WASHINGTON - Last year family matriarch Barbara Bush proclaimed there have been "enough Bushes" in the White House, but recently son Jeb unambiguously revived prospects of extending the political dynasty.
In his most elaborate discussion yet on the matter of 2016, the popular two-term Republican governor of Florida sent a jolt through the political chattering class by promising he will decide by year's end whether he will run, and by laying out what a possible Jeb Bush candidacy might look like.
At an event marking the 25th anniversary of his father George Bush's presidency, the second son discussed his own prospective campaign - an "optimistic" challenge to today's rough-and-tumble politics that have marred recent Republican nominating contests.
Should he run, Bush said Sunday at his father's presidential library, he would not get drawn "back into the vortex of the mud fight." While core conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz, a putative 2016 rival, have argued that Republicans must nominate the most conservative electable candidate, Bush takes the middle road.
He encourages fiscal prudence while defying party orthodoxy on issues like immigration and supporting national educational standards panned by the right wing.
"Campaigns ought to be about listening and learning and getting better," he said. "I do think we've lost our way." In short, he seeks a broader Republican vision "organised around winning the election, not making a point," he said, signalling he won't demand ideological purity that can rally the base but doom the party in national contests.
"Jeb Bush is suddenly becoming interesting," Steffen Schmidt, professor of political science at Iowa State University, told AFP.
He said Bush is showing political adeptness that some conservatives lack. And with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hamstrung by scandal, Bush is emerging as a leading Republican centrist.