Happy New Year! We now just have 13 months before the Iowa Caucus so the presidential race is not as far away as one thinks. There is a possibility the caucus could come earlier if other states attempt to move their contests up.
So the race to 2016 is underway and we’ll soon be tripping over prospective presidential candidates here in Iowa (New Hampshire and South Carolina as well), but it doesn’t look like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will be one of those candidates early on despite being the first to state his intentions.
One such occasion for grassroots conservatives to meet with and hear from prospective candidates will be at the Iowa Freedom Summit hosted by Congressman Steve King and Citizens United later this month. Congressman King held a similar event in 2011 that was extremely well attended by prospective presidential candidates.
Mitt Romney wasn’t present however. The Washington Post reports that Jeb Bush is following in Mitt Romney’s footsteps and that is the first mistake he has made in his soon-to-be campaign.
Who is coming thus far? 2008 GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee, 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Dr. Ben Carson, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Carly Fiorina, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, former Ambassador John Bolton, new Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Obviously not everyone speaking is running for president, but several are. What I have to wonder is if Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, John Bolton and Chris Christie are showing up who have some positions that could be questionable to the base. If Dr. Ben Carson who has been questioned over his 2nd Amendment stance is coming.
What is Jeb Bush afraid of?
It’s also not so much about who the other speakers are, but who will be there. Grassroots conservatives and other movers and shakers within the Republican Party in Iowa otherwise known as the base. You know, people a candidate will have to win over in order to win.
Is Bush afraid of his own party’s base?
The Hill quoted Bush once saying that a candidate has to be willing “lose the primary to win the general.” Really? Because I don’t see how that is possible, and frankly it is an arrogant position. He first needs to win the nomination and he has to make his case to Republican voters.
Some think showing up to an event and meeting with grassroots Republicans is somehow pandering to them. No, it’s going out and earning their vote. Frankly, I don’t want a candidate to tell me what he or she thinks I want to hear. I want them to tell me what they believe and why and be willing to defend positions I disagree with.
Avoiding the base so you don’t have answer tough questions is not noble. It’s cowardly. A candidate won’t win the general election if the base of the party stays home. Ask Mitt Romney how well that strategy worked out for him after all.
Governor Bush has cleared his plate so he can explore a presidential campaign. This is a first test and it’s one he failed. You don’t win people over by avoiding them.