Barbara Bush Changes Mind on ‘Enough Bushes’

Lest there be any doubt, Barbara Bush wouldn't mind a third POTUS in the family.

Lest there be any doubt, Barbara Bush wouldn’t mind a third POTUS in the family.

WaPo (“Barbara Bush: ‘I changed my mind’ about Bush dynasty“):

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — Two years ago, former first lady Barbara Bush said there had been “enough Bushes” in the White House.

On Friday night here, the family matriarch declared – lest there be any doubt – that she had changed her mind.

At a gala dinner in Bonita Springs, Jeb Bush welcome guests to the 15th annual Celebration of Reading, a literacy charity event sponsored by the Barbara Bush Foundation. Bush, who is preparing for a 2016 presidential run, recalled from the stage his mother’s earlier remarks that their dynastic family was over-represented in the White House.

At that, Barbara Bush popped up on two jumbo screens in the ballroom via Skype.

“Jeb!” she interrupted him. “Jeb, it’s Mom. Listen, what do you mean, ‘too many Bushes’?… I changed my mind!”

The dinner attendees burst into applause.

The nation’s problems were so big, Barbara Bush added, “it doesn’t matter what your last name is.”

“Hey, Mom,” Jeb Bush replied, “can I get that in writing?… Mother, I love you. You’re the greatest mother in the world.”

Barbara Bush then said, “Look who I’ve got with me tonight,” and she moved her computer camera across the room to her husband, former president George H.W. Bush, who sat in a chair smiling.

While the very real prospect of the wife of the 42nd president running against the son of the 41st and brother of the 43rd to be the 45th makes me a bit uneasy, the notion that Jeb Bush shouldn’t be president because of his family ties is silly. He’s as qualified in his own right as any ostensible candidate in the 2016 race. If his platform and personality are the most pleasing to the American voters, then why not?

Despite all the “dynasty” talk, both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will have to survive the grueling gauntlet of a nearly-two-year campaign cycle to win the job. The name recognition and connections to party donors is an advantage but hardly an overwhelming one. Clinton lost her last bid to a political upstart whose very name was a liability in 2008 and Bush faces an uphill fight to persuade the Republican nominating electorate that he’s sufficiently conservative and then persuade the overall population that he’s sufficiently different from his brother.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    Clinton lost her last bid to a political upstart whose very name was a liability in 2008 and Bush faces an uphill fight

    If Hillary hadn’t been the wife of the most recent Democratic president, would she have even been a candidate in 2008? Would she have ever reached the Senate? Would she be known at all? And for all the talk about the damaged Bush brand, would Jeb be anything more than a minor player if not for the substantial ties of the Bush family?

    To dismiss the importance of dynastic politics on the grounds that their victory isn’t 100% inevitable is a copout of the largest order.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod:

    To dismiss the importance of dynastic politics on the grounds that their victory isn’t 100% inevitable is a copout of the largest order.

    Oh, I think the family connection is a huge advantage. Wives and children of famous politicians succeed them all the time. But it’s not a “dynasty” in a true sense because they still have to persuade people to vote for them; they don’t simply inherit the office.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    I’m glad Bab’s changed her mind. I haven’t.
    The last thing we need is another Bush. And the guy is already saying that he won’t discuss his brothers massive failures. Biggest foreign policy blunder in our history and he’s not going to mention it???
    BTW – I’d prefer we didn’t have another Clinton either.

  4. Davebo says:

    I certainly hope Jeb gets the nomination.

    Florida going to the democrats would seal the deal and I would be amazed if Jeb could carry Forida. They know him after all.

  5. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner:

    they still have to persuade people to vote for them

    Yeah…in about the same sense that someone placed 3/4th of the way toward the finish line must still outrun his opponents who started at the beginning.

    Jeb is the frontrunner. He has been the frontrunner ever since he announced. Frontrunners don’t always end up winning the nomination, but in the modern era they usually have. If his name were Jeb Smith, would he really be the frontrunner? Would he be a candidate at all? Would he ever have reached the governorship in the first place?