Jeb Bush

Launching Campaign for President, Jeb Bush Tries to Thread the Needle of His Family History

The GOP hopeful wants you to look past his last name.


Jeb Bush at his campaign announcement

When Jeb Bush announced he's running for president, his kids, grandkids, mom, and wife were there to show their support. Conspicuously absent: his father and brother, who both once held the office the former Florida governor is now seeking.

Bush knows he has a needle to thread when it comes to his family history: He needs to show voters he's "his own man" without trying too hard to put distance between himself and the two President Bushes who came before. He doesn't want to appear disloyal, but he also faces the tall task of overcoming the charge that a vote for Jeb is a vote to keep a political dynasty in power.

The official start of his campaign provides some insight into how he plans to approach this dilemma—and so far he's tackling the problem head-on. His just-launched website,, features a long narrative biography that includes this section—emphasis original:

I know I'm unique in that I have a brother and a father who have both served this nation as president.

Now, before I tell you the story, let me say: my dad is the greatest man I've ever known. And if you don't think so, well, we're going to have words. So my perspective here might be a little colored!

But as I prepare for this job audition, I have thought about their successes and their failures—and learned from them. One of my strongest takeaways was how they were willing to stand up for what they thought was right, in the face of enormous challenges. I saw it firsthand when my dad faced the difficult task of bringing a peaceful end to the Cold War.

Dad managed to maintain trust with his Russian counterparts even as he championed the cause of nations long under Soviet domination….As a result, today, a nation divided by war for decades is whole again, and it is a critical ally of the United States. I don't think that was an accident or inevitable. It happened because my dad understood America's role, and he led. We need that kind of leadership today.

In his prepared remarks, delivered today at Miami Dade College in Florida, Bush spent time actively working to take the legs out from under the idea that he feels entitled to the presidency because of his last name:

Campaigns aren't easy, and they're not supposed to be. And I know that there are good people running for president. Quite a few, in fact.

And not a one of us deserves the job by right of resume, party, seniority, family, or family narrative. It's nobody's turn. It's everybody's test, and it's wide open—exactly as a contest for president should be.

The outcome is entirely up to you—the voters. It is entirely up to me to earn the nomination of my party and then to take our case all across this great and diverse nation.

His strategy, then, seems to be thus: acknowledge his unusual background and the reality that some people will be turned off by it; express gratitude for the lessons his father's and brother's terms in office taught him; and, most important, make it absolutely clear that he intends to win the election on his own merits and the strength of his accomplishments as governor of Florida.

That's about the best answer to the challenge before him he could have given. And while it's far too early to say for sure if it'll work, from where I sit, Bush looks like the man to beat.

NEXT: Another Right-Winger Complains About Violent Video Games. Oh Wait, It's a Feminist.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Prediction: Should Jebber get the GOP nomination, there will be some “libertarians” who will urge that you cast your ballot for this rent seeking scuz cuz he’s the lesser of two evildoers.

    1. Those same people would urge you to vote for a pastrami sandwich if it got the Team Red nomination.

      1. Hey, I happen to like a nice pastrami sandwich. Sure as hell beats the shit sandwich they’re likely to offer us.

        1. Yeah but if you vote for a pastrami sandwich you’ll have the secret service preventing you from eating it for at least four years.

          1. Not if you are Monica Lewinsky

    2. It would be a hard choice, but yes, sometimes awful compromises must be made. Who would you rather have appoint the next 2-3 Supreme Court justices, Jeb Bush or Hillary? I grant there’s no guarantee that Bush’s appointees (or those of any Republican) always vote the way we would like, but I will guarantee that Hillary’s (or any Democrat) will more often vote against libertarian principles.

      1. I am always happy to blame Republicans for their shitty slate of candidates. But their shitweasels aren’t even in the same league as the Democrats. When Hillary “I tried to kill healthcare 15 years before it was cool” Clinton is their most moderate presidential aspirant (so far), it’s ridiculous to lay all the blame at the Republicans’ feet. In a sane world, Jeb Bush would make a fine Democrat. It’s not his fault that Bernie “I literally don’t understand economics, not even a little bit” Sanders is capturing the ideological heart of the party.

      2. “It’s time to grow up and be a realist by pretending that a president from one team will curtail the growth of government by any measurable degree more than a president from the other team. Also by pretending that your vote will make the slightest difference to the outcome of the election.”

      3. Given that Ronald Reagan, GHWB, and GWB presided over three of the four largest expansions of government in history before Obama, (measured by the total take of government, total government spending, total government spending on defense including national security and spying and invading and bombing and torturing and maintaining military installations all over the world, total number of pages added to the Federal Register, total outlays on prison building and expansion and administration, total private assets seized through forfeiture and roadside robbery, and bailouts and subsidies), why would you think such a thing?

        How about the recent 4th amendment jurisprudence? Over and over again, Clarence Thomas votes with the statists whereas the wise Hispanic votes the other way.

        How about Obamacare? Justice Robert’s opinion really helps your narrative!

