Jeb Makes a Move

Following the ancient tradition of hiding personal ambition and power-lust in expressions of the most banal sentiments, Jeb Bush put out a Facebook post yesterday letting his fans know how he spent his Thanksgiving holidays. A bit belated, to be sure, but I guess he needed to check with his lawyers and all:

Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.

Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren.

We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.

We also talked about the future of our nation.

Yeah, I guess when your last name is “Bush” you tend to get discussions of your own and your nation’s future kinda jumbled up.

As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

This is called “broadening your message,” because while only a few Americans came out of the Thanksgiving holidays seriously considering a presidential run, I’m sure many of you did decide to form a PAC, unless you were deterred by the vicious reluctance of the IRS to let you hide your donors.

Seriously, though, Bush is now the Establishment fave who has taken the most overt steps towards running for president, which puts some extra pressure on Chris Christie since Bush’s PAC will at a minimum put the arm on many potential campaign donors in a way that will tend to commit them.

As fate would have it, McLatchey put out a new national poll this very day showing Jeb running second to Mitt Romney (that other Establishment boyo, who will have extra time to think about a presidential campaign that could be unleashed if the field shapes up as a budding disaster) and taking the lead if Mitt stays out. This will be enough for many Establishment types, who can be expected to begin calling Jeb the “frontrunner.” But truth is, he’s only running at 14% (16% if Mitt doesn’t run), and in a trial heat against Hillary Clinton, he’s trailing 53-40, which doesn’t exactly burnish the “electability” credentials he’d definitely need to convince conservatives to ignore his policy heresies and his family’s reputation for playing them for fools.

But at least Jeb isn’t sitting around waiting to be begged to make a move–probably because that just ain’t happening.

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.