David Frum

03.18.13

Go Jeb Bush Go

Video screenshot

I have my problems with Jeb Bush, but this passage of his speech at CPAC is not one of them. 

"It is not a validation of our conservative principles if we can only point to the increasingly rare individual who overcomes adversity and succeeds in America," Bush said. "Here’s reality: if you’re fortunate enough to count yourself among the privileged, much of the rest of the nation is drowning.

"In our country today, if you’re born poor, if your parents didn’t go to college, if you don’t know your father, if English isn’t spoken at home, then the odds are stacked against you. You are more likely to stay poor today than at any other time since World War II," he said.

Bush lamented that liberals have "channeled the anger and frustration that comes from this oppressive dynamic and used it as an opportunity to attack the very idea of success itself," and argued that conservatism holds out the best path upward for those without power or means.

"Conservative principles, and not liberal dogma, best reflect the ideals that made this nation great," he said.

But he faulted the GOP for not caring about large swaths of the country, and said if that attitude remains, the right will forfeit its ability to influence the nation.

Not going to engage in 2016 speculation here. All I'll say is the GOP needs more candidates in this vein if it hopes to build a coalition for the 21st century. Who will lead it?