By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Two members of high-profile political dynasties have made known their interest in gaining entree to that most exclusive of clubs: the U.S. Senate. One of the two is thoughtful, has a keen intellect, and has been a quiet but effective advocate for her hometown and home state. The other has blunderbussed his way onto the national stage by injecting religious morality into government policy, championing rampant development in a fragile environment, and profiteering from his political contacts. Let's see, which one would serve the American people best as a member of the U.S. Senate?
Ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sent an E-mail to reporters last week telling them he's interested in the Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez in 2010. Jeb Bush is exactly what the GOP does not need to pull itself out of its electoral slump. He's as far to the right if not farther than his brother. He's your father's Chevrolet, not your daughter's iPhone. Jeb Bush led the charge to press Congress to adopt and his brother to sign a bill that gave preference to church dogma over personal privacy rights in the now infamous Schiavo case.
In a dramatic flurry of legislative activity, the Republican Congress passed a measure that would empower a U.S. judge to order the reinsertion of the feeding tube and that George Bush rushed back to Washington, D.C., from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, to sign into law.
Shortly afterwards Mr. Schiavo criticized Congress, arguing: "It is a sad day for everyone in this country because the U.S. government is going to come in and trample all over your personal family matters."
Yes, Jeb Bush left office with high ratings, but in the two years since, his style of governing has become extremely unpopular. The Schiavo fiasco was disapproved of by two thirds of Americans surveyed at the time. Now that the party has "hit bottom" in 12-step-program parlance, Jeb is certainly not the image Republicans should project if they wish to regain the confidence of the average American.
Jeb Bush's father and brother wrecked the U.S. economy (the brother much worse than the father) and led us into unnecessary wars. Jeb's fellow Florida partisans proclaim him as the prodigal son, but not all Floridians agree he's invincible:
Miami-Dade lobbyist Ron Book says Bush may not be as formidable as conventional wisdom holds, owing in part to the tanking economy and toxic Bush brand.
During the past year, Book said, his casino clients have continued to poll Bush's popularity, and noted it has dropped since the governor left office.
Caroline Kennedy, however, is just the type of politician voters ushered into office last month in large numbers.
UP NEXT: SEN. CAROLINE KENNEDY
--Read more by Bonnie Erbe.
--Read more from the Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
--Read more about Jeb Bush.
By Bonnie Erbe