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Ok, Jeb proclaimed he wasn't going to run for President in 2008. So, let's get this one out of the way right up front: since when does a Party's "darling" who plays hard to get, eschew changing his mind, if DRAFTED to run. Therefore, Jeb will be the GOP's candidate with ONE very important caveat. The entire political landscape changes rendering Jeb ineligible (read: "UNelectable") if George W. is indicted and/or impeached. Like it or not, Jeb's reputation and chances hinge on his brother's escape from criminal and/or malefactorable notoriety. Naturally, at this pregnant moment in history, big brother's "OK" reputation is by NO MEANS safe. If Rumsfeld is indicted and charged ... George W. suddenly becomes "naked" to the same attack.

Now, John McCain appears to be the Repub's first choice. With his Iraq advice for BEEFING up the troop strength at first, and then effecting a phased withdrawal of troops, his approach will likely appeal to George W., as well as, perhaps, become acceptable to those who want us to get out. Frankly, if we wish to succeed in mitigating or eliminating the insurgency, adding a couple of hundred thousand troops (thereby overwhelming the al quaida and militia contingencies) looks very attractive. Taking away weapons, removing cells of resistance and negating opposition should have been Rumsfeld's answer years ago (instead of relying on his arrogance). Whether it would still work is highly questionable. However, it all depends on whether we hope to mollify the situation, or just leave and let them deal with what's left. Anyway, if Jeb fails due to the aforementioned George W. opprobrium, McCain seems best positioned to gain the nod.

So, let's look at Jeb's pluses and minuses. He's 53 years old and a converted Catholic. So, on which side of the ledger do we place any of this: of course, depending upon our OWN preferences, we'll select won't we? But, some of it is rather easy. Unlike his brother, Jeb was a fine scholar, having graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelors' degree in Latin American Studies in 1973 from The University of Texas at Austin. He registered for the draft, but the Vietnam War ended before his number came up. After earning his degree, Bush went to work in the international division of Texas Commerce Bank, which was a job he received through the influence of James A. Baker (yes, THAT James Baker). Jeb was transferred to Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to open a new operation for the bank. He spent two years there, attracting a lot of new business to that bank and gaining considerable respect for his business acumen. He moved his family there as well.

In 1980, Jeb returned to the U.S. to work on his father's campaign for president. In THAT year, his father ultimately lost the Republican nomination, but Ronald Reagan chose George H. W. Bush as his running mate. Then, in 1988, George H. W. Bush won the presidential election becoming the nation's 41st president. Following the 1980 election, Jeb moved his family to Miami-Dade County in Florida where he took a job in real estate. Although in 1981, Jeb earned $41,508 (not a fortune), he soon became a valuable real estate salesman. He was also involved in many entrepreneurial pursuits. Jeb also became a lobbyist with success on behalf of a company called International Medical Centres, lobbying the Reagan/Bush administration. "I want to become very wealthy," Jeb Bush proclaimed to the Miami News during an interview.

In what might be counted as a liability: Jeb interceded with his father, when father was president, to pardon Orlando Bosch, a Cuban exile. Bosch had been labeled an "unrepentant terrorist: by Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. Bosch was released from prison and granted residency in the U.S.

Anyway, Jeb lost an election for Governor of Florida in 1994 to Lawton Chiles. In 1998, however, Jeb defeated Democratic opponent Lt. Governor Buddy MacKay to become Governor of Florida, courting the state's moderate voters and Hispanics. It should be added that Jeb Bush speaks Spanish fluently and often gives speeches to the large number of Spanish speaking population in Florida.

Bush has focused on education reform and other charitable programs. He also sought to protect the Florida Everglades and opposed federal plans to drill for oil off the coast of Florida. Nevertheless, he DID compromise with other Republicans to allow some offshore drilling for oil.

Some have charged that it was he who assisted George W.'s 2000 presidential election by tampering with the voter rolls and then certifying a controversial election, though evidence to back those charges haven't been established. There HAVE, however been questions raised about Bush's involvement in the infamous "Florida Felons List" affair in which black and Democratic voters who were not felons were erroneously listed as ineligible to vote. Bush ignored warnings from computer experts that the list was in error and should not be used.

Jeb Bush was also actively involved in the Terri Schiavo case (the brain damaged woman who had irreversible damage and who was on a feeding tube for over 15 years. Bush, who is pro-life, signed "Terri's Law," passed by the Florida legislature permitting the Governor to keep Schiavo alive. However, the law was judged unconstitutional by Florida's Supreme Court and when the decision was appealed to the federal courts, the U. S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Well, this pretty well provides an overview of Jeb Bush. As stated above, Bush denied interest in running for president. But that was way back in November of 2004. It is "instructive" that there is a website selling "Jeb 2008" presidential bumper stickers and pins which opened up in 2005, and in May of this year, George W. DID make the following statement: "Jeb would make a great president."

And so, you can do your own prognostication. But, mine is "BARRING a major stumble, look for Jeb Bush to become the Republican candidate for president in 2008".
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