Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has spent quite a bit of time and energy cultivating a specific kind of reputation. Among Republicans, he tends to be seen as a relatively moderate wonk, with a specific policy focus on immigration and education. Whether Bush deserves that reputation is another matter – his depth of understanding of immigration and education is generally quite limited.
Regardless, the Florida Republican wants to be considered a thoughtful, forward-thinking mainstream conservative. To take this seriously, though, one must overlook whom he chooses to hang out with.
Jeb Bush will be the star attraction at a fundraiser for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli…. Bush is the “special guest” at the Sept. 17 event at the home of former Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.).
The event comes as Bush is still believed to be considering a 2016 presidential campaign. He’s told party donors and activists that he doesn’t plan to make a decision until late spring of next year.
I’m sure it was a lovely evening last night, though I’m starting to think Bush’s outreach to the far right has become unseemly.
Over the summer, Bush helped raise campaign cash for far-right Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), generally considered one of the bigger buffoons to hold statewide office in recent memory. Around the same time, Bush cozied up to the increasingly controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), speaking at the group’s annual conference, and appeared at the Faith And Freedom Coalition event organized by disgraced former lobbyist Ralph Reed.
Bush has even been palling around with Herman Cain (remember him?).
I realize the former governor is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, but is all of this outreach to the ridiculous wing of the GOP really necessary? Has Bush decided to completely abandon his so-called “brand” as a mainstream, substantive Republican?