What Did Jeb and Mitt Talk About?

What exactly did they talk about beneath a view of the snowcapped mountains of Utah perhaps? Faith and family? Compassion for those with less? Building a moderate GOP platform where Jeb reaches out and picks Mitt as his running mate? Or did Mitt submit to the will of the more ambitious man in the room? Several of his key advisors had already made the move. Perhaps Mitt Romney didn’t have a stomach for a knock-em-down-drag-em-out fight over the compassionate middle ground. What was Mitt Romney presented with that made him decide to quit and does it matter?

In fact it does matter, if only because now we have Jeb Bush steadily and calmly claiming a leading position, at least in fundraising if not policy, among GOP potential contenders. At least that gives, or will give over the coming weeks and months, a clear target for other Republican contenders as they shape their campaigns for the nomination battle. And shape they better do plenty of because Jeb Bush is good at media. It is clear his positions on immigration, on education, and perhaps other core conservative issues, will anger many GOP supporters, but he has shown the ability to talk his way out of a few corners in the past. And remember, he was easily re-elected in Florida. Conservative candidates, like Ted Cruz, will have to be sharp and focused against an avuncular Bush preaching hope rather than anger. Perhaps focusing on the reasons for the anger, and tapping into the frustration in a way that forces Jeb Bush to state his positions loud and clear would help. If, as an admiring article in the New Yorker pointed out last summer, Ted Cruz as a rookie senator has already been able to define GOP positions on precisely issues like illegal immigration, and in the face of Republican establishment opposition, then Jeb Bush may have plenty of opportunities to clarify where he stands on the issues. Courtesy of Senator Cruz. That's taking into account the difference between congressional tactics, which Cruz seems to be hard-wired for, and election/nomination campaigns, which are another matter. So, did Jeb make a deal with Mitt because he knows he's going to need all the resources he can get to successfully maintain pole position in the GOP race? It's early days yet to be sure, but by spring we should have a clearer picture of why Mitt chose to step aside. And what people like Ted have to say about Jeb.

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