David Brooks: If Romney falters ‘entire Washington establishment’ goes into ‘conniption fits’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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The topsy-turvy nature of the 2012 race for the Republican nomination suggests that a lack of cash isn’t the kind pf impediment for a candidate that once was. And New York Times columnist David Brooks says that could have left the door open for anyone — including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, had he decided to run. On Friday’s “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS, Brooks said the younger Bush would be up in the polls, despite his family link with former President George W. Bush.

“I still basically think there’s one real candidate, and that’s Mitt Romney,” Brooks said. “But suppose there were two. Suppose Jeb Bush had decided to get in the race? Everybody said, ‘Oh, you can’t do it. You’re Jeb Bush. Your last name is Bush.’ But if Jeb Bush were in the race right now, I think he would be the front-runner, even regardless of the name.”

A Jeb Bush candidacy according to Brooks would satisfy the “serious establishment types” and the “more conservative types” at the same time.


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On NPR’s “All Things Considered,” broadcast Friday, Brooks doubled down on his Bush hypothesis.

“If Jeb Bush were in this race, he would be the front-runner right now even with the Bush last name,” Brooks said. “And I bet he’s kicking himself because he would be the guy who could unify some of the tea party and some of the Romney folks.”

Brooks answered the question he posed on “NewsHour” — what if Romney falters? Expect trouble inside Washington, D.C. establishment circles, he said.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to switch to the ‘who’s actually going to run the country?’ phase, and then I think Romney will [prevail],” Brooks said. “I don’t think there will be irreconcilable divide. The interesting question for me is what happens if Romney has a bad week or two bad weeks … what happens if he begins to look doubtful? Then you see the entire Washington establishment going into conniption fits.”

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