Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Jeb Bush Is Also Thinking About the GOP's Relevance

It appears from the recent Esquire Magazine interview by Tucker Carlson of Jeb Bush that Red Elephant and Mr. Bush are of like mind when it comes to the relevancy of the Republican Party.

Says Jeb Bush in the interview, “There hasn’t been any kind of restatement of the organizing principles of our (the Republican Party) philosophy. We haven’t upgraded our message. If you close your eyes and listen to most Republicans, most conservatives, the same speech could have been given in 1990. And you can’t discount that. It’s a pretty important point. If people think our message is outdated, our message is not relevant to the world we live in, and I think a growing number of people may feel that, you lose your relevance.”

It is unfortunate that Jeb Bush will be branded with the faults of his brother, George W. Bush. This interview almost makes Red Elephant want to cheer for Jeb and put him on the list of the kind of presidential candidate the party needs in the future.

The article suggests Jeb Bush is a man of faith, but not an evangelical. His faith seems more in line with his family's colonial heritage and roots in the Northeast, moderate wing of the GOP. Unlike his brother, Jeb Bush does not present as a snake handler. It appears that to him, speaking in tongues refers to what one does with the concierge at the George V. The absence of an evangelical strain is a welcome change from his brother's expressions of faith. The absence of a long discussion on faith on Mr. Bush's part in the interview signals that he understands that moralizing will not make the GOP relevant to voters who can get what they need on Sundays.

In the interview Jeb Bush touches on the thinking that the GOP needs to put into its positions on issues beyond taxes, foreign policy and knee-jerk reactions to President Obama's legislative agenda. Says Bush, "I'm not saying abandon our principles. To the contrary: Find creative ways of expressing the principles. This should be a renaissance time. Whether it's education or healthcare or energy or the environment, or whether it's the scale and scope and the size of government all around us." Clearly Jeb Bush gets the joke.

It is significant that Jeb Bush is now doing interviews talking about how to make the GOP relevant. More clarity on his ideas is needed, but the mere fact he has broached the subject is welcome by Red Elephant.

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