With Chris Christie flailing, is there another governor in the wings? Or an ex-governor, perhaps?
A new round of speculation is underway about whether Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, might be considering a run in 2016. According to Newsday, which reported on a speech that Bush delivered to a high-powered group on Long Island, New York, the former governor said that he’ll decide whether or not to run by the end of 2014. And, responding to a question about whether or not his last name is something he’ll have to overcome, Bush allowed as to how both he and Hillary would have to overcome the dynasty issue:
I get the point. It’s something that, if I run, I would have to overcome that. And so will Hillary, by the way. Let’s keep the same standards for everybody.
One difference being: Bill Clinton’s presidency was, if not a major success, at least modestly successful—while George W. Bush’s presidency was a catastrophe.
In any case, if Bush does run, it’ll be because the mainstream Republicans and the big donors behind the GOP need someone else to carry their water against the insurgents of the Tea Party. For many of them, both in 2011 and again today, Christie was seen as the savior who could stop any of the tea-drinking Republican Senate freshmen—Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz—from making a serious bid. Other possibilities include Scott Walker, the union-busting governor of Wisconsin and John Kasich, the center-right Ohio governor, but neither of them is particularly exciting or has much name recognition. Could it be another Bush?
Everyone’s got something to say. Charles Gasparino, a Fox Business Network senior correspondent and columnist for the New York Post, says that the scuttlebutt on Wall Street is that many of the heavy hitters are backing Hillary Clinton, while the conservative financiers who’ve long supported Christie, including Home Depot’s Ken Langone and ex-AIG poohbah Hank Greenberg are backing off—and looking at Bush. He writes:
In fact, it’s too soon to write Christie off: He might be able to recover from this mess (as long as there continues to be zero evidence that he had any idea his flunkies had snarled traffic approaching the George Washington Bridge to punish a political opponent). But the Wall Streeters I speak to (people with direct access to Christie and his inner circle) say the Christie presidential campaign is clearly on life support: They think he’s in the clear himself, but the stench from the scandal is starting to look impossible to overcome. They cite the cool reception Christie has been getting recently from Republican establishment types outside of his home turf in the Northeast, and the fact that many fund-raisers are now looking to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as the party’s savior.