Barbara Bush is getting ready to hear a sarcastic “Thanks a lot, Mom,” from both of her sons.
The former first lady declared this morning that she doesn’t think Jeb Bush will — or should — run for president in 2016 because “we’ve had enough Bushes.” In doing so, she not only complicated things for her second-born boy, who has signaled that he’s contemplating a bid for the Republican nomination next time, but simultaneously stole some of the warm headlines her first-born was expecting from the dedication of his presidential library.
“He’s by far the best qualified man, but no, I really don’t,” the woman long known as the most outspoken member of her family said when asked on NBC’s “Today” whether she expected the former Florida governor to run. “There are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified and we’ve had enough Bushes.”
She also noted that Jeb Bush would face the same downside of others — she didn’t mention Hillary Rodham Clinton by name — who seek the restoration of controversial political dynasties. “He’ll get half of our friends and all of our enemies,” Barbara Bush said.
Last year’s presidential election was the first since 1976 when nobody named Bush or Clinton was running for national office.
The entire Bush clan is in Dallas for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a $250 million library and museum that will intensify the debates about the 43rd president’s achievements and shortcomings.
And the guest of honor made it clear — in several interviews earlier this week about welcoming history’s judgment — that he doesn’t agree with his mother on the dynasty question.
“Well, big Jeb, you know, he’s got a decision to make. And if I could make it for him, it’d be run, but I can’t,” the 66-year-old former president told CNN Wednesday.
“He’d be a marvelous candidate if he chooses to do so,” he said of his 60-year-old sibling on ABC. “He doesn’t need my counsel ’cause he knows what it is, which is run.”
A CNN poll last month found 56 percent of Republicans had a favorable impression of Jeb Bush, a rating second only to House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin on a long list of potential 2016 GOP candidates.
A separate CNN poll, out late Wednesday, found that the percentage of voters who view the last Bush presidency as a failure has dropped from 68 percent the month he left office to 55 percent now.