For the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, there are 7 or 8 likely candidates, and a half dozen more are already testing the waters to see if they can gather mass appeal. However, the candidate who would be favored to win the contest if he entered, Jeb Bush, has already closed the door on his candidacy for next year. An article by Mark McKinnon, who worked for both George Bush and John McCain, discussed his rationale this weekend.

His reasons for deciding not to enter are pretty obvious. First, he probably believes the nation is not ready for another Bush so soon after Bush II, and believes that he may likely be tarnished from some of the policy choices made by his brother. Second, although Barack Obama seems like he will be easy to defeat due to the economic mess we have been in since he was inaugurated, history tells us a different story. There are only two incumbent presidents since World War II who ran in the general election and lost, Carter and Bush I. Both of these faced fierce primary challenges that divided their party. The likelihood that this will happen to Obama is negligible. The only person even speculated to challenge Obama is Russ Feingold. As we know, Feingold just lost his senate seat; at least part of the reason is that he was unwilling to raise money.

So Jeb appears to betting that 2016 may find an electorate more amenable to choosing another Bush. There are plenty of reasons that the party will choose him, assuming that Obama win next year. Jeb, as opposed to his brother, seems to be curious about policy problems and solutions for a number of domestic issues, including education, the budget, and health care. While governor of Florida, he faced a number of crises and proved able in each. He may well be the only Republican who can garner a large share of the Hispanic vote, and was an early supporter of Marco Rubio, a Tea Party rising star in his victorious senate run last year. The only thing that would seem to throw a monkey wrench into his plans is if a Republican defies the odds and wins next year.