I have been thinking a lot about Rich Lowry's National Review piece about Jeb Bush's chances if waits to run for president in 2016, instead of 2012. I cheerfully admit that I have bought into the conventional wisdom that Jeb is making the right choice in keeping his powder dry for 2016 - Obama is a heavy favorite for re-election, so 2016 will represent an open seat, plus the bad memories of his brother's failed presidency will have all but completely faded away.
Normally, I find Rich Lowry to be an unctuous and embarrassingly groveling sort of guy. And I think that National Review has fallen on hard times, intellectually speaking, since the late, great William F. Buckley left the scene. While I might have been on the other side of many issues from Buckley, but especially since rising above the racism and anti-semitism of his early career, I almost always respected his mind. None of his successors have been worthy to even shine his shoes.
Lowry struck a chord with me. Since accepting that 2012 was a bad idea for any Bush to run for president, I have not bothered to delve below the surface of that assertion. But maybe I - and maybe we all - were wrong (except for Lowry - which might be a sign of the apocalypse).
Would Rubio really step aside for Jeb if he saw an opening? Will Bush really be a better name than Christie or Jindal or Pence (who will probably be running from a perch as governor of Indiana, instead of just being a Congressman, by then). Now that the questions have been raised, the answers don't seem to clear.
If this is so, and since Jeb seems committed to skipping out on 2012, the question now becomes whether the man who once ruled Florida with a near iron fist will swiftly become an irrelevant afterthought. He will still be a factor as an endorser in GOP primaries in Florida, but his time as a major player, across the board in Florida and nationwide, might be coming to end. In which case, perhaps Lowry's assertion struck a chord because I hope that he's right (after eight years of running Florida's budget and economy into the ground and creating long-term, structural crises for us and his successors to clean up, I'm ready to see him become a non-factor).