If the recent flurry of signals coming from former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush is any indication, there may be an imminent declaration of candidacy to look forward to. Those who know the former governor are suggesting that an announcement should be forthcoming, perhaps within a month.
Recent e-mails out of his office are suggestive of the pre-calculation and preparation pre-declared candidates embark on in the immediate build-up to formal declaration. The former governor is telling major republican donors to refrain the temptation to commit to a given candidate too early. He is interested in bringing them aboard for what could be a long and drawn out battle with the likes of governor Christie and others who have signaled possible candidacy.
Bush, the son of former President George H.W. and younger brother to former President George W. is considered a strong candidate and viable alternative to the undeclared but sure candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Democrats in the person of Clinton have gained a bit of an edge of late, despite the sometimes clumsiness of the Clinton team, having been on the speaking circuit for many months.
The Republican establishment recognizes that the sooner viable candidates get on the big stage and start becoming more visible, the less likely it is that they will have to play a game of catch-up. There is always the danger of misstep but it is, according to political operatives, a risk worth taking. Top political strategist Mike Murphy has recently been making the rounds with potential presidential campaign staffers discouraging them from signing on with others before an opportunity with Bush materializes. Things are in play, he reminds them, and decisions and announcements are coming soon.
While Clinton is on record saying that she prefers a spring declaration of candidacy, any move by the former governor would put that plan under review. The long list of potential Republican candidates may also be impacted by an early decision.
Jeb Bush himself and his recent activities appear to the objective observer to be signals that he is indeed ramping up his candidacy. His personal business activity clearly indicates that he is in a state of transition, moving out of the private-sector and into the public. In his personal life, associates indicate that his family, while once weary of the process, is now embracing it. Bush has gone so far as to procure a personal trainer and is, according to associates, as fit as they have seen him in years.
For now, the idea of remaining a prospective candidate is appealing to Bush. It gives him the time he needs to get his ducks in a row without putting him under the hot lights of the media until the time is right. While the former governor’s spokesperson stated emphatically that he “has not made a decision” about a 2016 run for the Presidency of the United States, very few people see that as anything other than the political double-speak sure-fire candidates offer up just before an official announcement is made. For all the public declarations of indecision, the accumulation of same generally creates the opposite impression.
Signals of a sooner-than-later Jeb Bush candidacy are highlighted in his eagerness of late to formally address the pressing issues of the day. As he so addresses, he effectively gets a head start at defining himself to a public that can sometimes see the Republican establishment and the candidates it offers up as indistinguishable. The Democrat establishment has sought to create a Republican stereotype that effectively piles all of them into one big, monolithic, uncaring, money-loving group. Republicans are eager to get a jump on the image-crafting and see the now prospective Bush candidacy and the earlier-the-better declaration of same, as an opportunity to do just that.
By Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: The World Affairs Council – Flickr License