What’s On Jeb’s Agenda?

by Dish Staff

Ambinder sees an opening:

Bush’s biggest opportunity corresponds to the biggest hole in the GOP platform: its radio silence on practical economic solutions for the middle class, which, it turns out, corresponds to the biggest bread-and-butter concern that Americans repeatedly chastise Washington for not addressing.

If he can move beyond supply-side economics and invent or adopt policies that directly benefit middle class voters who aren’t big savers, if he can speak to their concerns, if he can draw for us a picture for how a governing conservative president might function, then everything I’ve ever said about him — namely, that he’s a Bush and he can’t win the presidency, much less the nomination — goes out the window. If he can square THIS hexagon, and if he can get people to forget that he’s a Bush, he might be able to win both.

Republicans certainly don’t need a replay of Romney 2012, where the candidate focused too much on big macro issues like tax and entitlement reform — issues that failed to connect with voters struggling with everyday, middle-class problems. But that’s what a Bush candidacy could well look like. In an October fundraising letter for an education group he founded, Bush put forward a broad-strokes economic agenda that once again argued America needs to “radically simplify our tax and regulation structures to be fairer and more practical” and “reform our entitlement programs, which are now ballooning government beyond taxpayers’ means to pay for it.” That’s just GOP boilerplate that many voters will tune out.

But don’t fret quite yet, conservative reformers. There are still signs that Jebonomics has the potential to be smart and important. For instance, Bush also spent a lot of time in that letter discussing K-12 and higher education challenges and reform, both of which are crucial to improving middle-class fortunes. Anyone remember the Romney education plan, or him even talking much about student debt? The candidate actually had a plan, but it was a mystery to voters. Bush sounds like he could focus on these middle-class issues far more than Romney did.