If Jeb Bush decides to run for president, he will have several advantages: access to deep-pocketed donors; a national network of political operatives who helped his brother George get elected twice; and a popularity among the Morning Joe media elite set who see him as a possible savior of the Republican Party.
But he also will face a deep skepticism among the conservative grass roots and the Tea Partiers who fuel the Republican primary process.
“I don’t know him real well, but from what I have read he is not someone I could support,” said Scott Hofstra, a Tea Party leader active in Kentucky. He cited Bush’s support for the Common Core, an Obama administration plan to nationalize educational standards, which Hofstra said “takes the teachers out of education and treats every child the same.”
“The Tea Party is very much a constitutionally based group, and that is not something we could support,” he added.
It was a feeling echoed by nearly a dozen grassroots leaders around the country interviewed Monday, as Bush basked in the glow of rekindled interest in his political prospects after he spoke at an event in Texas over the weekend to honor the 25th anniversary of father’s presidency.
The speech did little to endear him to conservatives. Bush defended his position on Common Core, saying, “I just don’t feel compelled to run for cover when I think this is the right thing to do for our country”; criticized Republicans for the tenor of the primary campaigns in years past; and, most controversially, appeared to defend undocumented immigrants. “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony; it’s an act of love,” he said.
Several of the conservative leaders interviewed by The Daily Beast said they saw those comments as evidence that Bush is not a true conservative.
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