Jeb to Pyrrhus: Sounds Like a Plan!

 

Jeb BushJeb Bush has numerous problems. He is nearly the least likable of all of the Republican presidential candidates, performing almost as poorly as Trump. He polls nearly the worst head to head against his possible democratic opponents, with only Trump fairing as badly. Despite claims to the contrary, Bush’s record and public statements put him to the left of John Kasich; the man who has run on a platform of being marginally ashamed that he is a Republican. Simply put, Jeb Bush will never win the Republican nomination, and could not win the presidency if he did.

The Republican Party also has problems. Chief among them being Donald Trump. A Trump nomination could put a self-described socialist in the White House. Trump’s campaign is sustained by a minority of the electorate which, though dedicated, taps out at no more than a third of the total. He is the second choice of very few voters. If the field were winnowed to two opponents and Trump, his defeat would likely be inevitable. This is the reason that the Republican candidates have largely avoided going after the Donald with their negative advertising and speeches. They don’t see him as a long term threat. And he likely wouldn’t be, if Jeb Bush’s vanity did not insist upon continuing his campaign.

Much has been made of the “lanes” available in the Republican primary. Cruz has locked up the most conservative voters of the base, while Trump appeals to working class whites who have never really felt comfortable in the Republican coalition since having been abandoned by the Democrats. This leaves room for just one more candidate who appeals to moderates, and those who feel that neither Trump nor Cruz has a good chance of defeating their democratic opponent.

Jeb’s plan is to go completely scorched-earth on Kasich and Rubio, not elevating himself, but destroying his last viable competition so that he defaults his way into this third lane. From the ruins, he will now supposedly convince an electorate that hates him that he is the best suited to defeat the Democrats in November, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

likability

Head to head polls this early in the election cycle have no real predictive power, but contain useful information none the less. It is not interesting that Rubio is defeating Clinton in a head to head matchup, as events can change the fundamentals of the election drastically over the next nine months. It is however interesting that Rubio consistently polls better than Cruz against either Clinton or Sanders, and that Cruz polls consistently better than Bush. The electability of each candidate relative to each other is clearly seen, and Jeb Bush is nearly as poor a choice for Republicans who want to win as Donald Trump.

It may be a bit unfair to Jeb that his surname became exceedingly unpopular with both the left and right in the decade since he left office. Yet we are conservatives and properly do not give a crap when entitled politicians feel they are being treated unfairly. Jeb simply cannot win. He will be unable to siphon any support from Trump or Cruz, and those most concerned with victory will be forced to support the Texas senator as he is the most electable of the candidates that would remain.

With no path to victory, what does Jeb’s continued presence in the race accomplish? Little but keeping better options from being able to rise in the third lane, leaving his party more likely to be defeated in November.

It can be difficult at times to understand the minds of men who work so hard and spend so much in the pursuit of power. Though they use much of the same language as the rest of us about working to preserve this nation for their grandchildren, we can see ample evidence that many are as ideologically flexible as their situation in politics allows. The power is the ends, not the means to do good works for the country.

If Jeb was primarily concerned with the future of the United States, and truly and deeply bought into the conservative principles he espouses, he would have dropped by now. What his campaign tells us more than anything else is that Jeb Bush is in the business of advancing the interests of Jeb Bush.  His country be damned.

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  1. Robert McReynolds Member
    Robert McReynolds
    @

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Robert McReynolds:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Robert McReynolds: Look, why write this piece now? Why wait until after NH to write this piece?

    Possibly because Trump won the NH primary in a big way? It does rather focus the mind.

    Which is why I am kind of chuckling about this. You guys are panicking and there are, thanks to Frank, only 7 delegates separating your boy from the Donald.

    My boy?

    Yeah that might be a bit unfair to you. How about The ONE? That’s more general.

    • #121
  2. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Frank Soto:

    Douglas:

    Austin Murrey:

    Frank Soto: The electability of each candidate relative to each other is clearly seen, and Jeb Bush is nearly as poor a choice for Republicans who want to win as Donald Trump.

    This is an excellent analysis, but I urge everyone concerned with victory to discard the chimera of electability.

    A candidate has to stand for more than victory.

    “Electable” is constantly shifting. A lot of people lost because they were elevated to a nomination because some said “he’s the most electable”. Electability is ultimately decided by elections themselves.

    This isn’t true. Despite all claims to the contrary, we know how accurate polling is under different circumstances. An average of polling on a national contest gives us an extremely accurate result.

    What was Barack Obama’s polling before he caught fire with the public? What was Reagan’s in ’80? John Anderson ran because Reagan was “unelectable”.

