The Jeb Bush Blitzkrieg

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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I’m having a schizophrenic reaction to the Jeb Bush blitzkrieg.

In case you haven’t heard, he’s set to give a big speech today in Chicago, and as Reid Wilson notes, will be “rolling out 21 foreign policy advisers, all of whom worked for GHWB and/or GWB.” Meanwhile, Politico’s Marc Caputo and Ben White take a look inside Jeb’s “shock and awe” campaign.

Reading these stories leaves the casual observer with two visceral, yet conflicting, emotions….

First, the negative “gut” reaction: Here we go again… Yet another Bush firing up the family juggernaut, circling the wagons and rounding up the big money. That he’s taking advice from some of the very same advisers who gave us the last Bush president (who gave us the current GOP years in the wilderness, as well as the current GOP identity crisis) only goes to show that — despite his protestations — Jeb Bush ain’t his “own man.” (They say he’s different from brother Dubya, but let’s be honest: Will Ferrell would play them both on SNL.)

Perhaps, like me, you had enough of the Bush family loyalty thing to last a lifetime. Now, it seems, we might be in for another round of it (“Heckuva job, Jebby!).

This also feels like a desperate lurch backward, not forward. After running recycled candidates like McCain and Romney, Republicans finally have a chance to turn the page and nominate one of the younger, post Bush-era Republicans. This would squarely contrast with Hillary, who is older and obviously tied to a bygone era (several, actually). But how can the little guy compete against the big, bad Bush machine?

… And now, the more positive, pragmatic argument: This is a guy who actually gets shit done. The fact that he is moving so quick as to alarm us implies this is, perhaps, a good campaign. If Republicans really want to beat Hillary, maybe they better go with the kind of guy who is capable of making these early, aggressive moves. Don’t forget, the only Republicans to win nationwide in the last 25 years all share one thing, and that is the Bush surname.

Could it be that they are the only people with the resources and ability to run he kind of competent campaign that might result in a Republican actually winning the presidency? That sounds absurd, but might be true in practice.

The question for Republicans, then, is this: To resist or humbly submit?

Matt K. Lewis