Vin Weber's one of those behind-the-scenes power brokers, a signatory to the infamous Project for A New American Century letter (you know, the one calling for America to dominate the globe through military force), and a major player in the private for-profit schools industry. So when Vin assures us that Jeb Bush is a "real" conservative (one who now has Paul Wolfowitz and James Baker as advisers), we should all pay very close attention:
Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and top policy adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, is assisting Jeb Bush’s all-but-certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination, adding yet another high-powered strategist to the former Florida governor’s political circle.
Weber confirmed his move Tuesday, as did a Bush aide, after several GOP officials said Weber was working behind the scenes to win Bush support among influential donors and conservative intellectuals.
“My message to conservatives has been: this is the conservative Bush,” Weber said in a phone interview. “I remember when his brother first ran — and he was a fine president. But at the time, most conservatives around the country said it’s too bad because Jeb is the real conservative in the family. I’m reminding my friends about those conversations.”
In recent weeks, Weber said he and other Bush allies have been informally meeting with skeptical leaders on the right to talk through Bush’s gubernatorial record, touting his work on “educational choice and taxes and spending.” Their goal is to scrape away the notion that Bush is a political moderate — a notion that has become a barnacle on his potential candidacy.
Later this month, Bush is scheduled to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md. The speech will be one of his first direct overtures to activists since he first began exploring a presidential campaign late last year.
“The idea that he should somehow now be branded as a moderate Republican, that’s just not true, that’s not who he’s been,” Weber said.