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.


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.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 155 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds

    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.

    I realize things have changed dramatically, hence the Rubio fans completely melting down right now. Remember, I said that was the original plan. That plan has met the real world of combat and is falling apart. Now we have to see if Rubio can recover and maneuver on the battle field.

    • #151
  2. Fat Dave Inactive
    Fat Dave

    Only the outlets like Infowars which cater to a group that has swung so far to the Right that they’ve flipped to the Left like Putin. This rump of cranks and truthers can really mess up the workings of the GOP, but they by no means represent the bulk of the party. (Insert Sarcasm Trigger Warning) On a related Alex Jones note, who knew that Rubio used to be a teen gay prostitute, like our current Commander-in-Chief?

    • #152
  3. Cat III Member
    Cat III

    Robert McReynolds:

    Cat III:

    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,, 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.

    Hitchens writes for The Dailymail which ranks 123 in the world and 79 in the US. The Buchanan-founded American Conservative ranks ahead Commentary and Frontpagemag. As does infowars which also beats out Weekly Standard, but not National Review.

    • #153
  4. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen

    Jeb blew his shot at the WH when he blew the 1994 governor’s race in Florida.  Twenty years later he (or Mike Murphy) still can’t accept that.  The US is not going to elect a third Bush, and I say that as one who thought before three months ago that Jeb was a decent guy and still thinks that GWB was a good president who made only two big mistakes in 8 years.

    • #154
  5. Big Green Inactive
    Big Green


    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.

    You must be struggling with reading comprehension.  Re-read your original post dealing with the conservative media’s love affair with Putin and then re-read my response. Focus this time though, don’t gloss and then prepare a scorching “hot take” type response that is not germane to the issue at hand.

    • #155
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.