'Influential Republicans' back Bush in 2016

According to the Washington Post, unamed but "influential" Republicans are coalescing around former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as their choice for GOP presidential nominee in 2016.

Reading this story, you can't help but think that the effort to create a boomlet for Bush is patently artificial. Mention is made of Romney money men being interested in backing him, but there is no groundswell among Republicans nationwide for a Bush candidacy, and the base would revolt if he won the nomination .

That isn't stopping a small group of Republican bundlers from floating a trial balloon in Las Vegas:

Bush’s advisers insist that he is not actively exploring a candidacy and will not make a decision until at least the end of this year. But over the past few weeks, Bush has traveled the country delivering policy speeches, campaigning for Republicans ahead of the fall midterm elections, honing messages on income inequality and foreign policy, and cultivating ties with wealthy benefactors — all signals that he is considering a run.

Many if not most of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s major donors are reaching out to Bush and his confidants with phone calls, e-mails and invitations to meet, according to interviews with 30 senior Republicans. One bundler estimated that the “vast majority” of Romney’s top 100 donors would back Bush in a competitive nomination fight.

“He’s the most desired candidate out there,” said another bundler, Brian Ballard, who sat on the national finance committees for Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. “Everybody that I know is excited about it.”

I'm sure everyone that guy knows is "excited" about a Bush candidacy - but the rest of the party is decidedly not. And how in the world can a bundler know that a "vast majority" of Romney money men would back Bush?

You see what I mean about "artificial"

On Thursday night, Bush was feted here at a VIP dinner held by Sheldon Adelson inside the billionaire casino magnate’s airplane hangar. When one donor told Bush, “I hope you run for president in 2016,” the crowd of about 60 guests burst into applause, said a donor in attendance.

Bush also met privately with Adelson. One person with knowledge of the conversation said that the former governor was “very laid back and comfortable” and that they did not discuss the 2016 campaign.

Bush has been nurturing donor relationships for years. Earlier this month, he headlined a fundraiser for Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie at former ambassador Al Hoffman’s home in North Palm Beach, Fla. Private-equity manager Lewis M. Eisenberg and former ambassador Ned Siegel were among the heavy hitters in attendance.

And in July, investor Scott Kapnick threw a book party for Bush at his Manhattan apartment. About 100 leading GOP donors showed up.

Such events are a reminder that Bush, the son and brother of past presidents, could quickly activate a large national fundraising network if he runs.

This is the kind of "inside the beltway" reciprocity between the press and pols that makes politics so fake. The Post needed a good Sunday GOP 2016 story and Bush backers needed to generate some artificial momentum to show their boy can be competitive. I'm sure Jeb could raise gobs of cash, but to what end? His stance on immigration is toxic, his name is not an advantage and could be a minus in a general election (even if there was a Clinton running on the other side), and he's been out of office for 7 years.

The sons and brothers - and wives- of former presidents should be constitutionally barred from running for the same office. It makes the US look like a banana republic when the office of president appears to be hereditary. The Founders consciously rejected the monarchial model.

We would do well to continue that tradition.