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May 30, 2006


Bush III: Extending the Dynasty?

Bush III? Continue the dynasty? Those are the questions some Republicans are asking themselves as political talk emerges yet again about President George W. Bush's brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush. The chief driver of the buzz is the current occupant of the White House, who has said twice this month that his younger brother would make "a great president."

Republican party leaders continue to talk seriously about a continuation of the dynasty, a Bush III administration, with Jeb as a candidate in 2012 or 2016, when the memory of the current president's dismal poll ratings will be less of a factor. That, you will recall, is exactly what happened the last time around. The first President Bush's unpopularity at the end of his term in 1992 did not hurt his eldest son when he ran for president eight years later.

"Look, I think he'd be a great president," the current President Bush said in response to a question about Jeb in Chicago last week. Less than two weeks before, the president was more expansive in an interview with a group of Florida newspaper reporters. According to the St. Petersburg Times, President Bush said he had "pushed" his brother "fairly hard about what he intends to do" and that his political future "is very bright, if he chooses to have a political future."

However, the president added that "I would like to see Jeb run at some point in time, but I have no idea if that's his intention or not." Jeb, who was always considered the most likely to succeed in politics, was the original family favorite to run for president. But in a turn of events that has become a political parable, or debacle, George surprised even his mother by upsetting Texas Governor Ann Richards in 1994. That same year, Jeb lost by two percentage points to Florida Governor Lawton Chiles. Jeb easily returned to beat Buddy McKay in 1998, but by then his brother was already in line for the White House.

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