the potential First Woman President.  Not gonna happen.

Oh, and one more thing: Ben Carson for VP, regardless of whom we choose for the top slot in the ticket.  A Bush-Carson ticket would, in this writer’s view, be a formidable ticket for the GOP to send into battle against presumed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

But a Romney-Carson ticket would be even better.  Romney, the guy who was proven right on every point of disagreement with Obama in the presidential debates.  Romney with a House and a Senate controlled by Republicans.  Romney without the persecution of conservative 501(c)s.  Romney with an election apparatus that, as we just saw in November, has erased Democrats’ ground game advantage, specifically to include the new techniques of data mining and micro-targeting.

And Romney with conservatives who learned the lessons of  2012 and show up at the polls, this time?

Run, Mitt, run!

Gene Schwimmer is a New York-licensed real estate broker and the author of The Christian State.  Follow Gene Schwimmer on Twitter.

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