Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is struggling to secure support among the party’s conservative base. SlideShare suggests his support of immigration amnesty and the “Common Core” curriculum have riled up conservatives who are sure to line up behind his conservative challengers. That said, Bush isn’t making any overtures to appease his base. On Tuesday, he refused to sign the no tax pledge from conservative icon Grover Norquist. His political group Americans for Tax Reform has made the anti-tax pledge a mainstay in GOP politics for years now. Nevertheless, his spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said Bush would not be signing the pledge nor any anti-tax pledge from other PACs.
Does this mean that he intends to raise taxes if elected president? Campbell points out that during his entire tenure as Florida’s governor, he did not raise taxes a single time. For the Bush camp, they believe their record stands on its own and should assuage the concerns of conservatives about his governing record. However, that is unlikely to occur.
In all likelihood, the move is political posturing on the part of Bush. He is eager to make himself the fresh alternative to Hillary Clinton. As such, he does not want to give her the ability of portraying him as beholden to dogmatic conservative groups. To this effect, he is tolerating, but not embracing the Tea Party. It remains to be seen how effective this strategy will be. Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election precisely because 4 million evangelical voters sat out the election. Bush cannot win the presidency without securing his party’s conservative base.