Over the past few months the neocons haven’t really shown a great deal of enthusiasm for any of the candidates running so far for the Republican ticket for the 2012 Presidential election. Michelle Bachmann simply faded away; Mitt Romney turned out to be wishy-washy on climate change; as for Herman Cain, well let’s face it, his race was over the moment someone mumbled something about ‘sex’. Rick Perry’s race was over when he mumbled ‘Oops’; and, while Newt Gingrich is now top of the charts, he just doesn’t have the support of the neocons who regard him increasingly as a ‘flip-flop’ man who is happy to nod and shake his head in any way any given audience wants him to at the time. And Ron Paul, of course, is loathed by the neocons for his isolationist stance.
William Kristol, one of neoconservatisms most influential pundits, penned a piece in the Weekly Standard earlier this week which, reading between the lines, seemed to despair at the motley crew who are currently vying for the top job. He offers up a list of other vaguely possible contenders who haven’t put their hands up – yet. His list includes Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush – in that order.
Mike Huckabee? But why? He didn’t get to the top of the pile in 2008, so why would Kristol think he might get up this time? The answer is; Kristol doesn’t. Huckabee’s name’s there just to make up the numbers.
Same with Sarah Palin. Even if she did step in at this late stage, one wonders if she’d get any serious support from the neocons after her last bungling blustering efforts last time.
Paul Ryan? Ryan is one potential candidate that the neocons would support – if he were to put himself up. This, though, is unlikely and Kristol knows it. Back in January of this year Kristol was promoting a Ryan for President push with Marco Rubio as vice-President runner. But by August Ryan was suggesting Kristol should find someone else to fantasise about.
Chris Christie? A month later Kristol was pleading for Christie to step up. One couldn’t blame Christie if he felt a bit miffed about being asked by Kristol only after Ryan had declined Kristol’s advances. No one likes being second fiddle.
Mitch Daniels? In May, Kristol was wondering if Daniels might run, but by October his hopes were dashed and they are unlikely to be re-awakened.
Marco Rubio? As already mentioned, Kristol had Rubio behind Ryan on a president/vice-president ticket so why would Rubio now be enthralled by Kristol’s suggestion?
Jeb Bush? When one reads out a list there is a psychological advantage of being the last name on the list; you’re invariably the first one to be remembered and therefore shoved into prominence. Was that Kristol’s intention?
So soon after the detested George W. Bush, Jeb, his brother, would be a hard one to sell to the American people. Fortunately for the American people, however, Jeb Bush ruled himself out of the 2012 race much earlier on but if it seems that those that are currently in the race aren’t going to do the trick for the neocons, then just maybe Jeb Bush might reconsider even at this late date. Certainly, there are a lot on the right in the republican movement who are hoping just that.
Jeb Bush is a far more articulate and more sophisticated person than his brother George will ever be and would superficially have far more appeal. But that doesn’t mean to say that Jeb would be a better President; it just means that he’d be able to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people more successfully than his brother George did - or not. Jeb Bush became a neoconservative long before his older brother became one and was a signatory to the June 1997 Project for the New American Century Statement of Principles.
If ever Jeb Bush did become president the world could look forward to a very dark future as it feeds on the ideas and ideology of neoconservatives eager to finish what they started when Jeb’s brother was President.
Let's hope Kristol doesn't get his wish. The world will not be a better place.