John Ellis Bush – Jeb – is the son of one president and the brother of another. And he’s taking up the family business. Sorry, John and John Quincy Adams, the Bush family is gunning for your presidential record.
Here’s a guide to the third Bush who would be president.
Bush’s name has been thrown around as a potential candidate for 2016 virtually since the end of the last election. He was the governor of Florida until 2007, and has mostly been doing consulting work since, which was probably about as exciting as it sounds. Taking a cue from soap operas, Bush embarked on the will-he-or-won’t-he tour of the century. If there’s one way to shake things up, it’s to run for president. Or at least to talk about running for president, which Jeb has made into an art.
He isn’t even running yet and Jeb has already had to spend time addressing questions about his brother George’s legacy in Iraq. Jeb’s father, George H.W. Bush, also had problems of his own in the Middle East. The Bush family’s legacy in Iraq is one of the things that will inevitably haunt Jeb down the campaign trail.
George served in the White House for eight years, so the Iraq questions could just be the tip of the iceberg for Jeb. There’s also policy toward Cuba and education to think about. Then again, it might be a no-brainer for Jeb since he and his brother are pretty similar on a lot of issues, including hugs. (They’re pro-hug.)
Despite insisting that he is his own man on foreign policy issues, Jeb has also cited his brother as one of his foreign policy advisers when it comes to the Middle East. Perhaps in an attempt to show that he can think for himself and forge his own international relations, Jeb planned a trip to Europe. But escaping his family’s foreign policy legacy abroad may be the least of Jeb’s worries. As other American politicians – some of them presidential hopefuls – have learned the hard way, there’s more than one way to step in it when you’re abroad.
One of Jeb’s most appealing traits as a member of the GOP is his commitment to Hispanic voters. He served as governor of Florida and his wife is from Mexico. He even mistakenly marked himself Hispanic on a voter form. Over the years he’s become fluent in Spanish, and not just for the purposes of being able to order a proper Cuban sandwich during downtime in Miami. The Hispanic vote helped President Barack Obama win in 2012. George got 44% of the Hispanic vote in 2004, so the party has been able to attract Hispanic votes in the past. Jeb has been one of many politicians to reach out the Latino community, but he’s fared much better than most of his competitors.
At the end of the primary season, if Jeb Bush comes out on top, he’ll be nowhere near finished. He could very well face-off against another member of a major political family: Hillary Clinton. Eight of the last nine presidential elections have seen a Bush or a Clinton vying for a spot in the White House. The Clintons and the Bushes have been doing battle since the ’90s. Could a showdown between Jeb and Hillary force the end of a recent truce between the families?