By Daniel P. Cortez
It appeared to be a more enthusiastic crowd on Friday than usual at CPAC for conservatives seeking the right Presidential candidate. Without question and in some cases a surprise, former Governor Jeb Bush wowed ’em. In the words of well-known Virginia conservative operative Anna Lee, Bush was “very Presidential and articulate.” It was his day in the sun.
Lee was part of the Who’s Who of Virginia supporters that included Marta Saltus and Manny Rosales, whose main focus was to support Bush and encourage him to simply, “Run.” Victor Cabral, noted Virginia attorney and husband of Anna Escobedo Cabral, who served as the nation’s 42nd Treasurer of the United States under George W. Bush, served as Virginia point man for the private Bush event. He was instrumental in assembling over 1,000 supporters from across the nation to a reception with Bush after a remarkable stage performance in front of a packed CPAC crowd. More importantly he brought key leaders of the Hispanic community to take a hard look at Bush. It worked.
Frankly, I was not sure what I would see when Bush took the stage and I had my reservations even though in my heart I believed he could be instrumental for the conservative outreach needed in the nation. Remarkably, the reviews on Bush from various media present, even the Washington Post, were incredibly positive.
I saw and heard raucous support as he was interviewed on stage in a Q and A by Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity. Frankly, it appeared Hannity was more focused on playing gotcha politics rather than allow Bush to make his case. Hannity, sadly appeared to use failing atmospherics that forced Fox to demote him to a less than prime time slot.
But point by point, from immigration to education to foreign affairs, Lee is 100 percent right. Jeb Bush was not flustered. He did look Presidential. He rationally stated a plan, perhaps not embraced by all present but nevertheless a plan, with compassionate conviction that I suggest will bring the greatly sought after Hispanic independent vote … the many million votes of the largest growing minority group in the nation.
Sam Frizell of Time Magazine asked me point blank why I could identify with Jeb Bush in spite of the projected “walk out” by tea party members. Having been the former PR director for the Northern Virginia tea party years ago, I know their bark is most times larger than their bite especially in Northern Virginia. While I continue to respect tea party principles, sadly the reality is the movement is not conducive to minority outreach. Not in Virginia anyway. That was the reason for my resignation. My suggestion to Frizell was it was simply theatrics and short lived at best.
The irony was that the tea party walk-out was scarce and basically unobserved with the media outnumbering the protesters. It was laughable as another tea party extremism that fizzled. I shared with Frizell that, if there was one man and woman that could become a lightning bolt for 80 thousand Hispanic votes in Virginia and millions in the nation, it would be Jeb and Columba Garnica Bush. In Bush’s words, “If we share our enthusiasm and love for our country, belief in our philosophy we will be able to get Latinos and young people and other people.” To which the room erupted in agreement.
Bush electrified the 1,000 plus supporters at the private CPAC reception.An example was Adam David Garnica of Northern Virginia, a young attorney who the Bush machine would be wise to hire, is making a name for himself in Hispanic conservative circles. The energy and organizational skills of Garnica and the other thousand younger voters from across the United States, who had come out in force for Bush, is a sterling indication that Bush can indeed galvanize conservatism with compassion across the nation … and win.
While tomorrow is another day, to the chagrin of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, today was a day for Jeb Bush that they will all remember. Like it or not, the Bush name is back. So if it comes down to it, do conservatives want another Clinton, or would they rather have Bush?
– Daniel Cortez: Pics #1 of Jeb Bush at CPAC
– Daniel Cortez: Pics #2 of Jeb Bush at CPAC
– Gregg Hilton: 10 points from Jeb Bush, Washington Post says CPAC is a win for Jeb
– Chris Cillizza: Jeb Bush ‘was, in a word, presidential’ at CPAC
Photos by Daniel Cortez
February 27, 2015
Daniel Cortez, a distinguished Vietnam veteran and award winning writer/broadcaster, is active in veterans and political affairs with an independent voter perspective. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.