- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 21, 2015

He’s like the friend of a friend. Voters know Jeb Bush; he seems familiar, though public impressions of the Republican presidential hopeful are still mixed. One-thousand Americans were asked to describe Mr. Bush in a single word of their own choosing — and here are the top-10, verbatim, based on how many times they were cited: Bush, family, likable, liberal, conservative, moderate, RINO, good, honest and OK — this according to an Economist/YouGov survey.

Respondents have “mixed feelings” at this point, says analyst Kathy Frankovic, who notes that the word “liberal” was more prominent than “conservative” in the word cloud that emerged from the survey, followed very closely by “moderate.”

“Likability is one of the biggest positives. But in addition to the ideological mentions, the word ‘Bush‘ is dominant. It may be a reference — at least in part — to his brother, former President George W. Bush, and his father, former President George H.W. Bush,” Ms. Frankovic says. “That link may be one of the reasons that two-thirds of Republicans describe Jeb Bush as qualified for the presidency. But it is also something negative among the public overall, ‘Bush‘ is much more likely to be cited by those who don’t like Jeb Bush than by those who do.”

‘RAND PAUL IS THAT CANDIDATE’

Matt Kibbe was the founder and president of Freedomworks, a 6-million-member grass-roots advocacy group promoting free markets and liberty. But he’s stepped away to form Concerned American Voters, a political action committee to support Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign, and they are starting big, touting millions of “committed” donor dollars and 40 full-time staffers in Iowa.

“Once in a while, you discover a presidential candidate who has the potential to change the political conversation, to elevate key issues in voters’ minds, and disrupt and transform a tired Republican brand,” says Mr. Kibbe. “Once in a lifetime, maybe, you will have an opportunity to support a transformative candidate who can do all of these things, and win. Rand Paul is that candidate.”

A PALIN FAN EMERGES

Some 2016 observers are intrigued with the idea of a political match between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carly Fiorina. One observer in particular, however, has another opponent in mind.

Marco Rubio is a big loser. Ted Cruz is a giant loser. If Scott Walker really supported Obamatrade, then he’s finished. He’s toast. I hate to say this, but I’m beginning to think that only Sarah Palin could save America. I would love to see her go up against Hillary Clinton. You think she wouldn’t stand a chance?” talk radio host Michael Savage asked his 7-million-member listening audience Friday.

“As far as I know, Sarah Palin’s husband didn’t make hundreds of millions of dollars while Sarah Palin was governor. As far as I know, Sarah Palin’s children didn’t benefit to the tune of tens of millions of dollars while their mother was governor. If Palin stuck to Hillary Clinton’s corruption, that would be it,” declared Mr. Savage.

Mrs. Palin herself has something to say, advising voters in a Facebook post to “ignore the media’s participation in the liberal Pantsuit Politics of Personal Destruction.”

A YOUNG CONSERVATIVE STEPS UP

Advancing through the ranks: that would be Wesley Goodman, just over 30 and a former legislative assistant to Rep. Jim Jordan. Mr. Goodman developed pro-family, pro-liberty policies during his time with the Ohio Republican, served on the Republican Study Committee, and later as managing director for the Conservative Action Project.

He’s now decided to run for office himself, seeking a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.

“I’ve met too many who think your voice doesn’t matter and shouldn’t matter — that those already in Columbus or D.C. are best equipped to govern,” Mr. Goodman says. “They’re wrong. Rural, small-town life is our state and country’s backbone. That’s a big reason why I’m running. Our heartland values are worth fighting for. Faith, family, service, stewardship, strong education, and investment in our local communities are what Ohioans value.”

THE CANNABIS CROWD UPS THE ANTE

It’s “Marijuana Week” in Denver, a focal point for tour companies that now cater to legal weed fans, directing them to “cannabis friendly” hotels and growing seminars. But the business speculators have also arrived. Some 200 “high net worth investors from around the world” also gather in the “Mile High City” this week at the Arc View Forum — a “Shark Tank”-like showcase for eager tycoons who seek funding.

“The best entrepreneurial minds and the sharpest investors are turning their attention to the fastest-growing industry in America: the cannabis industry,” says Troy Dayton, CEO of ArcView, which organized the encounter in conjunction with the National Cannabis Industry Association’s annual business summit, also in town.

“Cannabis is the next great American industry,” Mr. Dayton advises.

CONSERVATIVES READY TO RUMBLE

There’s another gathering in Denver this week, with a distinctly different mission. Organized by Colorado Christian University, the Western Conservative Summit is set for a major downtown convention center, advising its 4,000 incoming delegates that “there’s a rebirth going on in America. Be part of it. After decades of slipping to the left, citizen patriots have re-engaged in the public arena, and our political discourse has been enriched by their voices.”

The three-day event has also attracted the indefatigable presidential hopefuls, including Gov. Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, George Pataki and Rick Perry plus heavyweights ranging from radio host Hugh Hewitt and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins to CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow, security maven Frank Gaffney and Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. Find out more about the event at WesternConservativeSummit.com.

POLL DU JOUR

• 49 percent of Americans say former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is conservative; 43 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

• 39 percent overall say Mr. Bush is qualified to be president; 62 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

• 39 percent overall say Mr. Bush is not qualified to be president; 18 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

• 32 percent overall say Mr. Bush becoming president is somewhat or very likely; 52 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

• 22 percent overall are unsure what Mr. Bush’s ideology is; 16 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

• 21 percent say Mr. Bush is a moderate; 32 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

• 8 percent say he is liberal or very liberal; 9 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 994 U.S. adults conducted June 13-15.

Guffaws, weary sighs to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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