Jeb Bush, Common Core, and the 2016 Presidential Race

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) announced that he would “actively explore” a campaign for President yesterday.  As I’ve said before this will be an issue that dings him.  Some have tried to downplay Common Core as an electoral issue by judging how it played during the 2014 midterm elections.  This ignores the impact it is sure to make during Republican primaries.

Time points out that Common Core is the one issue that will complicate his campaign.

Jeb Bush loves Common Core. The Republican base hates it.

Bush’s announcement this morning that he plans to “explore the possibility of running for President of the United States” means that the Republican Party is going to have to sort out where it stands on this tinderbox of an issue.

Actually the Republican Party has pointed out again and again and again and again through various resolutions both at the national and state level it opposes the Common Core.

Common Core won’t just complicate his campaign, but Bush will run into a buzz saw when he travels to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and anywhere else where he will have to meet with the base of the party.

Time also writes:

Common Core now represents a kind of shorthand among Republicans: if you’re a real conservative, you’re against it; if you’re a faker, you’re for it. As a result, Republican governors in Oklahoma, Indiana, South Carolina and Missouri have scrambled to get on the right side of that divide, angrily decrying Common Core as “shameless government overreach” or even smearing it as “Obama-core.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is often listed among the potential Republican presidential hopefuls, used to support Common Core, but now is so publicly against it that he has launched lawsuits against his own state and the U.S. Department of Education, claiming that the standards are a violation of state rights.

While most of that is shameless political theater, it still leaves Jeb Bush in a tricky position: in order to win the Republican nomination, he’s going to have to win over the Republican conservative base, which hates Common Core with the fire of a thousand suns. The easiest way to do that would be to disown Common Core. But that’s not likely to be in the cards.

Speaking of shameless political theater, color Joy Pullmann skeptical at The Federalist.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has been pretty blunt about Bush’s (and others) chances in light of his Common Core support.  In October  Paul said of a hypothetical candidate: “I don’t see Common Core being—if you’re for Common Core and you’re for a national curriculum, I don’t see it being a winning message in a Republican primary.  If there’s a Republican candidate out there—let’s just say there’s a hypothetical one that’s for Common Core. I’m saying that that hypothetical candidate that’s for Common Core probably doesn’t have much chance of winning in a Republican primary,” Paul told Breitbart News.

Paul directly fired at Bush in an interview with the Washington Post.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) fired a warning shot on education at Jeb Bush (R) Tuesday evening, saying the former Florida governor’s support for Common Core education standards would be a “big problem” for him among conservatives in a Republican primary.

“I think most conservative Republicans think that education should be more at the local and state level. So yeah, I think it will be a big problem,” Paul told The Washington Post in a brief interview in the Capitol.

And so 2016 begins and Common Core is right in the think of it.