MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT Jeb Bush
I read this political trivia the other day and was in disbelief for a moment: no Republican presidential campaign has won an election since Roosevelt without a Bush or Nixon on the ticket.
Then I started backtracking and it's true:
Nixon was Eisenhower's vice president for eight years
Nixon was elected president in 1968
Gerald Ford served out Nixon's second term but was not elected to office, losing to Jimmy Carter in 1976
Reagan was elected in 1980 with George Herbert Walker Bush as vice president until January 20, 1989
George Herbert Walker Bush was elected president in 1988 and inaugurated on January 20, 1989
George W. Bush was "elected" president (even if by a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court) in 2000, serving until 2008
That's an incredible testament not to just the thin bench of the evil empire, but to the impact of political branding. In a television age, even Nixon can come back after losing to JFK in 1960 and losing the California governorship to Pat Brown (father of the current CA governor, Jerry Brown) in 1962. Nixon lost the lesser office of governor in '62 and famously declared to the media, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." (See the video of the concession speech here. It's quite astonishing in its bitterness and hostility.) But, of course he rebranded himself with the help of the likes of Roger Ailes and won the presidency in 1968.
Now, there are rumblings that Jeb Bush, who stayed pretty clear of the Romney-Ryan Titanic, might run as a consensus GOP candidate in 2016. And Jeb's son, George P. Bush, has just taken the first step toward running for statewide office in Texas.
National politics, to a certain degree, has become like marketing a product. Brand name pedigrees have an advantage. Money isn't needed to roll out the product. It already has a market identity.
That may be why in the premature -- but inevitable -- predictions of who might run for president in 2016, you will find that a Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton race might not be as unlikely as some might think. In fact, it might be the ultimate brand name face-off.