Jeb and the Bush Family Legacy

Jeb Bush
It is official that Jeb Bush is running for presidency under the Republican Party. There have been speculations and indications that the latest Bush presidential aspirant may be attempting to create a brand new image for himself so as not to be regarded as “one of the Bushes.” Given the strong political legacy the family has built over the years, is this possible or even advisable?

Jeb Bush is no stranger to politics. He is the 43rd governor of Florida and the only Republican governor to have served for two full terms. Being governor is, however, a totally different ball game from being the president of the United States. A lot of support is required to attain this highly coveted position. The Bush family is equipped with a structure that is solid and difficult to beat.

The Bush political structure started with the patriarch of the family, more popularly known as George H.W. Bush. Prior to becoming the 41st president of the United States, he was vice president under President Ronald Reagan. Before then, he was a member of the House of Representatives, and represented the 7th District of Texas. Between this time and when he became the vice president, he served in many capacities in government. He was appointed ambassador to the United Nations and served for two years beginning in 1971. He also served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1973, after which he moved on to become the chief of the U.S. Liaison office in China. Following this appointment, in 1976, he became the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. All of these positions prepared him to become the 41st president of the United States.

George H.W. Bush lost his bid for a second term as president to Bill Clinton. However, the structures that had been set up were in place and were put to use to help George W. Bush become the 43rd president of the United States. This structure also helped him win a second term in office; an accomplishment his dad before him had failed to achieve.

George W., following in the family tradition, ran for Congress in 1978 but lost. He took a break from politics to concentrate on his business. Sixteen years later , in 1994, he ran for governor of Texas and won, becoming the 46th governor of the state. After his first term, he won a second term, thus becoming the first governor to be elected to two four-year terms as governor of Texas. With his current national popularity, he contested for the presidency in 2000 and won, becoming the 43rd president of the United States. He went ahead to win re-election and served a second term. Needless to say, George W. built on his father’s existing political structures and made them stronger.

Now it is Jeb’s turn to follow the path his father and elder brother have traveled before him. Having served as governor of Florida for two terms, he has some political clout and structure, but this can in no way be compared to the structure that his father and elder brother had set up. However, there are already indications that this structure is already at work for him. He is said to have told donors in Miami Beach that he had raised more money than any previous Republican has raised in the first 100 days of declaring his intention. The previous record was held by his brother, George W., who raised about $37 million in the first few months of declaring. It is speculated that he has so far raised over $100 million. Clearly, the Bush’s well-oiled political machinery has been put to work for Jeb.

Popularly known as Jeb, John Ellis does not seem like he is ready to run for presidency on the strength of his achievements and political structure alone. It is looking more and more likely that Jeb will be largely relying on the Bush family legacy to propel him into the White House.

By Chimerenka Odimba

Sources:

The Wall Street Journal: With Another Bush Eyeing White House, Family Money Machine Springs to Life
mondoweiss.net: Jeb Bush flipflops on brother George because he needs character reference for the Israel lobby
The New York Times: Jeb Bush Declares His Candidacy — Prematurely

Photo Courtesy of Iprimages’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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