WASHINGTON, D.C., March 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The fact that Jeb Bush has surrounded himself with campaign advisers who have been hostile to social conservatives is just one sign that the former Florida governor has secretly “evolved” in his views of gay “marriage,” according to several figures who have spoken with him privately.
Bush, a leading candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has been hiring national staffers who have actively campaigned for the GOP to capitulate and embrace the redefinition of marriage or at least capitulate to judicial rulings that overturn the will of voters.
“When Bush officially launches his presidential bid later this year, he will likely do so with a campaign manager who has urged the Republican Party to adopt a pro-gay agenda; a chief strategist who signed a Supreme Court amicus brief arguing for marriage equality in California; a longtime adviser who once encouraged her minister to stick to his guns in preaching [marriage redefinition] for same-sex couples; and a communications director who is openly gay,” writes McKay Coppins in BuzzFeed.
The Bush 2016 campaign staffers include:
David Kochel, who will lead Jeb Bush's national campaign. Kochel ran Mitt Romney's campaign in Iowa in 2008 and 2012. (Romney lost the Iowa caucuses both times and lost Iowa in the general election by six percentage points.) Kochel supported the Iowa justice who authored the decision redefining marriage statewide and was one of 130 liberal Republicans who signed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to affirm same-sex “marriage.” Since the 2012 election, Kochel has been campaigning for marriage redefinition with Ken Mehlman, the former RNC chair and an open homosexual. “I’ve had this position for a very long time even longer than Barack Obama and Joe Biden,” Kochel boasted.
Sally Bradshaw, his former chief-of-staff and possibly his closest aide. Politico calls Bradshaw “the closest parallel to a Karl Rove that the former Florida governor has.” The New York Times reports that she urged her then-pastor, Tom Borland, to “preach his convictions” when he believed the Bible justified same-sex “marriage.”
Mike Murphy, who will serve as Bush's chief strategist, has long advised the GOP to purge itself of conservative influences. Murphy – who also signed the pro-gay “marriage” amicus brief – advised John McCain and Mitt Romney's losing campaigns, and also ran Meg Whitman's unsuccessful bid for governor of California.
Tim Miller, a communications director and researcher who is openly homosexual. He worked for John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008 and for Jon Huntsman in 2012. “His counsel will be critical to Governor Bush,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told Politico.
“In a word, if personnel is policy, Jeb is telling the pro-family community to drop dead,” said Bryan Fischer, host of Focal Point on AFR Talk.
Campbell told Buzzfeed that the staffing decisions reflected Jeb Bush's ideas of who would be best for the position, and “Gov. Bush’s position on gay marriage is clear. If he pursues a run, it will be premised on his agenda and views, not anyone else’s.”
But insiders say it is not merely his closest advisers and operatives who embrace a redefinition of marriage; several people who have spoken with Jeb say he secretly supports gay “marriage” or, at least, will offer no opposition to it.
One such donor, namely David Aufhauser, who signed the amicus and has co-hosted a fundraiser for Bush in Virginia, said, “His thinking [on marriage equality] appears to have evolved.” Other donors, who preferred to remain anonymous, agreed.
Bush's public stance has certainly shifted. As a conservative candidate running for governor of Florida in 1994, Jeb Bush wrote that he opposed conferring special rights on homosexuals: “[S]hould sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is No.”
But according to the New York Times, Sally Bradshaw “helped recalibrate Mr. Bush as a more moderate candidate” in 1998. Today, donors who have spoken with Bush tell Buzzfeed they have walked away convinced that he quietly supports same-sex “marriage” or is ambivalent on the subject. They hope he will announce his support for redefining marriage after the Supreme Court issues its ruling on the subject this summer.
A senior Republican fundraiser said fleeing any opposition to homosexual “marriage” is a necessity to get any funding from the party's donor class. Although support for redefining marriage “hasn’t become a litmus test yet,” a senior Republican fundraiser said prospective candidates “have to be approaching the LGBT issue with a new mindset in order to be taken seriously” by the party's megadonors.
Sen. Rob Portman, as vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, announced his newfound support for gay “marriage” shortly after holding a dozen meetings with major campaign donors in New York who were unhappy with the party's pro-family platform.
Bush, who hopes to raise as much as $100 million before he formally enters the presidential contest, is the elite contributors' favorite now that Mitt Romney has declined a third presidential bid and Chris Christie stumbled during a meeting with billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
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Billionaire Paul Singer, who has devoted more than $13 million of his own money to promote homosexual “marriage” in the GOP, is said to view Bush in a positive light.
Bush has also attracted the support of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a pro-abortion Republican who ripped pro-life and pro-family conservatives as “narcissists and ideologues” imbued with an “unacceptable rigidity and self-righteousness on social issues” and who secretly promote “tyranny.”
The split between the Republican Establishment and its grassroots conservative base foreshadows a harder than expected fight for Jeb Bush in the primaries. “Endorsing gay marriage would make it difficult to win Iowa, even with Kochel on board,” conservative political analyst Jim Antle writes at The Week, “and would probably prevent Bush from emulating his brother's 2000 nomination strategy: combining establishment and evangelical support to prevent the emergence of a viable conservative alternative.”
But others warn it forebodes something more serious – yet another Republican presidential loss in 2016. Mike Huckabee and Gary Bauer, among others, have threatened to leave the Republican Party if it abandons its support of traditional marriage – one of two reasons the GOP was founded in the 1850s.
“Not all social [conservatives] will feel that way but a few hundred thousand spread across swing states are potentially the difference between winning and losing,” the blogger Allahpundit wrote at HotAir.com. “The right’s perennial fear of 'moderate' Republicans is that they campaign as conservatives and govern as independents. Jeb’s not even campaigning as a conservative.”
Fischer foresees another Bush candidacy depressing voter turnout and handing the election to a Democrat like Hillary Clinton.
“If conservatives want to save their party, and more importantly save America, step one is stopping Jeb Bush dead in his tracks,” he said.