Here’s a video that his campaign put together as a preview:
— In case you didn’t notice, Jeb!’s selling himself as a conservative. That’s actually the title of the video: “Conservative.” The approach attempts to address the fact that the former Florida governor last ran for elective office back in 2002, and the definition of “conservative” has changed a bit since then.
— One thing that I hadn’t quite registered earlier: Jeb!’s body language and hand gestures can be eerily reminiscent of his brother, George W.
— “The federal government has no role in the setting of (education) standards, either directly or indirectly,” Bush says sternly, an effort to downplay his record in support of Common Core, which much of the GOP base now deems an effort by the federal government to take over state and local education.
— He takes much the same tack on immigration reform, stressing border control and law and order while acknowledging that we won’t be deporting 11 million people, and that granting them legal status will be necessary. He’s right in terms of policy, but we’ll see how well that message goes over with GOP primary voters.
— The shorthand economic message appears to be that “the failed tax policies, the failed regulation policies” of Democrats are the source of income inequality and reduced opportunity. The base may buy that argument, but then again, they’re presold on it. I’m not sure that’s going to sell real well with voters in general next year. After all, the policies in effect leading up to the economic collapse of 2008 — tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, etc., — surely can’t be described as Democratic, not after eight years with a Republican in the White House. (What was the president’s name back then? I’m sure somebody will remind us.)
— All in all, the video is artfully edited to give Bush a dynamism and forcefulness that I’m not sure comes naturally.
— The harder that Jeb! has to sell himself as a conservative during the primaries, the harder it will be to downplay that label should he survive into the general election. And judging from this campaign video, his strategists think they have no choice but the hard sell.