Jeb Bush and the Choir

One can argue that church architecture throughout history has been the metaphorical representation of a given society’s faith, and even that society’s organization. Soaring Gothic Cathedrals as splendid monuments to faith. Humble wooden churches on the great plains as bare puritan houses of worship with little intermediation between the faithful and their God. In Coral Gables, Jeb Bush attends the Church of the Little Flower, a red-tiled-roofed structure with a vaguely neo-romanesque shape. It is here that he takes the wafer of communion at mass as he has done for twenty years now since converting to the faith of the rest of his immediate family. The episcopalian church (or Anglican in the rest of the world) of his youth has drifted with the times and is fractured into distant communities. So Jeb chose the path of the sacraments and absolute authority of Rome. And he began winning elections.

So when Jeb Bush asks the GOP to stop preaching exclusively to the choir, his faith clearly is part of his view on politics. A view that can embrace a more moderate stance on the two issues that divide him from conservatives: Common Core and amnesty for illegals. A view that can also depart from Vatican positions on the death penalty for example, but remain true to their positions on abortion. One has to wonder yet again, what kind of conservative is Jeb Bush? Or more importantly, what kind of president will he be?

What the former governor seems to have intended, is for GOP candidates to speak to young voters, specifically to speak at college campuses where politically correct positions overwhelmingly prevail. And to speak to latinos, where immigration is all about amnesty. What kind of governor was Jeb Bush? A hard line conservative who spoke like a moderate and cut government and taxes every year in office? Darryl Paulson, government professor at the University of South Florida seems to think so. And a popular governor as well. He left office with approval ratings over 50%, very unusual for a departing governor. He was viewed as a conservative and a successful one. But times change. And there's another factor as well.

Latinos are a diverse group, and most illegals are Mexicans while Florida has a preponderance of Cubans, who tend to be more conservative and are legal immigrants since LBJ's Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. That means that keeping Florida voters happy while still being a conservative is much easier than dealing with Mexican communities in Texas, Arizona, California and elsewhere. Jeb clearly knows this, he was Texan before becoming Floridian, and perhaps he feels he needs to talk like a moderate to get to the White House, where he can start acting like a true conservative. But that means that, once again, we can't be sure what kind of conservative Jeb Bush is. But perhaps, in his own confidence of his faith and the path he chose into the Catholic Church, Jeb Bush knows who he is. He needs to share that with the very choir - conservatives and evangelicals - he is asking the GOP to look beyond.

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