Opinion: Columnists

Rubio, not Bush, is the right name for the GOP in 2016

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Opinion,Noemie Emery,Columnists,Marco Rubio,2016 Elections,Jeb Bush

Let's get one thing clear: If someone could wave a wand and make Jeb Bush president it would be a very good thing for the world and this country. As his mother said, he is the best-prepared person.

But as his mother also said, he shouldn’t be running. And the reasons are becoming more clear by the day.

Problem one is that much like Mitt Romney, he is one political generation too old. Both last held office in 2006, and seem to have stayed there.

Problem two is the anguished ambivalence, reminiscent of Mario Cuomo and Adlai E. Stevenson, which does not bode well for future campaigning.

As for problem three, the Bush brand, it seems to be rising, as Bush 41 has been given an upgrade, Bush 43 is now above water, and his successor makes him look better each day. The Iraq war was won when he left it; Hillary Clinton voted for the invasion (and against the surge) and her words can be used against her. The entire Middle East has become a disaster under the ministration of Democrats; and if the issue were truly a killer, John McCain would never have stayed so close to Obama -- and been in fact leading him by widening margins when the stock market crashed.

But the Bush problem is that polls show people still hold Bush 43 responsible for the crash of 2008 and its aftermath, though the housing bubble was the result of a discrete group of problems for which he was not wholly to blame. Experts know this, and books have been written about it, and in time the truth will seep through to the people. But it won’t do it by 2016.

Problem four, which is really the big one, is that the party needs someone to unite and excite all the wings of the party, and Bush clearly isn’t the one. Nothing is more tiring than the conservative complaints about being used and abused by the Establishment (when their real problem is that they run terrible candidates), but the truth is that when you incite hysterics in half of the party, you have a problem that won’t go away.

The Tea Party surely has had its bad moments (the shutdown is one of them), but it has also developed a sizable group that works and plays well with others, and it is to these that the party should look. They are young, and make Hillary Clinton look tired.

They come from humble sometimes immigrant, backgrounds, and make her look overly rich and entitled. Their diversity makes her look whiter than ever. None has a relative who has ever been president, but one has a mentor who is the son and the brother of presidents, and a Cuban last name: Marco Rubio.

Rubio looks like a Bush, likes the Bush issues, has an eloquence equaled by none in his party, and has been called both a Tea Party and an Establishment figure, sometimes on the same day.

The last three Democrats to be president won as outsiders, running against older, long-time insiders, who themselves came from rich and establishment families. Jeb Bush should call it a day, and become the godfather of the first Hispanic president, who, with Kelly Ayotte on his ticket, will fight Hillary to a race/gender draw.

The symbolic son will keep the seat warm till the real one -- George P. Bush -- is ready.

Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."
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