During his term as Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, Jeb Bush was considered a leading conservative. His actions on the issues aligned him with other influential Republicans, and gained him national recognition. Most Americans ignored the fact that he was the younger brother of the worst president in our nation’s history. Unfortunately, the likely 2016 presidential candidate may not receive the support of many of today’s conservatives; his views are too centrist, he lacks the extreme ideals of other hopefuls.
Bush’s conservative positions on issues important to the GOP base eight years ago lack the ‘all or nothing’ attitude of the TEA Party which now controls Republican policy. Although Bush reduced expenditures in Florida’s government, took action against abortion, was vocal about his opposition to affirmative action and gun control, and saved voters millions of dollars in taxes, his views today on common core education and immigration are displeasing to many Republicans.
A human right’s issue has been raised by prospective voters.
On March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo died. Ms. Schiavo had been diagnosed as a ‘person existing in a permanent vegetative state’ by multiple independent physicians, as a result of severe brain damage which eliminated oxygen flow to her brain. Her parents and the doctor they employed disagreed. Her husband, who had legal guardianship over her, wanted to remove the feeding tube which was keeping his wife alive; the parents and her doctor took legal action in an attempt to stop the action which would end Ms. Schiavo’s life, although the young woman had previously indicated to her husband that she did not want her life prolonged unnecessarily.
President George W. Bush, and Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush became involved in the issue, both supporting Ms. Schiavo’s parents.
The legal battle became an issue of national prominence. It resulted in a heated discussion between those who support civil rights, and devout religious right to life supporters. Eventually the court sided with Mr. Schiavo, and the tube was removed.
Criticism came from supporters of individual rights. They were highly critical of the President and Florida’s Governor for becoming involved in a civil rights case based on their own religious beliefs. Today Mr. Schiavo is campaigning against Jeb Bush’s attempt to gain the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
Many Republicans have stated their opinion that Bush may not be conservative enough to receive the support of the party’s base. He will be challenged by another Floridian, Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the TEA Party.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul just finished two days of campaigning in the ‘sunshine state.’ He received energetic applause as he spoke of his libertarian philosophies of individual rights, and the cessation of our nation’s interventionist policies in foreign lands.
Although recent polls show that Bush is the leading Republican at present, areas of the nation are demonstrating support for more radical ideas. In areas where GOP candidates have been able to instigate vehement opposition to the President, Bush’s popularity is in question. Some voters who were surveyed are diametrically opposed to ‘establishment’ candidates such as the former governor.
By James Turnage