Jeb Bush’s Crucial Miscalculation

Jeb_Bush_by_Gage_SkidmoreRick Hess of American Enterprise Institute penned an op/ed today in National Review.  He asked if the Common Core could be Jeb Bush’s Romneycare.  In short – yes, and it will probably tank his ability to win the Republican nomination should he run for President.

Hess writes about Bush’s crucial miscalculation:

So what’s gone wrong? Bush made a crucial miscalculation: He failed to do anything that would signal to conservatives that he took seriously their concerns about federal overreach or potential Obama partisanship when it came to Common Core. This summer, when the House Republicans included a provision in their new version of No Child Left Behind that would have prohibited the federal government from meddling in state standards, Bush was nowhere to be seen. In contrast, Bush has often come across as Common Core’s emissary to the Right. He has pitched Common Core to the Right, but he has not publicly defended conservative concerns to his Democratic allies or incipient nationalizers. It would have been good politics and policy if he had publicly challenged the Obama team for politicizing and federalizing Common Core.

Without such pushback, the Obama administration, full of enthusiasm, unconcerned about an expanding federal role, and eager to score political points, has been only too happy to wade into this nominally state-driven exercise through Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind waivers, and much else.

A little pushback on Hess… I agree with him in part.  It would have been good to see such action from Bush.  There are a couple of assumptions made with this argument.  One that Bush is conservative and would actually care about conservative concerns, and two that conservatives would be ok with a top-down approach to implementing standards even if the Feds were not involved – which I, at least, am not.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 3.0)