    Polls change as the public mood changes. If Hillary gets indicted, how well do you think she’s going to poll?

    • #122
  3. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Could Be Anyone:I find your title offensive. Pyrrhus of Epirus was a far better commander and strategos than Bush will ever be.

    I don’t find it offensive, but I find it confusing.  Pyrrhus won.  Bush was 4th in NH.

    The Pyrrhus analogy would work if Frank’s argument was that Bush could win the nomination, but it would be a Pyrrhic victory because he would never win the general election.  This argument is more applicable to Trump, and arguably to Cruz (though I think Cruz could win the general).

    There’s a funny, and perhaps apocryphal, story about Pyrrhus.  Scipio supposedly met Hannibal years after defeating him in the second Punic war.

    Scipio asked who Hannibal thought were the greatest generals in history.  Hannibal listed Alexander first, Pyrrhus second, and himself (Hannibal) third.

    Scipio asked Hannibal how he would have ranked himself if he had beaten Scipio.  Hannibal said that in that case, he (Hannibal) would have been first.

    It was a back-handed compliment.

    • #123
  4. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Robert, that NYT piece was from December, the race has changed considerably since then. And you’re wrong that it wasn’t the debate that changed things, it definitely was.

    Rubio was polling second on Friday and Saturday according to the tracking polls, with Kasich right at his heels. Yesterday Rich Lowry tweeted out the daily polling numbers from the ARG poll which he had been given. It showed Rubio at 13% in NH on the Monday of the Iowa caucus. His numbers grew every day up to 17% on Friday and Saturday. His numbers plummeted down to 12% on the Monday following the debate. The Emerson Poll showed the same thing, with Rubio up to around 17% on the Friday before the debate, down to 9% by Monday. It was definitely the debate performance.

    The exit poll data about late deciders backs this up as well. In Iowa Rubio won the most votes of people who decided in the final 2-3 days, in NH it was Kasich.

    • #124
  5. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    There’s been a joke going around that the GOP leadership chose “the form of the Destructor” and it was Trump.  But the real joke is that the Destructor was Jeb! (in a longer-term historical sense the Bush family has been the Destructor of conservatism, but that’s another story).

    It was a delusional, out of touch Jeb! who arrogantly thought we needed a third Bush presidency to rescue us from all of those crazy folks on the right and raised $100 million plus to scare away everyone.  And it was Jeb!, for whose family Trump has long held disdain, that finally goaded him into the race this year.

    As Leo Amery, a Commons backbencher, said to Neville Chamberlain in May 1940, “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.

    • #125
  6. Mike Sierra Inactive
    Mike Sierra
    @MikeSierra

    Excellent analysis! Agree 100%

    • #126
  7. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    But if Jeb at least gets rid of Rubio, the young guys will know after this to wait their turn till Mike Murphy says it’s OK.

    • #127
  8. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    BThompson:

    Rubio is in no lane though.

    He is in the center right lane, but about as far to the right in that lane as a republican can be. That is actually the best place to be to win the nomination this year. He just has to clear the rest of the lane, which he is more capable of than his rivals in every way except for the issue of money.

    Cruz has a similar problem in his lane, the hardline lane. He has less competition than Rubio, but his opponent is more formidable. Both Rubio and Cruz need help to open up their path, but make no mistake, there are two paths: Cruz and Trump are on one, Rubio et al. are on the other.

    There are actually two lanes plus Trump, who is driving where ever he —- well pleases.

    • #128
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Mike LaRoche:Trump and Cruz are the only viable GOP candidates left. The others are just wasting their time, and ours.

    I don’t want Marco Rubio to drop out at this time.  His recent behaviors irritate me no end, but I still have hope that he can do well after he gets an implant of character.

    • #129
  10. skoook Inactive
    skoook
    @skoook

    [redacted]

    • #130
  11. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Guess we found our next Moderator.

    • #131
  12. Fat Dave Inactive
    Fat Dave
    @FatDave

    While I have lost a lot of respect for Jeb! over the last few weeks, and he and his super-pac have hurt our chances in the general, I still can’t believe that Trump entered the race because Jeb! declared.  Maybe my tinfoil hat is too tight, but it just seems too convenient that Hillary’s friend, the billionaire New York Democrat developer, jumped in the race and immediately started acting like a hard Left caricature of an evil Republican, rhetoric and all.  While I do think Jeb! should bow out so we have a chance to nominate an anti-Trump who can win in November, IMHO Trump is no more than Hillary’s revenge for Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos in 2008.  The sooner we can stop Trump, the less damage he can do to the Republican brand.

    • #132
  13. Fat Dave Inactive
    Fat Dave
    @FatDave

    And any reading of Republican history tells you that the GOP was not the party of limited government and rugged individualism before the New Deal.  The Progressive movement infected the Midwestern GOP much stronger than it did the Democrats, until Wilson, and before that, the Republican Party as a whole, due to its Whig legacy, was much more open to governmental support of economic and other development.

    • #133
  14. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Jager: I actually think Frank is suggesting lets attack the guy who is taking vote share from the other candidates but cannot win.

    Yes, this is what’s called a logical fail.

    If he’s so unpopular, how is he taking votes way from other candidates?

    What he’s saying in fact is, lets attack the guy who is the exact opposite of Trump. That’ll show Trump!

    Jager: You seem to hate Trump and his voters, so why are you not supporting a clear method of defeating Trump?

    I have an idea. Attack Trump. Oh wait, that would mean attacking your own “base”.

    I see your conundrum now, “conservatives”.

    • #134
  15. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Robert McReynolds: I really wish I knew what in the hell you were talking about. What “conservative” media are you talking about?

    You don’t read Drudge Report much I take it. That’s probably a good thing.

    But since Trump has been described as “the Pat Buchanan” of this election by his opponents here, lets see what Pat Buchanan has to say of Putin: http://townhall.com/columnists/patbuchanan/2013/12/17/is-putin-one-of-us-n1764094/page/full

    And this sort of talk is quite common among “conservatives: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/08/25/why-u-s-conservatives-love-russias-vladimir-putin/

    And here’s The Donald himself: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/18/politics/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-bromance/

    But this is news to…no one.

    Not to talk about the dark underbelly if internet insanity, Zero Hedge, Alex Jones etc…all favored sources of many self-described “conservatives” which have pro-Putin articles on a daily basis (websites which have been cited and quoted many times here on Ricochet by users)

    Robert McReynolds: And UKIP is pretty cool if you ask me.

    I’m sure you think so. Putin thinks its pretty cool too, hence the funding and giving the quacks in that party air time on RT.

    • #135
  16. harrisventures Inactive
    harrisventures
    @harrisventures

    Guruforhire: Every vote for anybody other than Gilmore is a vote for trump. Since only gilmore can unit all the factions, every vote for someone other than gilmore is a vote for bernie sanders.

    Seriously!

    I mean, if all the other candidates dropped out, then Gilmore is in! I think everybody dropping out except for Gilmore is Gilmore’s path to the nomination…

    Starting with Jib! Jab!!!  I mean Jeb!

    • #136
  17. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    harrisventures:

    Guruforhire: Every vote for anybody other than Gilmore is a vote for trump. Since only gilmore can unit all the factions, every vote for someone other than gilmore is a vote for bernie sanders.

    Seriously!

    I mean, if all the other candidates dropped out, then Gilmore is in! I think everybody dropping out except for Gilmore is Gilmore’s path to the nomination…

    Starting with Jib! Jab!!! I mean Jeb!

    Yes but, which one is the most treacherous and damning of this country? Who do we hang first? That’s what I want to know.

    PS: More links for the “that never happened!” crowd: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/12/21/putin-trump-and-americas-europeanized-politics.html

    So we have a Mussolini clown…I’ll call him Trumpolini…defending a murderous dictator, saying he can work with him just fine, but “conservatives” say “that never happened! prove it!”

    Imagine if these words had come out of Obama. Oh my Lord! Ricochet would have crushed the internet with the wailing and gnashing of teeth!

    But, Yeb! must be stopped!

    • #137
  18. Frank Soto Inactive
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    AIG:

    harrisventures:

    Guruforhire: Every vote for anybody other than Gilmore is a vote for trump. Since only gilmore can unit all the factions, every vote for someone other than gilmore is a vote for bernie sanders.

    Seriously!

    I mean, if all the other candidates dropped out, then Gilmore is in! I think everybody dropping out except for Gilmore is Gilmore’s path to the nomination…

    Starting with Jib! Jab!!! I mean Jeb!

    Yes but, which one is the most treacherous and damning of this country? Who do we hang first? That’s what I want to know.

    PS: More links for the “that never happened!” crowd: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/12/21/putin-trump-and-americas-europeanized-politics.html

    So we have a Mussolini clown…I’ll call him Trumpolini…defending a murderous dictator, saying he can work with him just fine, but “conservatives” say “that never happened! prove it!”

    Imagine if these words had come out of Obama. Oh my Lord! Ricochet would have crushed the internet with the wailing and gnashing of teeth!

    But, Yeb! must be stopped!

    Is that you Mike Murphy?

    • #138
  19. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Frank Soto:Is that you Mike Murphy?

    I see that you have nothing left to say. Although, I’m still left wondering,  who do we hang first on the charge of gross treachery against this country, for deciding to run for president against your wishes?

    • #139
  20. Frank Soto Inactive
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    AIG:

    Frank Soto:Is that you Mike Murphy?

    I see that you have nothing left to say. Although, I’m still left wondering, who do we hang first on the charge of gross treachery against this country, for deciding to run for president against your wishes?

    I prefer to start the hangings with those whose birthdays have odd numbered months.

    • #140
  21. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    AIG:

    Jager: I actually think Frank is suggesting lets attack the guy who is taking vote share from the other candidates but cannot win.

    Yes, this is what’s called a logical fail.

    If he’s so unpopular, how is he taking votes way from other candidates?

    What he’s saying in fact is, lets attack the guy who is the exact opposite of Trump. That’ll show Trump!

    Have you been paying attention to any of the polling or election results?

    Bush has been polling at 10 or so percent. He has very high negatives. There are not enough people who would support him for him to win. Not enough people does not mean zero people or Gilmore level support.

    In NH Bush got about 11% of the vote. So did Rubio. If Bush was not in the race Rubio could likely have gotten 17% of the vote, finishing in 2nd. Rubio has a chance of winning, unlike Bush.

    We would all be having a very different conversation if the field was narrowed to Trump, Cruz and Rubio.

    So my “logical fail” is understanding that not enough support is not the same as zero support. I’ll take that.

    • #141
  22. Big Green Inactive
    Big Green
    @BigGreen

    AIG:

    Robert McReynolds: I really wish I knew what in the hell you were talking about. What “conservative” media are you talking about?

    You don’t read Drudge Report much I take it. That’s probably a good thing.

    But since Trump has been described as “the Pat Buchanan” of this election by his opponents here, lets see what Pat Buchanan has to say of Putin: http://townhall.com/columnists/patbuchanan/2013/12/17/is-putin-one-of-us-n1764094/page/full

    And this sort of talk is quite common among “conservatives: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/08/25/why-u-s-conservatives-love-russias-vladimir-putin/

    And here’s The Donald himself: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/18/politics/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-bromance/

    But this is news to…no one.

    Not to talk about the dark underbelly if internet insanity, Zero Hedge, Alex Jones etc…all favored sources of many self-described “conservatives” which have pro-Putin articles on a daily basis (websites which have been cited and quoted many times here on Ricochet by users)

    So your “conservative media” support for Putin encompasses Trump (a person that isn’t a part of the “media”), Pat Buchanan (see Trump), vague references to Drudge (incorrectly I might add), vague references to Zero Hedge, Alex Jones, etc. and the Washington Post (certain a member of the media but not conservative)?  Total nonsense.

    Just be a better man and admit you made up the original comment.

    • #142
  23. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    AIG:

    Jager: You seem to hate Trump and his voters, so why are you not supporting a clear method of defeating Trump?

    I have an idea. Attack Trump. Oh wait, that would mean attacking your own “base”.

    I see your conundrum now, “conservatives”.

    Did you miss the whole NRO anti-Trump symposium? You know people from all over the Conservative media attacking Trump.

    That seemed to have very little effect. Attacking Trump with a large field of other candidates splitting the vote still means Trump wins.

    • #143
  24. Vice-Potentate Inactive
    Vice-Potentate
    @VicePotentate

    Before this rigamorale even started you could have just asked voters whether they wanted another Bush; the answer would have been no. Then ask yourself what humps would have to be gotten over to earn back those votes. The answer is plenty. Now do it with the headwind of a liberal media. Now do it with two core disagreements with the base. The probabilities get pretty low and the hubris pretty high. Assuming that Jeb had the same knowledge of the average gettable voter that we all did, it’s already a given that he’s stubborn as a mule without much of a grasp on reality. There are political moments for those kind of people, but such moments do not include being on the cusp of a national election at the end of an unpopular presidency with a chance to dominate all three branches of government for years to come. Jeb’s moment would be to stand stubbornly when the rest of his party is decimated and fleeing; instead he’s standing stubbornly in its way while it attempts to move forward.

    • #144
  25. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Big Green:So your “conservative media” support for Putin encompasses Trump (a person that isn’t a part of the “media”), Pat Buchanan (see Trump), vague references to Drudge (incorrectly I might add), vague references to Zero Hedge, Alex Jones, etc. and the Washington Post (certain a member of the media but not conservative)? Total nonsense.

    Just be a better man and admit you made up the original comment.

    Wait! LOL The Drudge Report and Donald Trump himself…is no evidence.

    Ok bud.

    • #145
  26. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Jager:Did you miss the whole NRO anti-Trump symposium? You know people from all over the Conservative media attacking Trump.

    That seemed to have very little effect.

    I agree with you. You’re now stuck with the monster you created, which is why you go after everyone else but him.

    I’m not blaming you for being unable to deal with the “conservative base” you’ve created.

    • #146
  27. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Jager:Have you been paying attention to any of the polling or election results?

    Bush has been polling at 10 or so percent. He has very high negatives. There are not enough people who would support him for him to win. Not enough people does not mean zero people or Gilmore level support.

    In NH Bush got about 11% of the vote. So did Rubio. If Bush was not in the race Rubio could likely have gotten 17% of the vote, finishing in 2nd. Rubio has a chance of winning, unlike Bush.

    We would all be having a very different conversation if the field was narrowed to Trump, Cruz and Rubio.

    So my “logical fail” is understanding that not enough support is not the same as zero support. I’ll take that.

    Again, all you’re saying is, I don’t like the guy and he’s keeping my guy from winning, so he should drop out.

    Fox News January poll has a hypothetical Bush vs. Clinton race at a tie. NBC/WSJ for January has Rubio vs Clinton at 1% + for Clinton. NBC/WSJ has Cruz vs Clinton in January at 4%+ for Clinton.

    So your and Frank’s argument applies to everyone, equally. In fact, you should be arguing for Cruz to drop out. But, then who is going to be left to attract the 35% Trumpian base?

    So we’re back to my original statement: all you’re doing is appeasing Trumpians.

    • #147
  28. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    Big Green:

    AIG:

    You don’t read Drudge Report much I take it. That’s probably a good thing.

    So your “conservative media” support for Putin encompasses Trump (a person that isn’t a part of the “media”), Pat Buchanan (see Trump), vague references to Drudge (incorrectly I might add), vague references to Zero Hedge, Alex Jones, etc. and the Washington Post (certain a member of the media but not conservative)? Total nonsense.

    Just be a better man and admit you made up the original comment.

    I don’t want to come to AIG’s defense, but there are segments of the right that have affection for Putin or at least defend his regime against criticism. In addition to Buchanan, there is Peter Hitchens, anti-war.com, vdare, the Unz Review. The American Conservative did publish an article critical of Putin, but most of the commenters disagreed. These may not be mainstream, but they aren’t irrelevant.

    • #148
  29. Robert McReynolds Member
    Robert McReynolds
    @

    AIG:

    Big Green:So your “conservative media” support for Putin encompasses Trump (a person that isn’t a part of the “media”), Pat Buchanan (see Trump), vague references to Drudge (incorrectly I might add), vague references to Zero Hedge, Alex Jones, etc. and the Washington Post (certain a member of the media but not conservative)? Total nonsense.

    Just be a better man and admit you made up the original comment.

    Wait! LOL The Drudge Report and Donald Trump himself…is no evidence.

    Ok bud.

    Okay, apparently someone needs a little education here. Drudge, to the extent that he does anything anymore, merely links to other news sites, so while you may have found it on the Drudge Report, chances are he didn’t write it. Donald Trump is a media media outlet now? News to me. And you linked to the WaPo. That right there pretty much discredits anything else you have to say on this matter.

    • #149
  30. Robert McReynolds Member
    Robert McReynolds
    @

    Cat III:

    Big Green:

    AIG:

    You don’t read Drudge Report much I take it. That’s probably a good thing.

    So your “conservative media” support for Putin encompasses Trump (a person that isn’t a part of the “media”), Pat Buchanan (see Trump), vague references to Drudge (incorrectly I might add), vague references to Zero Hedge, Alex Jones, etc. and the Washington Post (certain a member of the media but not conservative)? Total nonsense.

    Just be a better man and admit you made up the original comment.

    I don’t want to come to AIG’s defense, but there are segments of the right that have affection for Putin or at least defend his regime against criticism. In addition to Buchanan, there is Peter Hitchens, anti-war.com, vdare, the Unz Review. The American Conservative did publish an article critical of Putin, but most of the commenters disagreed. These may not be mainstream, but they aren’t irrelevant.

    What is the viewer/readership of these outlets? I think they are irrelevant in that, unless you are a super media nerd, chances are you haven’t heard of them. I guess the better way to put this is, there is no mainstream conservative outlet favorable to Putin in any way. NR? Nope. Limbaugh? Nope. Weekly Standard? Nope. Even Reason Magazine? Not that I know of. Front Page? Nope. Fox News? Nope. Wall Street Journal Editorial Page? Nope. PJ Media? Nope. Commentary? Nope. I am running low on space.

    • #150
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