Jeb Bush to officially announce run for presidency, with exclamation point | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jeb Bush to officially announce run for presidency, with exclamation point

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 8:44 AM

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The confusing thing about Hillary Clinton's kickoff to her campaign on Saturday was that it seemed like she had already kicked off her campaign, and was already running. Likewise, Jeb Bush is set to make his announcement this afternoon in Miami, but I could have sworn that he had been in the race for months. The modern presidential campaign is an endless series of trailers, always promising a big event, only to yield to yet another teaser. 

The Bush campaign yesterday unveiled the campaign logo, with "Jeb" and an exclamation point. Lots of commenters have pointed out that he's choosing to focus on his first name, not his last. Let me add that the exclamation point is the mark of desperately aspirational enthusiasm. From "Asa!" to "Lamar!" — the exclamation point has been the memorable epitaph to losing campaigns that descend into LOL territory. Has Bush — sorry, I mean JEB! — gone from frontrunner to punchline? 

Jeet Heer at the New Republic writes about the diffidence of his campaign, and questions whether voters will buy a Bush peddling compassionate conservatism this time around: 

George H. W. Bush won the presidency by promising a “kinder, gentler America.” His son attained the same office by a program of “compassionate conservatism.” Jeb has, historically, been far less eager to hedge ideological commitments to the right. "We have to dismantle the welfare state if we have any chance of solving our crime problem," Bush told an audience in 1994 during his first bid to be governor of Florida. He once described himself as a “a head-banging conservative” and as governor of Florida ran an administration that was more solidly to the right, completely with support for “stand your ground” laws and a steep tax cut for the rich, than his brothers had been in Texas.

Nate Cohn at the New York Times Upshot blog offers a deep dive on the Bush candidacy and concludes that he's in a relatively weak position— struggling with Tea Party voters, as expected, but also surprisingly weak among the moderates he would depend on for victory: 

It was easy to see Jeb Bush’s path to the Republican nomination when he announced the formation of his super PAC in December. He wasn’t guaranteed to pull it off — not by any stretch — but he seemed well positioned to appeal to the coalition of party elites and blue-state voters that has allowed center-right establishment candidates to win the party’s last two contests.

Mr. Bush might still take exactly this path to the nomination. But the striking — and surprising — thing about his candidacy is that he will formally enter the race Monday bearing many of the costs of the center-right approach without seeming to enjoy many of the benefits.

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