October 01

Jeb Bush’s Biggest Battle? Common Core

For many Republicans, the base of the party’s platform is limited federal government. While this varies based on your placement on the political spectrum, the primary race consists mostly of the further right Republicans. This is the reason many far right Republicans do well early on in the run, but cannot carry a general election. For Jeb Bush, he already has the burden of a brother who was president just eight years ago, and now has to defend his more moderate views. He is for traditional marriage, but leaves that to the law. He is for pro-life, which many far right voters applaud, but his biggest hurdle, is proving that being pro Common Core does not mean he is less conservative than the other candidates. In fact, two of his most defensive sections of the debates were incongruence with standing by this support for federal regulation of state standards when it comes to education. For voters, they hear federal, they hear regulation, they see DC coming into their state, their local schools, and sticking their hand in business that is not theirs. While this would not hurt him against a Democrat candidate, it does against someone like Rand Paul, who wants all the federal bureaucracies abolished (well, most of them).

Jeb Bush was not the only supporter of Common Core, but he is now as the other candidates quickly pulled out as they realized the backlash it would have in the election with the conservative base. Governor Chris Christie, a more moderate Republican, flipped on the issue. Christie said that Common Core is “simply not working,” while Governor Jindal flipped so hard that he is now suing the federal government over the standards, which he used support as governor. Governor Huckabee also supported Common Core, but flipped when he announced his run for the presidency.
Despite other Republicans abandoning ship, Bush remains in favor for Common Core because of his determination for education reform. Bush believes that the federal standard does just than, creates a standard so that no state can fall through the cracks. It is no secret that education amongst states is not equal, and his faith in Common Core is that it will bring all states to a certain level, unless they want to surpass it and make their own set of standards.
The far right find huge fault in this plan, and want the federal government out of their school and out of their life. Education reform, despite the criticism of Common Core, has been largely untouched so far in the primary race. It is a hot topic issue, that involves teacher unions, and a fight on the state and local and federal level. As Condaleeza Rice said at the 2012 Republican National Convention, education really is a national security issue, and where reform is needed, there needs to be some sort of leadership from the candidates on a solution. This issue, although not widely covered at the moment, will most likely emerge again, and Bush will again have to go on the defensive and have a solid argument for why he supports it.