Jeb Bush can win it all

tags: Jeb Bush

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a New America fellow. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and the forthcoming book, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress and the Battle for the Great Society."

...Republicans have watched many of their candidates crash and burn in recent primaries, so they are eager to find someone who make it through to the finish line for the nomination and present a strong case in the general election. 

Bush can survive the pressure from the right in the primaries. All the speculation as to whether someone like him will be done in by the Tea Party in primaries is vastly overblown. Most importantly, other than on immigration reform and education policy, Bush is a conservative and has a record to prove it. 

As Frank Bruni of The New York Times recounted, moderate is not really a label that fits his record. He has a rather conservative record on tax cuts and gun rights, one that would be quite appealing to the right. He is a staunch opponent of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. 

Much "of his record in Florida is that of the 'headbanging conservative' he claimed to be during a first, unsuccessful campaign for governor in 1994," Bruni writes. He attacked affirmative action and gained national prominence when he fought against Michael Schiavo who wanted to remove the feeding tube of his wife Terri Schiavo. 

With Cuba, he stuck to the traditional hardline position in response to President Obama's recent announcements on normalizing relations. Bush will be able to make a strong case in the primaries that he is as conservative as anyone else in the bunch. 

And even if there are still questions about his conservative credentials in the age of the Tea Party, the power of the right in the Republican primaries has not really proven to be debilitating to candidates who are trying to build a broad coalition. In 2008 Republicans picked Arizona Sen. John McCain who famously had been in conflict with the right wing of his party. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, despite all the predictions that he would never survive, did just fine on his way to the 2012 nomination...

Read entire article at CNN

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