Opinion
8:23 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Putting another Bush on a winning GOP ticket

Well, welcome to another week. The early signs aren’t auspicious. Much of the week is supposed to be cold and rainy. We should have had the excitement of a World Series to look forward to tomorrow, but our state’s team succeeded in blowing it.

Detroit’s bankruptcy eligibility trial begins this week, and you know you’ve got problems when the best outcome you can hope for is that the judge finds that the city is a hopeless failure.

I’m sure we’ll be discussing all that and more atrocities as the week goes on. But as a Monday diversion, I thought I’d offer a bit of interesting political trivia that occurred to me this weekend.

The next presidential election is more than three years away, and our politicians ought to be concentrating on a million other things, but if you know anything about politics, you know politicians -- and political junkies -- are always looking to the next election. And there is something different about this time for the Republicans.

Throughout modern history, the moment one election has ended, there always has been a clear frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. Four years ago, it was Mitt Romney. Four years before that, John McCain. But that’s not true this time.

There’s a wide open field with absolutely no front-runner. For the first time since the 1970s, I have no idea who the Republicans will nominate for president.

But I am totally sure who they should nominate -- if they want to win. I realized this when I briefly met the candidate last spring on Mackinac Island. They need to nominate former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who badly wants the job, but is afraid to say so yet.

Now I know all the negatives. In fact, when he was on Mackinac, Bush was trying to live down the remark his mother, herself a former first lady, made on national television in April.

“We’ve had enough Bushes. There are other people out there who are very qualified,” she said. Thanks Mom.

Poor Jeb also suffers from the fact that everyone remembers that his brother was enormously unpopular when he left the White House, and his father was defeated when he ran for re-election.

But here’s something you probably didn’t know. Since 1972, every winning Republican presidential ticket has had a Bush on it -- either as president or vice president. Every one. Republicans have won the presidency five out of the six times they nominated a Bush. They have lost every time they didn’t, including three of the last five elections. What more proof do you need?

And here’s something else more remarkable. Since 1928, every winning Republican ticket has either featured a Bush -- or a Nixon -- as president or vice president.

So the implications are perfectly clear. The Republican Party needs to nominate Jeb Bush for President, and he needs to pick Michigan’s budget director, John Nixon, for vice president. That should make victory a foregone conclusion.

Now if they listen to me, it will save them a lot of time, money and aggravation. And yes, they should thank me for this. But somehow, I don’t really expect it.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst. Views expressed in the essays by Lessenberry are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.