FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem

by

shutterstock_356859320

Please clap,”Jeb Bush implored the crowd, as if he were trying to get their help to resurrect Tinker Bell after she heroically drank the poisonous brew of listening to his stump speech in its entirety. The former governor of Florida’s face was pained. The crowd was unenthused.

Just another humiliation in a rough campaign for Bush.

Bush, who served as Florida’s governor from 1999–2007, was the front-runner for the nomination only a year ago.

That he’s polling in the single digits now tells as much of a story about Bush the candidate as it does about the rest of the field.

In early 2015, a Jeb Bush Republican presidential nomination was likely, though not a lock. The former Florida governor had all the big money and the potential field looked good for his chances.

There were Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, but the Republican Party infantilized, hated, and ostracized the three respectively. There were others, like former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and current New Jersey governor Chris Christie, but neither man seemed likely to outweigh Bush’s sense of destiny.

July 13, 2015, was the highest Bush ever got in the polls, rising to almost 18 percent support of likely Republican voters. It must have been a good day for Bush’s campaign office. It was also the beginning of the end.

Five days later, on July 18, Bush had dropped to 15.5 percent. Donald Trump, who had announced his run a month earlier, was climbing in the polls and had reached 15 percent support.

A month later, on August 26, Bush saw the last double digit polling numbers of the race.

Trump annihilated Bush, both in the polls and on the debate stage. The New York City billionaire has treated the Bush scion like a bully treats a particularly targeted nerd; relentlessly teasing and insulting Jeb until the former Florida governor was a shell of his former self.

In fact, the only debate where Bush has not seemed like a bleached, deflated wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man was the last debate before the caucuses, where Trump was a no show.

Trump’s absence allowed Bush to flex his debate muscles- but all evidence shows that it’s too late for that to make much of a difference in his political fortunes. Bush came in fifth in the Iowa caucuses, behind Rand Paul.

Paul’s fourth place showing was sufficiently embarrassing for him to drop out. But not for Bush!

He’s still making a play for New Hampshire, a state that almost certainly will vote for any combination of four or five men before him (Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Christie, Kasich). Perhaps this play is to save what little face he has left in the campaign; Bush partisans have been reported to be requesting Jeb donors wait until after the New Hampshire primary to start the flow of money to Rubio.

Bush, who must know by this point he has no shot whatsoever at the GOP nomination, is taking the opportunity of his last week of realistic campaigning to attempt to scuttle Rubio’s chances at the nomination.

The Florida Senator, who rode a wave of Tea Party support to the Senate in 2010, rose through the ranks of the Florida GOP establishment thanks in large part to the patronage of Governor Bush. That he is polling at least three to four times higher than his mentor in the race for the presidency must be rubbing salt into the wound.

It just doesn’t seem that people like Bush all that much.

Part of Bush’s unpopularity stems from the impression that he feels he deserves to be president, and doesn’t need to earn it.

Jeb gives one the impression that he feels the presidency is a legacy, like getting into Yale or making the varsity soccer team as a high-school freshman because of daddy’s business connections. Unfortunately for him, the base of the party he is running to lead grew up with people like that, and they hate them.

Even his support at home is lukewarm. His mother, whose help he enlisted in a cringeworthy campaign video, threw shade on his run for the nomination in 2013. His father and brother have tried to help, but the latter has so completely destroyed the family name in politics that his presence is more a hindrance than anything else.

As someone who suffered through his brother’s presidency as an adult, it’s been cathartic to watch Bush’s absolute disaster of a campaign for the Republican nomination in 2016.

That the same man who set up an electoral heist for his brother and subjected us to the first half of eight years of horror in the opening of this century is now reduced to begging for affection from Iowans and New Hampshirites is a small victory.

But I’ll take it.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 25, 2016
Mike Whitney
The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives up on Empire
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance
John W. Whitehead
Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State
Lewis Evans
Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana
Daniel Kovalik
Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads
Sam Husseini
How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear
Ramzy Baroud
Punishing the Messenger: Israel’s War on NGOs Takes a Worrying Turn
Norman Pollack
Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race
Simon Wood
Where are the Child Victims of the West?
Roseangela Hartford
The Hidden Homeless Population
Mark Weisbrot
Obama’s Campaign for TPP Could Drag Down the Democrats
Rick Sterling
Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria
Yves Engler
The Anti-Semitism Smear Against Canadian Greens
August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail