Bush, Sanders and the long, slow death of the GOP
© Getty

I wrote here in late February, making the case that former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) has had turnings in life which he responded to positively as a family man: His wife didn't like to cook so he simply took the job of cooking for family and kids. He was raised an Episcopalian and she a Roman Catholic and he converted to Catholicism so as to unite the family. In both cases, he made the selfless decision to do what needed to be done to keep the family whole. These acts and judgments in the family microcosm reflect the most essential nature of an individual, and they show Bush to be a man of substance.


On the other hand, he is not exactly an Alpha Dog. In the whole crew rising to 2016, possibly former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is most effectively an Alpha Dog. And in the recent conservative oeuvre which weirdly affirms the marginal — bikers, hillbillies, mountain free church preachers, yellers, Phil Robertson and Church Norris — she is also the most urbane. Do conservatives really want to win?

It might also be not unfair to note that Bush appeared to reject out of hand the family path of Sen. Prescott Bush (R-Conn.) and President George H.W. Bush and their tradition of capable public service, perhaps running away from the New England family tradition scorned as "W.A.S.P." (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) in his college years, even though it was that tradition that provided the backbone of establishment America from President John Adams to the Kennedy period.

Instead, he headed below the border to find the better life and it might be said that he escaped from the "Bush name" and the W.A.S.P. baggage. But isn't this the distinct American character which brings some to want another Bush? Do they not want what H.W. brought to the Oval Office: steady and dependable patrician reliability?

He is, as he says, an "introvert," and as such, he would likely be in time, possibly a very short time, uncomfortable as president. And so would we. (He would be an excellent priest or pope.) My wife and I are introverts. Introverts are librarians and solitary writers with cats who look forward to eating supper in front of the TV, watching "24."

Already, he is getting testy with Neil Cavuto on Fox, one of the most gentle and companionable commentators on TV. I'm not sure that he actually wants to be president, but is getting encouraged to do so by Henry Kissinger and Fred Barnes and that crowd. New York money has been pouring in, thinking him to be the best bet.

It may be a problem this time around that conservatives have convinced themselves that they will be running against Hillary Clinton and it will be a cakewalk, so they can send in young, inexperienced "new" people from the far red margins. Bush would likely win against Hillary and that, as far as I can see, is his only value.

But I am not so sure that Clinton will get the nomination. They failed to anticipate Bernie.

The millennial generation will soon rise to action, and it is beginning to swarm around Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan Sanders urges Biden to delay Medicare premium hike linked to Alzheimer's drug MORE (I-Vt.). His old socialist approach is a radical departure from what we have seen in the last 25 years. One of my millennials emailed home this week to say of Clinton/Bush: "Thanks, but we're tired of your families."

Today, Sanders's approach may be winning the millennials, the group said to be essential to the turn and rise of the century. Sanders is everywhere on their indigenous means of communication, Facebook and Twitter. He may be their Gray Champion. President Obama might have been that figure, but his inexplicable insistence on the imperious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ruins everything. And TPP could well be the trigger for the new generation rising.

Generational theorists predict, accurately in my opinion, that the generation that rises to action cohesively today will be the action generation to advance the century, just as the so-called "Greatest Generation" rose to master its world-shaking events in the 1930s and '40s. If they continue to follow Sanders's cue, and that of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection MORE (D-Mass.), the La Passionara of this new movement, it could bring a slow and painful death to conservatism as we know it.

Millennials are not slackers or sleepyheads, as they are said to be; they are bright, disciplined and acutely focused. They are — it is — a generation in waiting. And it may well be waiting for Bernie Sanders.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at quigley1985@gmail.com.