Pick the best … Jeb Bush

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush addressing the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Annual Conference last month.

Over the past several weeks, there has been endless media speculation on the GOP Vice Presidential pick. What is interesting, but also alarming, is the focus on satisfying the expectations of the party’s base instead of merit and competency.  It is another major example of where our nation’s priority compass is off course.

Shortly after the election, we will have to make some enormously painful and vital decisions relative to extending the Bush tax cuts, lifting the nation’s debt limit and bringing the budget into closer balance.  These domestic decisions will be made in the midst of a continuing uprising in the Middle East and a severe debt crisis in Europe.  In short, the actions taken by the United States will have a major impact on a fragile global economy.

What this suggests is that both political parties have an obligation to present to all the voters their best and brightest.  For the Republicans it means people of accomplishment and proven competence.  Personally, I would move former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, to the top of the list.  Yes, his selection may overshadow the likely nominee, Mitt Romney, but that may be a significant asset.  Speaking frankly, Romney is currently swimming in troubled waters and there is a declining confidence in his ability to survive.  He needs a life raft that suggests quality.  In political terms, that would be a game changer.

There are others that should be considered including Senators Portman and Coburn, former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, along with Governor Mitch Daniels. They are clearly qualified and would bring good judgment and balance to the ticket.

But no one has the heavyweight appeal of Jeb Bush who enjoyed a highly successful run as Governor of Florida and has a demonstrated ability to work with both parties.  In short, he can successfully govern and that is key.

Further, his appeal goes well beyond a narrow party base and  he would likely capture a large segment of middle America.  It goes without saying that his presence on the ticket would give the party real steadiness at the top.

Names like Governors Pawlenty and Jindal are advanced on the grounds that they are considered “safe”.  In other words, they will not overshadow Romney nor will they attract negative attention.  At least that is the speculation.

However, I would respectfully disagree.  If the principal Republican argument is that President Obama has not successfully led this nation out of its financial crisis then one would expect the Republican team to have demonstrated excellence in this area.

As stated, Romney is having difficulty and needs some serious shoring up with a solid VP pick.  Bush, Rice, Daniels, Portman, Colburn all have solid financial credentials. Pawlenty possesses many political skills but financial management is not one of them.  Against the repeated advice of rating agencies, Pawlenty borrowed heavily to balance budgets and left Minnesota with a massive deficit and a downgraded credit rating.   In addition, he presided over the largest property tax increases in the state’s history.  That is hardly a platform from which to launch criticism of Obama’s fiscal management.

However, in another twist, the issue that could ignite some national interest is the continuing saga of a Minnesota Republican Party deeply in debt and allegations of serious – possibly criminal – mismanagement by Pawlenty’s choice for party chairman.  The last thing Romney needs is more distraction.

With a campaign currently floundering, Romney would be well advised to do what his father would do – pick the most talented individual for the well being of the nation.  That is always the safest choice.  For my money, it is Jeb Bush.

This post was written by Arne Carlson and originally published on the Govenor Arne Carlson blog.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/19/2012 - 07:31 am.

    Why is it that only the republicans

    have to run “people of accomplishment and proven competence?”

    Where were Barack Obama’s accomplishments and proven competence at the HEAD of the ticket, not just VP? Other than making Dan Quayle look like a rocket scientist, what are Joe Biden’s accomplishments?

    Give me a break, governor. Everyone under consideration already is more qualified to be president than the current occupant of the White House.

    • Submitted by Lance Groth on 07/19/2012 - 05:26 pm.

      Living in the past

      Dennis, come on now, you’re living in the past, and that worn out old whine about Obama’s experience won’t get you anywhere. Whatever you may have thought of his experience in 2008, he’s been president for 3.5 years. There’s nothing like OJT, and he now has the experience in spades. Just ask bin Laden.
      Or the auto industry he saved. Or the 30 million Americans who can finally get insurance under the ACA. Look at the carnage Bush left him in 2008. You should be thanking him for stopping the implosion. Hell, you can even ask Romney, who’s been dancing to Obama’s tune for the past month, unable to control the narrative.

      Dan Quayle, a rocket scientist?? Mr. Happy Campers? Thanks for the belly laugh. 50 Quayles don’t add up to one Biden, who has been a good, loyal VP to Obama, doing much of the heavy lifting behind the scenes. Where a VP belongs, unlike VP Vader in the previous administration.

      BTW, how exactly did Romney’s IRA grow to $100 million without breaking the law, anyway? When he’s finally forced to release a decade’s worth of tax forms & explain his offshore accounts, etc., he’ll be unelectable, and it won’t matter who his VP pick is.

  2. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 07/19/2012 - 10:03 am.


    Gov. Arne Carlson,

    The big question is this – who will you vote for in November?

  3. Submitted by Richard Pecar on 07/19/2012 - 11:27 am.

    VP’s are window dressing and anyway…

    Can’t go along with your idea Gov…

    If Jeb Bush has any national aspirations for 2012, he would do better for himself and the Republican Party and perhaps the country to undermine the Convention by using every parliamentary means available to thwart Romney’s endorsement.

    The delegates to the convention are envoys that can change their minds and adapt to conditions and new information, one of which is Romney can’t win….and actually, that has been a constant condition throughout his candidacy. I don’t know why the small number of republicans voting in state primaries couldn’t figure out that one. He can’t win.

    Besides, we wouldn’t need a national convention if national delegates weren’t able to change their minds and shrug off the bonds of state primaries. National conventions just one are last chance to re-think the results of state primaries. And, Romney can’t win. Also, we elect people to congress and state houses all the time, they are our delegates and nothing binds them to their campaign promises.

    Put it another way, if the repulican delegates decide not to vote to endorse Romney, is against election law? Can they be arrested on the spot and hauled off to jail? Hardly. A vote is a vote and that’ it. There is no recourse other than never sending them to another national convention becuase they had been naughty and this convention…of course, they also could be treated as heroes for shrugging off convention behavior at the convention…

    My suggestion Gov is to support a rebellion at the convention.

    Oh yeah, did I mention Romney can’t win?

  4. Submitted by chuck holtman on 07/19/2012 - 11:42 am.

    Jeb Bush, in concert with Katherine Harris, spent two years intentionally scrubbing tens if not hundreds of thousands of eligible African-American voters from the rolls in advance of the 2000 election. This was one of several independent proximate causes allowing his brother to be installed as president. This in itself demonstrates the amorality that makes him unfit to hold any position of responsibility. I am tired of Mr Bush being considered as one of the serious leaders, which can be asserted with a straight face only because of his competition.

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/19/2012 - 01:47 pm.

    Thank you Arne

    You may rest assured that Republicans will treat your advice with the credibility it deserves.

  6. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/20/2012 - 06:59 am.

    The number of potential VP’s preemptively declining should worry Republicans. Smart politicians do not hitch their wagons to a falling star. I suspect the winning candidate will be the one believed most likely to appeal to Independents and the elusive center. Conservatives have no where to go and Romney is smart enough to know he owes them nothing.

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