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:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail