“Bush is toast. Stick a fork into him.”
He who has the gold makes the rules. The Bush family has tremendous influence over the big money donors to the Republican Party. If Jeb want to run in 2016 odds are much better than 50/50 he will be the nominee.
George W. demonstrated in 2000 and Romney in 2012 the importance of funding. If you can line up the big money before the primary season begins you will outlast your opponents. Unfortunately, the cost of advertising and running a ground game today is so high it is impossible to fund it exclusively with Mom & Pop contributions, no matter how committed your supporters. The boring technocrat Romney outlasted the rest of the field, including Ron Paul and his passionate supporters, because he had plenty of money not because he was the best candidate.
Jeb is out publicly doing the things necessary to run. He’s in the media, he positioning himself as different from the candidate who lost (Romney) and he has published a book. No doubt Pappy, George W., and Marvin Bush are working the phones hard lining up the bigwigs and dollars early behind Jeb in 2016.
George W. would likely have never been governor of Texas, much less President without his father’s money, power, and connections. The Bush family is the Republican Kennedy family with respect to political power. They may be less flashy publicly but they are just as deadly when it comes to playing hardball power politics.
Unless Jeb does something stupid, or has an undiscovered skeleton in the closet, he will likely get the nomination. Rubio is unlikely to oppose him. Supporting Jeb almost certainly gets Rubio the second spot on the ticket as well as access to and support of the power players behind the curtain. Plus Rubio is young and has many opportunities in the years ahead to play on the national stage. Rubio is smart and knows if he bucks the establishment and loses he will never have another chance while if he plays ball he’ll have his turn and the support of the kingmakers.
Gingrich will be too old in 2016 as will Ron Paul. Bachmann, Cain , Christie and Perry blew themselves up in 2012 plus don’t have access to the big money necessary to make it all of the way through the primaries. Cruz is too new to the scene and being from Texas understands the power of the Bush family and won’t want to go against them. Romney said this week he will not run again. West couldn’t win reelection in Florida so he is unlikely to be considered a serious candidate. Palin will have zero support from the establishment and probably can’t raise the money. Her best shot was 2012 and she passed plus she is toxic with the both the media and the Republican establishment. Rand Paul, like Cruz, is too new on the scene to pull in the big money. If he wants to be the Republican nominee someday like Rubio he knows if he goes up against the Bush family and loses he’ll never get another chance.
Money = power in politics, particularly given the high cost of running a campaign. The party elites have shown they will turn their backs on the conservative base in a heartbeat. Plus if Jeb faces opposition in the primaries he’ll have the media behind him. The media hates the conservative wing of the party and will delight in supporting Jeb as the “reasonable” alternative. As soon as he locks up the nomination they’ll gladly turn on him.
If conservatives want a voice in the 2016 elections their best bet is to get behind a candidate now, raise the money, and organize a third party. The party establishment is not going to allow a conservative to be nominated and will get behind Jeb quickly if he decides to run.
If there is a surprise between now and the 2016 election it will likely be Christie pulling a Charlie Crist and switching parties at a time calculated to do the most damage to the Republican Party.
At this early stage of the game, Jeb is far from toast. He is the heir apparent and is definitely making the moves expected of someone who wants to run. So far the press seems to be playing along.