After two terms as governor, he had cut taxes, enacted the most extensive public school reform in any state, restructured health care and, after dealing with some three dozen natural disasters of varying degrees of severity, earned praise for crisis management. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans, he held an approval rating of 63%. Friendly, self-deprecating, well-read and articulate, he stood in a strong position to capture the 2008 Republican nomination for president—but his last name is Bush.
Jeb Bush, knowing full well that the nation would not elect another member of his family this time around, went into political hiding, coming out only occasionally to give a speech, or host a diner. One of the most interesting and innovative republican governors was effectively off the playing field.
But he may already be eying a return to the political spotlight. With the recently announced retirement of Mel Martinez there is going to be an open senate seat in Florida, and Jeb is seriously considering a run. With his still-potent popularity, he has to be considered a prohibitive favorite for the seat. Does this portend a possible run for national office in 2012? He certainly has a lot to offer.
*He is an intensely practical politician, which would endear him to the business wing of the party as well as moderates.
*He is a man of faith --raised an Episcopalian, later a Roman Catholic --Bush would reassure religious conservatives without scaring the more religiously centrist among us.
*He could help expand the GOP brand top Hispanics. Married to a Mexican, he speaks fluent Spanish, and he insists that legal immigration is good for the nation. Hispanics are "as American in their pursuit of traditional dreams ... as any other group."
*He has a more accomplished resume than most other possible candidates as well as current office holders.
President-Elect Obama has yet to make a single executive decision and the list of potential 2012 opponents is already starting to gel, Palin, Huckabee, Gingrich, Jindal, Pawlenty & Romney to name a few. Should we be adding Bush to the list? Maybe.