Barbara Bush on Jeb 2016: "We’ve Had Enough Bushes"

by
Owen Poindexter
Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, mother of George W. Bush, gave a surprising answer to the question, should Jeb Bush run for president in 2016.

Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, mother of George W. Bush, gave a surprising answer to the question, should Jeb Bush run for president in 2016:

"He's by far the best qualified man, but no. I really don't. It's a great country, there are a lot of great families, and it's not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there who are very qualified, and we've had enough Bushes."

Usually the question of Bush fatigue is put in terms of other voters ("will the voters accept a third Bush president?") but it's striking to hear from Jeb Bush's mother that she personally does not think that the Bush family should go for its third president. There are real reasons for that too: it sends all the wrong messages to our democracy if all the presidents from one party come from one family. As Barbara Bush says, this is not about Jeb's qualifications, it's about not appearing to have a Bush dynasty, something which could imperil the Republican party regardless of Jeb's qualifications.

(Incidentally, there is another George Bush, Jeb's son, who is ascending in Texas state politics, and could hypothetically think about a run for president in, say, 2024 or 2028, meaning the Bushes could have at least four presidents in their family and all the GOP presidents since Reagan. Very unlikely, of course, but possible, which is hilarious and a little frightening.)

One has to wonder if there would also be Clinton fatigue if Hillary decided to run in 2016. This would be something to contend with, but ultimately less of an issue for Hillary. She has established her own identity, quite separate and perhaps even larger than her husband Bill’s. There is also only one Clinton in our political past, not two, and they are related by marriage, not blood, which might count for something.

That said, the nation might collectively cringe if the 2016 race was Clinton v. Bush.

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