Conservative leaders who had a hand in key Republican victories including Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the Contract with America and the birth of the Tea Party, are ganging up to oppose a Jeb Bush presidential bid, declaring him easier to beat than Bob Dole or John McCain.
“I don’t know of any conservatives who are supporting him,” said Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com.
“Jeb is a very good moderate Democrat,” added top-rated talk radio host Mark Levin. “He's very boring. He doesn't elicit excitement and energy outside a very small circle of wealthy corporatists and GOP Beltway operatives. Time to move on.”
The criticism of Bush, a media darling and leading centrist GOP potential presidential candidate, took off when Phyllis Schlafly updated her 50-year-old conservative manifesto, A Choice Not an Echo, with a slap at Bush.
In her latest revision, provided to the Washington Examiner, she wrote: “Do you get the message that the media buildup for Jeb Bush has begun and that the 2016 Republican National Convention may nominate another establishment loser, the next one in line? But it doesn’t have to be.”
Many conservatives are critical of Bush’s support for Common Core educational standards and immigration reform.
But his biggest hurdle may be his last name.
“The objection so many Reaganites have to another Bush is because he is another Bush,” said Reagan biographer Craig Shirley. “He, too, has an alarming belief in centralized authority. From the standpoint of history, the Bush family got their start in 1980 opposing Reagan and Reaganism, as they continue to do today.”
“We just don’t trust him,” said Viguerie, who favors Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. “Conservatives are going to be very, very critical of Jeb, not only for the sins of the father and brother, but also for his own views.”
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.