Jeb the Reformicon?

Well, this report from CNN’s Dana Bash is interesting, if you put any stock in what staff say a candidate is going to stand for:

Bush sources tell CNN that choosing to speak Wednesday at the Detroit Economic Club is intended to send as much of a message as the words he will utter: that he wants to try to be a different kind of GOP presidential candidate.

The subject of Bush’s speech will play off his “right to rise” theme he unveiled when announcing his potential candidacy in December, according to aides.

“There is income inequality in this country and with conservative ideas people can start to do better,” said one source familiar with Bush’s speech. “There can be growth for everyone, not just those already doing great.”

When George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, he ran as a “compassionate conservative.”

Jeb Bush is trying to test the idea of “reform conservatism,” according to aides.

Aha. Does that mean we can expect a full-fledged Reformicon agenda right out of Room to Grow? Of course not.

Aides caution Bush will not be unveiling a specific policy platform. They say it will be more general, that he wants to begin to lay out a “positive” and “hopeful” vision for the country, especially the middle class.

So we’re talking Reformicon Lite at best. Still, you gotta feel for Marco Rubio. Back a few months ago when it looked like Bush was more focused on getting crazy rich than on running for president, it looked like Rubio would have an uncontested South Florida base, deep Establishment pockets, and the mantle of Reform Conservatism. Jeb’s trying to take it all away.

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.