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der Standard, Austria

Jeb Bush: The Little Brother
Who Understands Hispanics

By Frank Herrmann

Jeb Bush could be the one to put the spotlight back on the Bush family dynasty. Just weeks after their loss at the polls, Republicans are already touting him as a sure thing to run for president in 2016.

Translated By Ron Argentati

22 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Austria - der Standard - Original Article (German)

Jeb Bush could be the one to put the spotlight back on the Bush family dynasty. Just weeks after their loss at the polls, Republicans are already touting him as a sure thing to run for president in 2016.

When asked about possible plans to run for the presidency several years ago, Jeb Bush answered jokingly that talking about that was "like talking about whatever that group is from outer space." He then added, "I never think about it."

At that time the Republicans were about to embark on the autumn 2008 duel that later proved to be a losing battle. Jeb's presidential brother had already damaged the party's reputation, aided by his hubris concerning the Iraq War, his incompetence in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and the rapidly mounting national debt. Not a great hand for the “big little brother,” as George W. called his younger and taller sibling. The little brother stayed out of the limelight in 2012 but the bet is that he will toss his hat into the ring in 2016. The hope is that Jeb, who speaks fluent Spanish and has a reputation for communicating well with Latinos, will be the man to lead the Republicans out of the dead-end street they find themselves in.

Republicans realize they have to stop treating America's fastest growing ethnic group as some sort of foreign body if they want to succeed in coming elections. If they don't, even a heavyweight state like Texas, currently solidly in Republican hands, might defect to the Democrats. Two-thirds of the new kingmakers have Mexican roots; John Ellis “Jeb” Bush is married to a Mexican.

But is America ready to accept another Bush? Theoretically, it's always been the case that the republic doesn't think much of political dynasties because they're a bit reminiscent of the royal houses and noble families of Europe. But in practice, members of such dynasties don't have the worst chances of being elected. Hillary Clinton capitalized on her husband Bill's fame in becoming a senator, a presidential candidate and ultimately secretary of state. George W. Bush was able to count on the contacts of his well-connected father. Jeb, meanwhile, was considered the most gifted Bush of his generation because he didn't abuse the English language like his brother did.

In contrast to “Dubya,” Jeb never appeared to be a Texas tomboy. He met and married Columba Garnica Gallo at the age of 21 when he was an exchange student in the Mexican city of Leon. In competition with George, he always seemed to be one step ahead of his brother, partly because George had a persistent alcohol problem. The family pecking order didn't change until Jeb lost the governorship in Florida and George W. won it in Texas.

One can't exactly predict how Bush III would be perceived. Some expect he would lead the conservative parade back toward the political middle. In contrast, others see him as a cold hatchet man masquerading behind conciliatory rhetoric. At any rate, it can't be said he sees the state of the nation through rose-colored glasses.

On the contrary: In November — having become an education reformer in Florida — he warned at an educator's summit of an impending decline of society with reduced chances for upward mobility. He complained that 43 percent of American citizens born into poverty would remain poor forever, with only 4 percent succeeding in making it into the top fifth of the income pyramid. And that’s in an America that has always boasted of being the most upwardly mobile society on earth. “Where is the outrage? Where’s the shame of this?” he asked.



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