Opinion: Why Jeb Bush Is The Obvious Choice For The Republican Nomination


Monday, March 16th, 2015

In this article, Tom Lahey explains why he thinks that even at this early stage, Jeb Bush is the obvious choice for the Republican nomination. Amongst everything, Lahey argues Bush will give the UK- US relationship, the respect it deserves.

So, who is Jeb Bush? Son of George H. W. Bush, President 1989-1993, brother of George W. Bush, President 2001-2009, and what else? What qualifies Jeb to be America’s next President after the 2016 election?

Jeb Bush’s life in politics actually spans over a rather short period. At the age of 17, he taught English as a second language in León, Guanajuato, Mexico, as part of Phillips Academy’s student exchange program. While in Mexico, he met his future wife, Columba Garnica Gallo. Bush. In 1973, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Latin American Studies. He completed his coursework in two and a half years and became fluent in Spanish. He’s worked in the private sector for most of his life, particularly in the fields of real estate and finance. In 1977 he opened up a branch of Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas, Venezuela. He even served on the board of a Norwegian-owned company that sold fire equipment to the Alaska oil pipeline, became a minority owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, bought a shoe company that sold footwear in Panama, and got involved in a project selling water pumps in Nigeria. He moved to Miami-Dade in 1980, after campaigning as an unpaid volunteer on his father’s first Presidential campaign, to pursue these business interests and a career in the private sector.

His political career began when he served as Chairman of the Dade Republican Party and was then appointed Florida Secretary of Commerce from 1987-88, when he resigned to volunteer again for his father’s- this time successful- Presidential campaign. Bush first ran for Governor of Florida in 1994 and lost, but only by about 64,000 votes. That year, his older brother George, was elected Governor of Texas. Bush ran again in 1998, this time successful and began his career as a reform-conservative, intent on problem-solving- not political manoeuvring. Governor Bush’s priorities were education, the economy, and health-care. In an article from the Washington Post, dated January 7, 2007, Linda Kleindienst, the author, writes, “his [Bush] tenure coincided with a sizzling economy and an overflowing treasury… The state budget ballooned by 52 percent, from $48.6 billion in 1999 to $73.9 billion in 2006”. He cut taxes by $19billion and the Florida economy added over 500,000 jobs in eight years. Under Bush, Florida earned Wall Street’s highest possible bond rating. He reformed education so that pupils can enrol in a voucher program, lifting them out of failing schools and allowing them to move to better, possibly private schools, where their chances at success are much greater. And, of course, Bush enacted pro-life policies and protections of the Second Amendment in Florida that conservatives can rave about. So, what’s the Tea Party’s problem?

Since leaving office in 2007, Bush has been a vocal supporter of two things that enrage Tea Party conservatives: immigration reform which includes amnesty, and Common Core. Bush authored a book in 2013 on the subject of immigration that called for a total overhaul of America’s immigration system and subsequently called immigration “an act of love” and “an act of commitment to one’s family” while encouraging more legal immigration to the United States. “A growth agenda is inextricably linked with a welcoming immigration policy”, he said to Newsmax in 2013. On Common Core, Bush served as a board member for the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), whose purpose is to establish policy on reports examining K-12 students’ academic progress in America’s public and private schools. Since then Bush’s education foundation has advocated for the Common Core State Standards Initiative. This would essentially create a federal education standard in America’s public education system, something that is opposed by proponents of States’ rights. Also after leaving office, Bush joined Tenet Healthcare‘s board of directors in April 2007 which, in 2014, received $100million in new earnings because of its benefit from Obamacare, something Bush is strongly opposed to.  Bush’s opponents see this as some sort of betrayal of the conservative movement, disqualifying his conservative bona fides and making him the establishment- a RINO. In fact, it actually portrays a man who is successful in the private sector and firmly believes in the principles of immigration reform, a stronger education standard, and a belief that individual people can make a huge difference. Now he is running for President.

Jeb Bush was very, very good at CPAC last month. He energized the audience in the room, and brought more people on to the notion that a pragmatic, reform-minded conservative is what the Republican Party needs to beat any Democrat, especially Hillary Clinton, in 2016. Not only is he sound on economic, immigration and education policy, but he is also fluent in foreign policy, being the son and brother of two Presidents whose terms in office were dominated by foreign affairs. He is a believer in a stronger, more robust American foreign policy and puts the interests of the United States chief among all other issues. He wants the War on Terror to continue and believes that President Obama has been weak in his dealings with Iran as well as in the fight against ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Bush is also a critic of the Obama Administrations’ maligning of Israel on the world stage and believes that Clinton and Kerry have both given far too much ground to China. He is tough. He is articulate. And his vision for America does not neglect our friends and allies.

Especially Britain.

Jeb Bush has paid tribute to the US-UK Special Relationship on many occasions, most notably at a dinner in New York City in 2011 when he remembered the 67 Britons who were killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. As a foreign policy conservative, Bush knows not to forego our European partners, especially with the recent threats from Russia in Eastern Europe. Rest assured, my British friends, a Jeb Bush Presidency would be one in which the US and the UK would act as partners around the world in the fight for the preservation of Western values.

Jeb Bush is a man who is supremely qualified to occupy the White House after the 2016 election. He is a brilliant, experienced conservative who has a vision for America. He appeals to Hispanic Americans and can bring independents and disaffected Democrats over to the GOP in key swing states. He’s from Florida- an important state to win for any Presidential candidate and he comes from a background of skilled statesmen and politicians (whatever you may think of George W. Bush, one cannot deny he valued the relationship we have with Britain). He can take Hillary head-on and will run his campaign seriously. I am looking forward to seeing what the Bush campaign will produce over the coming year.


Tom Lahey is a former Washington DC staffer currently living and working in Westminster. He has worked on several campaigns, notably Romney 2012, Christie 2013 and Gillespie 2014. He was born and raised in New Jersey.

Comments are closed.