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February 12, 2016

Looking to 2016: Is It Still Either Bush or Rubio?

Bush hasn't done anything lately but fan speculation that he will run for president in 2016. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bush hasn’t done anything lately to tamp down speculation that he will run for president in 2016. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush continues to do nothing to end speculation that he might run for president in 2016, his Florida ally, Sen. Marco Rubio, twists in the wind.

Florida and national insiders have been operating under the assumption that the two Florida Republicans would never run against each other for the nomination in three years.

Rubio, after all, owes his seat in the Senate to Bush’s quiet backing during the initial stages of 2010 GOP primary, which pitted Rubio against then-Gov. Charlie Crist. And when Crist dropped out of the primary to run as an independent, Bush quickly delivered a full-throated endorsement of Rubio.

But could the Bush-Rubio relationship change over the next year and a half?

Bush, 60, is widely regarded as one of his party’s brightest lights — a successful governor who is smart and politically appealing, and who is both the son and the brother of a former president. On the other hand, Rubio, 41, is still only a rising star in his first term in the Senate.

But Bush has a few liabilities that Rubio doesn’t have.

First, the former governor’s last name is Bush. For some Republicans that is an asset, not a liability. But for others — and for some swing voters — the Bush name doesn’t inspire and energize.

Second, Bush has gotten good ink over the past few years by criticizing his party. But if he does run for the GOP nomination, he’ll have to soften that criticism and, at least to some extent, embrace Republican positions because that is where the grass roots is.

For years, Bush was pushing his party to be more pragmatic on immigration. But now Rubio has embraced that role, giving him a stature he did not have.

And third, Bush is part of the generation of Mitt Romney, while Rubio is an entire generation younger. That contrast should benefit Rubio, especially if Republicans are ready to break from the past.

All of this still leaves an important question: If Bush runs, will Rubio simply defer to him? Or might the new “star” end up outshining the old one?

  • susierosie

    It don’t matter if it is Jeb Bush, Rubio, or someone like Paul who is the GOP nominee for 2016. They will all lose. LOL.

    • KP3FT

      You think our situation is funny? We’re approaching $17 trillion in debt, and no improvement in employment. The only group that has a clue are neither Democrat nor establishment GOP, rather the Tea Party. Rubio at least questions his fellow colleagues on the basics, like why are they not focusing on “spending less than we make”. You know, just basic principles that we all, regardless of party affiliation, make every day.

  • bpai99

    The messenger doesn’t matter if the GOP message doesn’t change.

  • Mojojojo

    Something I’ve thought about, always good to ask the question. But no, Bush isn’t running.

    I mean when the guy would clearly do worse both in the primary AND the general election, where’s the upside? They both know Rubio>Bush, and they’re not about to split each others’ regional bases by both running.

  • Reda StCyr

    Is there any media that’s not whoring for Republicans that in the longs run with cost all of you everything also? WTF

  • Bob Stern

    Does it matter? same old irrational, failed and doomed to failure policies..

  • Harry Riley

    Truth escapes republicans and democrats. Rubio, while a nice man, does a good job as senator, and can serve anywhere in the US government……..except…….except as president. He was born in 1971 to Cuban parents. Not until 1974/75 time-frame did Senator Rubio’s parents complete the naturalization process. Senator Rubio is not a “natural born citizen” in accordance with Article 2, Section 1, clause 5 of the US Constitution. Just because Congress won’t prosecurte Obama, doesn’t mean two wrongs would make a right………..

  • Fred Howard

    The guy who wrote this article must be a Rat. No way, No way buddy, do conservatives want or need a third failed Bush Rhino, or Rubio that would rather go cuddle with that traitor McCain. Here we go again the Democrat propaganda machine would like to pick the challengers.

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