Typically, we wouldn’t write about a candidate’s announcement in the primary, and none of the following should be read as an endorsement of Jeb Bush, but the message he delivered was so universal, that it deserved comment.
Earlier this campaign season Jim Messina, President Obama’s former campaign manager, said that it was Hillary Clinton’s “turn” to be the next president.
“We want Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States,” Messina said on MSNBC. “It’s her turn and her time.”
But Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, strongly pushed back on the notion that anyone is owed a seat in the White House.
“Not one of us deserves the job by right of resume, party, seniority, family or family narrative,” the former Florida governor told a crown at Miami Dad College. “It’s nobody’s turn. It’s everybody’s test, and it’s wide open – exactly as a contest for president should be.”
Ultimately, the campaign test is nothing compared to the crucible of the presidency, a situation that has never been more true than it is today. By any measure the next president will be assailed by challenges on nearly every front, many which owe their existence to the current leadership in the White House, and all of which will require new thinking and a steady hand, attributes that Bush feels he espouses.
“We don’t need another president who merely holds the top spot among the pampered elites of Washington,” Bush said to cheers from the crowd. “We need a president willing to challenge and disrupt the whole culture in our nation’s capital.”
Bush is exactly right. The economic recovery is balancing on a razor’s edge. The world is in disarray, with Russia testing its boundaries, Iran engaged in proxy wars across the Middle East, nation’s like Iraq and Libya in states of collapse, ISIS on the march, and China gathering power.
Our long-term budget situation is growing increasingly unsustainable, a situation made worse by the eroding financial positions of Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and Obamacare. Four Supreme Court seats are likely to come open in the near future. The tax code must be reformed to remain competitive on a global scale. The immigration situation is desperate for a guiding hand. And years of new regulations, executive orders and laws overseen and passed by the Obama Administration will either need to be rolled back or amended.
“We are 17 months from the time for choosing,” Bush said.
“Already, the choice is taking shape. The party now in the White House is planning a no-suspense primary, for a no-change election. To hold onto power. To slog on with the same agenda under another name: That’s our opponents’ call to action this time around. That’s all they’ve got left,” he continued. “And you and I know that America deserves better.”
If nothing else it is clear that Americans deserve a choice, which is exactly what Republicans are offering them. Contrast that with the approach thus far espoused by Hillary Clinton, who has sought to stay under the radar, lest she be forced to answer questions about her shady dealings or shaky policy platform. But for now, with Clinton continuing to look like the prohibitive leader in the race to the White House, Democrats don’t seem to care. They are content to coast so long as the polls indicate that they can get away with it.
Although Bush is but one of many candidates in a crowded and impressive primary field, it’s clear that he is driven, not deterred, by the challenge.
“I will campaign as I would serve, going everywhere, speaking to everyone, keeping my word, facing the issues without flinching, and staying true to what I believe,” Bush said. “I will take nothing and no one for granted. I will run with heart. I will run to win.”