George W Bush tells the media today that Jeb Bush would make a “great president”, which raises the question: Is this merely a show of fraternal love or a sales pitch for President Bush III?

When Bush first appointed Dick Cheney to the position of US vice-president, commentators suspected that he was paving the way for his younger brother, says Dr John Hart, American elections expert at ANU – after all, Cheney is “old, ill and unpopular” and therefore eminently unsuitable to step into the presidency. Meanwhile, Bush isn’t exactly enamoured with John McCain, the Republican frontrunner for the 2008 election.

At this stage, Florida Governor Jeb Bush says he’s not interested in following in his father and brother’s footsteps. And while disingenuousness is a politician’s stock in trade, Hart believes him. If Jeb Bush were seriously thinking of running, “he’d have to raise a lot of money”, says Hart. That hasn’t happened, which is a “pretty good signal” that Jeb is telling the truth – at least about running in 2008.

Peter Fray

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