Jeb Bushs last name comes with advantages that are difficult to overstate. In a presidential race, he gets, among other things, instant name recognition and a built-in fundraising apparatus from his father and brother. Those assets alone explain why a man who hasnt won an election in more than a decade is nonetheless considered a serious contender for his partys presidential nomination.
Yet, a few months into the presidential race, Bush has not been able to turn contender into front-runner, in part because he cannot seem to escape the legacy of the same last name that provides him so many privileges.
Bushs struggle with the Bush legacy started in February, when the former Florida governor gave a speech declaring: I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man.
There was no problem with the rhetoric, except for the fact that it was accompanied by Bush announcing his foreign policy advisers 19 of 21 of whom had worked for his father or brother. A few months later, Jeb Bush said his brother was one of his top advisers on the Middle East.
George W. Bushs policy in that region soon became a focus of inquiry on the campaign trail. In May, Fox News Megyn Kelly asked Jeb Bush: Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the (Iraq) invasion?