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Jeb Should Drop Out of the GOP Primary
Moderates in the GOP establishment class introduced Jeb Bush to Republican voters as a fait accompli. No other candidate could compete with his zillion-dollar war chest. No one else could field competitive organizations in so many early primary states. No grassroots-fueled insurgent could best Team Jeb’s coalition of Wall Street money, Beltway insiders, and seasoned consultants.
Considering these massive advantages, Jeb viewed the primary race as a formality to endure until he faced his friendly rival Hillary late next summer. Considering himself the most conservative Bush family member, the aggressively pro-life and pro-school choice Florida governor tacked sharply to the center two years before the general election. Having sat on the sidelines for the entire Obama era, Bush had completely lost touch with his own party.
Out in the states, Republican voters loathed the top-down bureaucracy of Common Core. Bush proudly reaffirmed his support for the DC mandate. Conservatives criticized the elites’ enthusiasm for comprehensive immigration reform, suggesting it was amnesty by a different name. Bush defiantly promised he wouldn’t change his immigration positions one iota. “Are we supposed to just cower because at the moment people are all upset about something?” Jeb asked at a Club for Growth meeting. “No way, no how.”
There’s an old saying in marketing that no matter how great your ad campaign or how vast your budget, the product will fail if the dogs won’t eat the dog food. Watching Jeb flail over the past few months, he looks a lot like a bad bag of Alpo.
In May, journalists asked if Jeb agreed with his brother’s Iraq policy. This is the most obvious question for any GOP candidate running, let alone a guy with the last name Bush. Yes! I mean, no! Wait… it depends! Every day he switched his answer, dragging the pain over several news cycles and causing collateral damage to the Republican brand.
In July, Jeb asserted that “people have to work longer hours and, through productivity, gain more income for their families.” When attacked for the Scrooge-like line, he complained to the press that the quote was taken out of context. Of course the media took it out of context; that’s what they do to Republican candidates, especially post-Obama. He was bewildered when the MSM didn’t correct the record to help him. Why, it’s as if these reporters aren’t objective!
In August, religious conservatives asked Jeb if he would defund Planned Parenthood, following the release of several grisly sting videos. “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues,” Jeb replied, using the pro-abortion lobby’s euphemism for killing babies and selling the parts. Again surprised at the backlash, Jeb apologized, and reiterated his decades-old pro-life record. Democrats gleefully promoted the Jeb quote as another example of the GOP’s “war on women.”
Then, at the first GOP debate, the mighty Jeb steamroller seemed almost a non-factor despite getting more airtime than everyone but the bombastic Donald Trump. Bush blandly recited talking points over a weak smile as other candidates sparred with each other, tangled with the moderators, and dropped devastating quips at the expense of the Democrats. Jeb would have seemed more at home in the B-team debate, reading white papers alongside low-wattage also-rans George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.
After donor concerns about Jeb’s weak polling, he belatedly decided to take swings at the frontrunner Trump. His attempt to play the alpha male might as well have included the stage direction “Message: I fight.” Jeb’s opening attack criticized the reality-show populist for not being a doctrinaire Republican. Does Bush not realize this is why people support The Donald?
Then, with the media freaking out over the offensive-as-of-yesterday term “anchor baby,” Jeb finally decided to stand tough. To prove the term wasn’t anti-Hispanic he said, “frankly it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country — having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship.” Mexicans aren’t the issue; it’s those darn Asians I have a problem with!
Trump, who never met a subgroup he wasn’t eager to offend, chastised Jeb for the intolerant rhetoric. Again, Bush whined he was being taken out of context, having learned nothing from the past decade of identity politics and increasingly activist newsrooms.
The issue with Jeb isn’t that he’s the choice of the reviled GOP establishment, but that he doesn’t realize the establishment is reviled. It’s not that Jeb’s political skills are rusty, but that, despite all his missteps, he still doesn’t realize he’s a decade out of step. It’s not that Jeb was blindsided by the Trump phenomenon, but that he is unable to adapt to the unexpected.
Jeb seems like a nice man. He had an excellent tenure as governor many years ago. But it’s obvious that his heart is not in this race, he doesn’t understand our Alinskyite political climate, and he is confused by both his base and modern media. The longer he vies for the nomination, the more he hurts himself and the GOP.
For the good of his country and his party, Bush needs to sit 2016 out.Published in General
Jeb should run as a third party independent. That will show Trump.
If he drop out of the GOP primary he should run third party and split the big government progressive vote with Biden helping ensure a republican victory. It will be the most conservative thing a Bush has ever done.
Good to see great minds are still thinking alike on occasion.
I’ve been thinking the same thing. The situation is strange enough that it could end up with Trump and Sanders as nominees, and someone like Bush or even Romney running third party as a white knight.
He should have been smart enough and big enough not to run in the first place.
Two words: John Anderson.
You youngsters probably never heard of him, but he ran as a middle-of-the-road white knight in 1980 to save us from the kooky extremes of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Went nowhere. Fortunately did not keep Reagan from winning. But Trump is no Reagan and Sanders doesn’t even come up to Carter’s level (as low as that bar is).
The good thing about Trump is he makes Cruz look attractive to the Republican establishment.
It’s reminiscent of a kid being forced to go to band practice by His Mom when He’d rather be doing something else. He’s never gonna hit the Right note.
We need a reenactment of “The Final Problem,” with Jeb! as Sherlock Holmes, Trump as Prof. Moriarty, and the next debate as Reichenbach Falls.
It is possible that Bush has been out of politics for too long to come back, but where did you get that the primary was only a “formality he had to endure”? Even without Trump Bush was not the chosen one by anyone on the conservative side. He’s had deep pocket backers that has given him an edge, but I think Walker, Rubio, Perry, and even Christie were looked upon by the Republican electorate as having better chances. The Bush name has been a huge detriment to him.
And yes, he was a great conservative governor who on paper has the best qualifications of anyone running.
The only thing more absurd than people hyperventilating about Trump winning the Republican nomination are people who have been hyperventilating even longer about Bush being the nominee.
Neither one has ever had a chance in hell of realistically winning the nomination. Yet the campaign has devolved into a perverse screaming match between “I don’t like Trump, but Jeb Bush’s popularity is making me support the Donald” and “I don’t like Bush, but Trump may be the one candidate who could make me vote for him”.
Everybody calm down: neither of these men will be the nominee. In the case of Jeb Bush, it was clear from day one that his last name is the only one in America reviled by the bases of both parties. Since that day, he has done nothing but demonstrate how inept he is at campaigning.
He never stood a chance from the beginning, and it’s only been downhill since then.
Bush viewed it as a formality, which is why he ignored the base and immediately positioned himself for the general.
More conservative and better qualified than Rick Perry?
Perry had an oops moment in a debate that deservedly knocked him out of the running. Bush has one of those a week.
In Bush’s defense (can’t believe I typed that first day back) 1/3 or more of the base is turning out to be much more animated and entrenched than I think most people imagined.
Additionally, there seems to be some subtle hostility toward the governors who want to centralized authority and enact similar policies as they did in their home states. The base this time is much angrier and distrusting of centralized gov’t and the woeful early performance of the governors seems to bear that out.
I disagree with Jon Gabriel that Jeb Bush should drop out of the primary – at least, not right now.
He should stay in and continue to consume his donors’ millions of dollars while he languishes in the polls. Then, as the money runs out, he can crawl back to them to beg for some more.
And when he finally is forced to drop out – due to horrible standings or lack of cash – those donors can reflect on the wisdom of their choice, and the folly of trying to buy a candidate into office without considering the mood of the electorate. And at the same time, that electorate will discover that it actually has the last word in primaries, and not some fictitious cabal of GOP establishment insiders.
Damn! You beat me to it. But I would have used an alliterative phrase beginning with “Sorry sack of …” And yes, it would probably have been redacted.
It’s not Jeb’s popularity (he doesn’t have any) that’s worrisome. It’s the huge pile of money he has to run on. He’s got enough money to bury challengers under a media blitz.
Getting Jeb! out of the race is the best way I know to undercut Trump’s support. It’s a two-fer.
But he shared whiskies with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, and they gave him the clear goodies on the current winning strategies. What went wrong?
Considering they’re first and second in the polls, this isn’t all that surprising.
The problem with waiting is that Jeb’s continued presence in the race fuels Trump’s candidacy. Get Jeb out of the race, and Trump’s support will soon start to unravel.
All this Trump stuff is fine but in the end it will be Bush vs HRC vs maybe Trump with HRC winning.
I have a better idea. First Bush should spend all his campaign cash on stupid TV ads that nobody will watch, consultant salaries, underwater real estate, whatever. THEN he should withdraw from the race.
Agree with the post. I would extend it: Bush, Trump, Huckabee, Santorum, Pataki, Gilmore, Carson, and Fiorina (though it pains me to include those two) should also all drop out. And maybe somebody I’m forgetting.
Ever since the “Why not Cruz” post, I’ve been trying to figure out “why not Kasich” — not for me, but for Bush supporters. Substantial governor, swing state and popular in that state, checks most big conservative boxes but talks like a moderate, supports Common Core, and not named Bush. On the surface, it seems as though he should be both acceptable to those who prefer Bush, and more electable. I don’t live in Ohio and haven’t followed him more closely, so perhaps I’m missing a foot-in-mouth syndrome or other such weakness.
Neither candidate would be my first choice either, but a Cruz-Kasich showdown would be vastly less damaging than this Trump-Bush fiasco.
(Oh. Lindsey Graham should drop out too.)
I think it’s best for there to be a lot of candidates at this stage. Only Jeb should drop out. It isn’t at all clear who the best of the others would be at this point, so we should let them campaign without all of Jeb’s money sucking the air out of the room.
Also, with so many candidates in the race it’s difficult for the leftwing hate machine to do opposition research and social media campaigning (usually on the taxpayers’ dime). There is only so much room for smear headlines on the front page of Yahoo news. Why make it easier for them to target their work?
Here’s why not Kasich. I remember when he had a show on Fox News. He came across as a dull tool then. Nothing I’ve seen since has made him look sharper. And the one thing after immigration that the base hates most about Jeb is his support for Common Core. We’d rather abolish the Department of Education than expand federal involvement with education.
And Lindsey Graham should have never got in the race, in the first place. If John McCain was Dr. Evil, Lindsay Graham would be Mini-Me.
That’s what I’m hoping. I’ve been thinking that the Trump supporters are crazy, supporting Trump over Cruz. But, maybe this is in the back of their minds. Push Trump so that Cruz becomes the “moderate” between Jeb and Trump.
Had Jeb! been wise enough to realize there is no way he could possibly be the nominee, and made the wise decision (as did Mitt) not to be an
Annoyance to the process, I may have wished he had run. He is in my estimation a fine and talented person.
His inability however, to assess the temperment of the country, and of americans who have had enough of the blather of the left ( ie,. Illegal entry is an act of love type stuff…yuck), tells me he is way behind the curve. He should drop out.
(BTW I have no plans to take up the Trumpet)
Oh, from a conservative perspective the Medicaid expansion (and his justification) is enough for me, unless the alternative is truly awful. But I’m wondering why the kind of people who support Bush wouldn’t prefer Kasich — they’re not bothered by Common Core.
Was he really that bad on TV? He seemed more fluent than Bush in the debate, though it did seem like the main thing he wanted us to know was that his father was a mailman.
Do you have any proof that Bush viewed it as a formality? Or can you read minds?
Welcome back Brent!!!
The “lose the primary to win the general” made it sound a lot like that.