Fair. Balanced. American.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bush is coming back

Jeb, that is. Is he preparing the way for 2016? Or 2012? Note, meanwhile, that he's working against Charlie Crist, who at this stage really needs to decide if he wants to stay in the GOP or run as an independent.
• While Bush has not formerly endorsed Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate, his influence in the race has been anything but neutral. Bush chastised national Republicans for siding too quickly with Gov. Charlie Crist, and has personally encouraged Rubio to push ahead. With Bush's influence, Rubio has cut Crist's lead in the polls in half. [...]

Those close to Bush said he took a backseat after he left office to avoid upstaging Crist, whose approval ratings hovered close to 70 percent for most of his first two years in office. But with Crist's moderate record costing him support with the GOP's conservative base, Bush feels unrestrained in offering a guiding hand to a party that has been in turmoil for months. Greer, a staunch Crist ally, said he was forced out by the Tea Party faction that would rather "burn the house down" than open the party to broader perspectives.

Bush, whose conservative credentials, socially and economically, are unquestioned, carries none of the baggage Crist has been saddled with for supporting President Barack Obama's stimulus package. [...]

Charlotte County GOP Chairman Bob Starr said the choice of Thrasher to lead the party is out of character for Bush, who rarely weighed in on the party's organization structure when he was governor from 1998 to 2006.

Starr said that back then, Bush took a hands-off approach to the party and its votes for the chairmanship.

Crist, by contrast, has been deeply involved in tooling the party's machinery. Even as Greer faced growing criticism for his management style, including the free-wheeling use of GOP credit cards, Crist stood by him.

The ouster of Greer was viewed by many Republicans as a setback for Crist, who no longer has his man running the state party. In fact, it might now become Jeb Bush's ally.
Make no mistake about it, Bush would be formidable national figure for the GOP in 2012. If he enters the presidential race, Huckabee and Palin are roadkill, and Romney might be as well. Will he do it? Depends how weak Obama looks in mid-2011. But he's setting things up, just in case. No one, after all, knows the importance of controlling the levers of power in a battleground state during a presidential campaign better than Jeb.

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