Anybody But Jebbie

You can expect to hear a lot of this (per the Washington Examiner‘s Paul Bedard) so long as the GOP donor class keeps pining for the former Governor of Florida:

Conservative leaders who had a hand in key Republican victories including Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the Contract with America and the birth of the Tea Party, are ganging up to oppose a Jeb Bush presidential bid, declaring him easier to beat than Bob Dole or John McCain.

“I don’t know of any conservatives who are supporting him,” said Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com.

“Jeb is a very good moderate Democrat,” added top-rated talk radio host Mark Levin. “He’s very boring. He doesn’t elicit excitement and energy outside a very small circle of wealthy corporatists and GOP Beltway operatives. Time to move on.”

The criticism of Bush, a media darling and leading centrist GOP potential presidential candidate, took off when Phyllis Schlafly updated her 50-year-old conservative manifesto, A Choice Not an Echo, with a slap at Bush….

“The objection so many Reaganites have to another Bush is because he is another Bush,” said Reagan biographer Craig Shirley. “He, too, has an alarming belief in centralized authority. From the standpoint of history, the Bush family got their start in 1980 opposing Reagan and Reaganism, as they continue to do today.”

Now as the Shirley quote indicates, some of this talk is from conservative war horses (Schlafly is 90, Viguerie 81) who may reflect the old saying about people who have forgotten everything but their grudges. It’s interesting, of course, that once upon a time Jebbie was the one member of the Bush family deemed to be a “true conservative.” Then Poppy pretended to be the Gipper’s protege before stabbing conservatives in the back with his 1990 budget deal, and W did everything to look like a conservative, up to and including becoming a gen-u-wine Texan, before stabbing conservatives in the back with No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D and amnesty. So now the sins of both the father and the brother are being visited upon Jeb, and if not for the abiding affection of the people who own the U.S. economy, we would not even be talking about him as even a remote possibility.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.