It seems that every four years, the race for the White House more closely resembles a television reality show. Too often the media, punditry and even some candidates emphasize style over substance, polls over policy and conflict over competence.
Republican voters have a number of capable, experienced candidates. But when my former boss Rick Perry dropped out, I had a choice to make.
To choose a candidate, I laid out three basic principles based on my many years of involvement in politics and governance.
- A candidate for president must have some prior electoral experience. The presidency is not an entry-level job.
- The president should come from the states, not Washington, D.C., or Congress. As envisioned by the Tenth Amendment, states have driven policy innovation and economic success, while Washington has been mired in dysfunction.
- The most consistent, proven and successful conservative is the best-suited to fix the country and spark economic opportunity after years of federal stagnation and gridlock.
Based on those factors, Jeb Bush is the strongest candidate in the race today. He never served in Washington or Congress and has no vested interests there. He was a successful big-state conservative governor in a fast-growing state. He’s reliably pro-life and pro-reform. And Jeb is a proven fiscal, social and Tenth Amendment conservative leader.
The best guide for predicting a candidate’s future success is to look at his or her record.
In Florida, Jeb signed eight balanced budgets and cut taxes eight years in a row, saving families and businesses $19 billion. In his own words, “We cut taxes every year. Cut the state workforce by 13,000. One year, we enacted six laws aimed at protecting our citizens’ right to bear arms. My opponents called me a lot of names, but the one I liked best was Veto Corleone. I vetoed over 2,500 line items in the state’s budget.”
Vetoes are an important and often overlooked indicator of strong leadership. Vetoes show a willingness to shake up the political system and annoy special interests, even in your own party. Jeb Bush is not afraid to shock the political system.
During his tenure as governor, Jeb Bush’s policies encouraged 1.3 million new jobs. Florida’s gross domestic product and household incomes improved significantly during his years as governor.
In this time of failed liberal policies and economic atrophy, America needs a tax-cutting, job-creating, conservative former governor in the White House.
As a candidate, Jeb has been the most prolific in outlining detailed and conservative policy proposals. His plans include:
Reforming Washington by way of a federal balanced budget amendment and eliminating wasteful federal spending through a constitutionally sound line-item veto, such as the version that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan has proposed. He has also called for docking the pay of absentee members of Congress and freezing federal hiring.
Cutting taxes for most, repealing the complex alternative minimum tax and helping dual-earner married couples. Jeb’s tax cut plan would reduce the current seven tax rates to just three: 10 percent, 25 percent and 28 percent, down from today’s whopping top rate of 40 percent. The Bush tax cut plan would remove 15 million additional households from the tax rolls, while more than 40 million middle class families would see their tax rates cut by one-third. “More than any other presidential candidate, Jeb Bush has put forth a detailed plan that dramatically changes the landscape for individual taxpayers,” The Wall Street Journal reported last month.
Securing the border and enforcing immigration laws. Jeb would crack down and withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities. He would help train local law enforcement in immigration law enforcement, especially in local jails and prisons. And he would require electronic verification of employment eligibility in the U.S.
Jeb would identify and send home people who are entering the United States and overstaying their visas or otherwise violating the terms of their admission. His plan builds fencing and other infrastructure along the border to attack illegal crossings and improve law enforcement access and capabilities. It increases Border Patrol resources closer to hot spots and utilizes cartel-beating technology including drones, radar and advanced sensors to reduce criminal activity along the border.
Defeating ISIS and threats from radical Islamic terrorists. Jeb knows that although the Obama Administration avoids even calling it by name, one of the very gravest threats America and our friends face today comes from radical Islamic terrorists. He has clear plans to defeat ISIS and improve America’s role in anti-terror military preparedness, and strong, effective and pro-American diplomacy.
Creating jobs in the energy industry by lifting restrictions on exports of American oil and natural gas, approving the Keystone XL Pipeline and eliminating right-size rules and permitting practices that unnecessarily suppress U.S. energy production. He wants states — not the federal government alone — to make the best decisions about the benefits and costs of oil and gas development.
Looking beyond the family name — which is known for service, decency, integrity and strong leadership — Jeb Bush is the only candidate in the GOP field who is a proven Washington outsider, job creator and conservative tax cutter. He is the most reliably pro-life, pro-family, pro-education reform conservative in the Republican presidential ranks.
Jeb Bush has the best qualities for electoral success and the right ideas for fixing America’s ailing economy and government.