by Dick Morris | December 24, 2014 12:07 am
The quarterfinals of the 2016 race for the White House now pit Jeb Bush against Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Rick Perry and John Kasich for the establishment wing of the party. And Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum and Ben Caron are battling for the tea party nod.
Until both contests resolve themselves, the semifinals, which will determine the nomination, will not begin. In 2012, for example, Mitt Romney had to edge past Perry and Tim Pawlenty for the establishment nod. And Rick Santorum needed to beat out Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann to emerge as the right-wing candidate.
Jeb Bush likely is now moving to throw his hat into the ring to eclipse Mitt Romney and head off his possible entry into the race. Polls show Romney with 22 percent support to Bush’s 12. At 12 percent, Bush still leads the rest of the pack whose vote totals are each in the 5-9 percent range.
The Republican Party establishment is, at its heart, monarchist. Legitimacy matters. To the tea party, long-term credentials are a curse, but to the mainstream, they are crucial. Trace the lineage:
In the beginning, there was Dewey.
Dewey begat Eisenhower.
Ike begat Nixon.
Nixon appointed Ford.
Reagan lost to Ford and then it was his turn.
Reagan begat Bush.
Bush defeated Dole and then it was Dole’s turn in 1996.
Bush, literally, begat Bush.
Bush beat McCain, and then it was McCain’s turn.
McCain beat Romney, and then it was Romney’s turn.
Both Jeb and Mitt have good claims on the throne. Mitt has lost twice which, in GOP circles, signifies experience, trustworthiness in battle and a known quantity. Jeb’s claim is genetic. Either candidate will get the bulk of the money and backing of the establishment Party if they run. Indeed, Mitt may be the only one who could beat Bush.
Christie is a nonstarter. Too harsh. Too New Jersey. Too much to blame for Obama’s victory amid the ruins of Sandy.
Perry has a lot of attractions, but he’s mired in his own mess right now and can’t emerge from it for a while yet.
So the time is now for Bush to head off Romney and that impels his early move.
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