        How about GHWB’s selection of Justice Souter?

        With friends like that, who needs enemies?

        1. Your complaints are largely valid. Yes, the GOP appointees are no guarantee of libertarian-friendly decisions. But remember, Citizens United was a 5-4 decision. Without the GOP appointees on the Court, the 1st Amendment would have been gutted. That’s worth Clarence Thomas voting the “wrong way” on 4th Amendment issues, to me at least.

          1. Of course, there are some cases where the GOP appointees all voted in favor of a libertarian friendly outcome; to that extent, no argument.

            1. I’m not talking about perfection, just that GOP-appointed justices are generally a better bet than Dem-appointed ones.

      4. Who would you rather have appoint the next 2-3 Supreme Court justices, Jeb Bush or Hillary?

        Pretty much a push.

        1. Say, Preet, which party appointed you US Attorney?

      5. I would rather Bush appoint the next justices, if I had to choose. I’m still not voting for him.

        1. Maybe he’ll hit a home run like his Dad did with Souter!


        2. I’d rather Andrew Napolitano appointed them.

          1. Me too, but do you think an (R) or (D) is more likely to appoint a justice that Napolitano would approve of?

            Right now, someone in the Clinton campaign is looking at lists of possible appointments, probably hoping to find a leftwing gay or transsexual….

      6. I wouldn’t vote for either. Hillary is atrocious, but Jeb would probably give her a position in his administration to be bipartisan. It’s like choosing between Hillary and a horrible disease. Technically the second thing isn’t “corrupt”, but nobody wants it.

      7. Who would you rather have appoint the next 2-3 Supreme Court justices, Jeb Bush or Hillary?

        Yeah, cause 2-3 more Souters and Roberts would be fucking awesome.

    3. He has about as much chance of becoming the president as my dog does. And he doesn’t even really want the job, so we have nothing to worry about on that front.

  2. Heard him speak Spanish.


    1. Si, mu excitante.

    2. Don’t ask his wife to speak English, though….

  3. Zip it back up, Jeb, nobody wants to thread your needle.

  4. Conspicuously absent: his father and brother, who both once held the office the former Florida governor is now seeking.

    In defense of the Bushes, his old man was either on his deathbed or skydiving that day.

  5. So if it’s Jeb Vs Shrillary how long until we officially become a country that’s worse than Nicole?

    1. But Nicole would get worse as well. Maybe even accelerate her worsiness. It might be impossible for the country to ever catch up.

  6. OT: Rachel Dolezal Accused Of Copying Famous ‘Slave Ship’ Artwork. (“Accused” is being generous: yup, she copied J.M.W. Turner.)

    1. Even better was this-

      NAACP Imposter Sued School Over Race Claims Rachel Dolezal alleged she was victim of white discrimination

      They are going to have college level classes about her in a couple years. Book it.

      1. NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Crackers Pretending.

        (No Google hits! I take credit if this gets repeated anywhere.)

    2. Ah the full glory of demoralization;

      “But there is a useful language in trans and cis, which is to just to say some of us are born cis-gendered, some of us are born trans-gendered,” the host considered. “But I wonder can it be that one would be cis-black and trans-black, that there is actually a different category of blackness, about the achievement of blackness, despite one’s parentage?” – Melitha Harrith Perry


      1. Is she cis-annoying or trans-annoying? You decide.

      2. Cis-maroon or trans-maroon? Definitely an ultra-maroon.

  7. Yet another white man running for president? We must deconformify the synergy of the police/political/warstate!

    1. Look, Jeb! is trans-hispanic. Columba! is cis-hispanic. Deal with it.

  8. So my perspective here might be a little colored!

    Uh oh.

  9. When Jeb Bush announced he’s running for president, his kids, grandkids, mom, and wife were there to show their support. Conspicuously absent: his father and brother, who both once held the office the former Florida governor is now seeking.

    Even Jeb Bush is trying to forget his family.

    He needs to show voters he’s “his own man” without trying too hard to put distance between himself and the two President Bushes who came before.

    Stacking his campaign with his brother and father’s cronies hasn’t helped.

  10. He could change his name, maybe to “Jeb Shrub”?

    1. Jeb Pubes.

    2. Yeb Arobusto.

  11. Vampires like libertarians and are too. Libertarian blood does taste better. So, Jeb is not liked at all…..When was the last time he even spoke about us peop…….uh………. Liberty Mike..(looks with sad eyes) Vampires are people too right?

    I mean, so what if sometimes my eyes are bloody, and when I smile folks are a little scared of the fangs……and some get turned on by it too.

    But we operate on the non aggression principle. Are some people jealous because many of us are sexy? I mean…Jeb and his whole family are just freakin ugly people.

    Maybe that’s partly why many of these ugly conservatives like war so much….cause they are not only ugly but probably have small penises so that makes them extra angry at the world, and sexy people and sexy Vampires really make their blood boil.

  12. I started with my online business I earn $58 every 15 minutes. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out.


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.