The Blog

Artur Davis: 'Draft Jeb Bush'

10:44 AM, Jan 24, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Even former Democratic congressman Artur Davis wants Jeb Bush to run for president. "Enter the last dream date that Republicans may have at their disposal," Davis writes after listing some of the weaknesses on Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. "His name is Jeb Bush, and this time, there is a feasibility around the idea that seemed unthinkable months ago."

 ...Bush has revealed a capacity for coalition-building that has eluded Gingrich. He is a hero of the conservative base who has had remarkable electoral appeal to Jewish and Hispanic voters. He combines support for a modified version of the DREAM Act with backing stronger border security — a middle ground that is both tough-minded and assimilationist — and happens to be entering his fourth decade of marriage to a Hispanic woman. It goes without saying that Bush gives Republicans the best shot of removing Florida from the Democratic column, and winning states with a strong Latino presence such as Arizona and Colorado.

The fact is that Jeb Bush bent Florida, a famously interest-group-ridden state, in a rightward direction; that’s an accomplishment Romney can’t begin to claim vis-à-vis Massachusetts. Bush is not just an authentic movement conservative, but a groundbreaker on an array of issues that drive votes, such as accountability for teachers and reining in the costs of private health insurance. While his record has blemishes that Democrats would exploit, from his stint in the Eighties lobbying for southern-Florida business interests to his ill-timed tenure at Lehman Brothers in 2007, this Bush is an adept, articulate campaigner who is unlikely to be tied in knots defending his history. Also, the statute of limitations seems to have expired on the ugliest sentiments around the last Bush presidency.

Jeb Bush should measure his reluctance against the risks looming for his party and, potentially, his country. The fact is that his party could be staring at an unavoidable disaster unless, in the interests of saving it, its best candidate comes out of retirement.

Davis was an early supporter of Barack Obama's presidential campaign and was reportedly considered for a position in the Obama administration. His article was written for National Review Online

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers