So far, it appears that incumbent Sen. Mel Martinez would complete his term. That would seem to be a fine idea for at least two reasons. First, it would separate Jeb Bush from the dynastic appointment epidemic which is both distasteful and potentially harmful to the 2010 re-election prospects of those elevated without benefit of an election. Second, it will allow him to critique the progress of the new administration and the Democratic Congress over the next two years. If we don’t stage a miraculous recovery and the Obama administration’s plans don’t work out quite as planned, Bush and other 2010 challengers will be in an ideal spot.
But what of the “child of dynasty” snark from the media? Isn’t this problematic — especially for the brother of a horribly unpopular president? In a word, “no.” Unlike Caroline Kennedy, Jeb Bush was a successful public servant and has defined ideas, relevant experience and no problem mixing it up with the media. He’s not claiming the seat as a birthright, he’ll gain it, if he does, in spite of his bloodline. And as for the George W. Bush connection, Florida voters I think are savvy enough to discern the difference between the two. With President Bush out of the White House, Jeb will not be compelled to defend every or really any aspect of his brother’s presidency. Jeb has been quite clear that he’s a “smaller” if not exactly a “small” government conservative. ( Read: “”I’m not a compassionate conservative — whatever that is.”)
Republicans don’t have much to be cheery about these days, but they could do worse than to gain an articulate, experienced conservative to help shape the image and agenda of the party.